Meet the Sustainability Leader: CSR Engagement – Ikea
With entries now open for edie's Sustainability Leaders Awards 2020, this new feature series showcases the achievements of the 2019 winners and reveals their secrets to success. Up next: The winners of our CSR Engagement/ Marketing Campaign of the Year award, team Ikea.
Ikea won this award for its Live LAGOM initiative, which has evolved from a social experiment aimed at encouraging consumers to live a more sustainable lifestyle into an integral part of the company’s growth agenda. Live LAGOM is built on initial insight from the Kalmar Project in Sweden, which saw Ikea offer lifestyle change support to 12 households. This concept has since grown into a multi-year initiative that aims to make living sustainably at home easy, affordable and desirable.
Ikea is already in the vanguard of corporate sustainability leadership, with its integrated People & Planet strategy setting ambitious CSR goals that also generate business benefits. Despite this, the company sought external assistance to validate and improve the LAGOM initiative, ensuring that customers involved with it received relevant messaging and support systems. Ikea decided to partner with the University of Surrey’s centre for sustainable consumption and behaviour change and environmental charity Hubbub, to develop an evidence-based approach.
Each year, the project provides between 100-150 participating households with a range of selected Ikea products that enable people to live more sustainably, including energy-efficient appliances. With assistance from the two external organisations, these households are provided with bespoke advice, home visits and in-store workshops to gain more understanding about living sustainable home lives. Local groups and a peer-to-peer online community were also set up to enable households to share ideas across the UK & Ireland.
Ikea additionally transformed a section of its workforce to help with the growth of the Live LAGOM initiative. Select co-workers were trained as Live LAGOM leaders who support local participants in the process of adapting to a more sustainable lifestyle, as well as engaging other co-workers with the initiative across stores. In fact, more than 90% of Live LAGOM leaders claim that the project has developed them both professionally and personally.
One of the key successes of the initiative to date is Ikea’s willingness to shape and refine approaches based on customer feedback and both qualitative and quantitative data. The centre for environment & sustainability at The University of Surrey has collected a variety of data across the three-year programme to examine the project and identify improvement opportunities. Data collected was based on in-depth analysis of participant blogs, one-to-one follow-up interviews and analysis of before and after questionnaires.
Results to date have been remarkable. Almost 80% of Live LAGOM participants have spent more of their own money on purchasing additional products outside of those provided by the initiative, highlighting that consumers were understanding the benefits of sustainability. Further evidence based on the first two years of the project shows that 100% of participants intend to continue living a LAGOM lifestyle, 90% have recorded reductions on their electricity bills, 83% saved on food bills and 60% saved on gas bills. More than nine in 10 participants claim that the project and feedback have enabled them to overcome barriers to living a more sustainable lifestyle. Impressively, 62% of participants now believe that it is affordable to buy sustainable products, compared to just 25% before.
Analysis showed that the Live LAGOM project did not only help participants to save on household utility bills, reduce waste and live a healthier lifestyle through a great range of support, but qualitative analysis from interviews and blog posts also showed that participants have branded themselves “Lagomers”. The initiative has built the business case for sustainable, consumer-facing products, with interactive workshops on these products over a four-week period increasing sales by 28% – making the period the most successful across launch areas. In fact, a number of participants said that they would have embarked on the project without any provided incentives if they were aware of the benefits before.
Ikea is moving to ensure that participants can feel part of a collective. Social media and peer-to-peer networking have connected people to a wider group, helping to break down preconceptions. The retailer will continue to reach more consumers through online challenges on energy saving, reducing food waste upcycling and recycling. At the same time, Ikea will continue to provide in-store communication packages that showcase participant stories and highlight how a certain sustainable product has benefitted that household.
“We’ve spent four years experimenting, testing and trialling something that we believe is important,” Ikea Group’s country sustainability manager for the UK and Ireland Hege Saebjornsen told edie.
“I think we have many reasons to be super proud; I’m super proud… about the fact that we’ve partnered with the University of Surrey and Hubbub and other organisations with specialists beyond what we do in our day-to-day as a business – but also that the business has allowed us to test out a hunch that we had, that sustainable living needed to go mainstream.”
What the judges said: “Through ‘Live LAGOM’, Ikea has taken an independently measured approach to consumer engagement which clearly demonstrates the business benefits of CSR campaigns while inspiring consumers to make tangible changes that promote sustainable lifestyles.”
edie’s 2020 Sustainability Leaders Awards
Now entering their 13th year for 2020, the RSA-accredited Sustainability Leaders Awards are sure to be one of the biggest nights of the year in the sustainability and energy space, with some exciting new categories added to recognise excellence across the spectrum of sustainable business.
The 2020 Sustainability Leaders are now OPEN for entries. The entry deadline is Friday 27 September 2019. The Awards will then take place on the night of 5 February 2020 at the Park Plaza London, Westminster.