19
IKEA
Gap Score: -6.5
#bestglobalgreenbrands
  • 550,000 solar panels are now installed on IKEA buildings worldwide. The brand owns and operates 96 wind turbines, and will soon be boosting that number to 137. In FY13, IKEA produced 366 GWh of electricity from its wind turbines and solar panels—enough to power around 110,000 homes. Since FY10, IKEA has saved US$55 million through energy-efficiency efforts in its stores and warehouses.

  • As of 2013, 98% of IKEA’s products were made from renewable, recyclable, and recycled materials, up from 91% the previous year. The brand aims to reach 100% by 2015.

  • Domestic water use accounts for 10% of overall freshwater consumption. All IKEA taps use a pressure-compensating aerator, which reduces the flow of water and can reduce consumption by 30–50% in the average household. In FY13, IKEA sold more than 1.2 million taps, resulting in a combined saving of 2.5 million cubic meters of water, compared with regular taps.

  • During FY13, IKEA ran a closed-loop exploration project that focused on polyethylene plastic wrapping, which was collected from stores, recycled, and used as a raw material to make PRÖJS, a desk pad. IKEA discovered the recycled wrapping is a viable raw material that costs less than buying virgin or recycled material from other sources.

Working Together

IKEA aims to take a lead in increasing operational efficiency and encourages its suppliers to do the same. From China to Lithuania, the brand is running 50 collaborative projects with suppliers during FY14 to identify opportunities for improved energy management. Similar efforts are under way to improve water efficiency. IKEA is working with a supplier in China, YuYue Home Textile Company, to reduce water consumption and energy use by up to 15% by August 2014. The brand is also working with Zaber & Zubair Fabrics, a textile supplier in Bangladesh, to cut water use. IKEA will apply what it has learned from these projects to save water and energy elsewhere. Many sustainability challenges are so complex, however, that IKEA knows it can’t solve them on its own. That’s why it partners with nonprofits like the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to tackle bigger issues, such as forest management and cotton production. Through joint projects with WWF, IKEA has helped nearly 30 million hectares of forest worldwide become certified as responsibly managed, an area roughly equivalent to the size of Italy. IKEA also works with WWF to combat illegal logging, promote responsible timber trade, and protect high conservation value forests. Founding members of the Better Cotton Initiative, IKEA and WWF have helped around 110,000 farmers adopt more sustainable farming practices. IKEA’s supply chain has been transformed as a result, with 72% of its cotton is now coming from more sustainable resources. From WWF to UNICEF, Save the Children, and various organizations serving refugees, IKEA cooperates with 31 total partners total to do more for the environment—and people (especially children)—than it could do on its own.

The Green Advantage

IKEA is clearly committed to sustainability, and regards climate change as a huge challenge facing our society and planet. IKEA wants to be part of the solution and has understood that a change for the better can only be achieved by taking a holistic view of its enterprise and actively engaging partners throughout the supply chain, as well as employees and customers. In 2013, IKEA made significant progress on key performance indicators. Initiatives like the “sustainable store,” the overarching ambition to design eco-friendly products that allow its customers to live more sustainably at home, and the goal to produce as much renewable energy as it consumes all point to an organization that is stepping up to the plate in challenging times. With significant gains in both performance and perception, IKEA is taking the high ground in demonstrating what holistic sustainability is all about—from raw material sourcing, production, green buildings, cleaner transport, and ultimately, changing the way we live.

Links

IKEA Group Sustainability Report FY13
IKEA Foundation–Creating better opportunities for 100 million children
Save the Children, IKEA Foundation Redouble Efforts Against Child Labor
IKEA and social good—funding programs that help children
People & Planet Positive: IKEA Group Sustainability Strategy 2020