Whether it’s a new dining table or replacement light bulb, IKEA has become THE place to go to give your home a makeover. IKEA is as famous for its unique shopping experience as it is for its low-cost, modern and minimalist furniture. A trip to an IKEA store is like embarking on an exciting adventure: first, you wander around visually appealing designs (sometimes for hours), then stop for a much-needed break at the restaurant where you can sample the culinary delight of Swedish meatballs, before finally returning home with your new purchases to assemble, if you can keep your nerve. In addition to revolutionising the way we shop, IKEA is committed to ‘creating a better everyday life for the many people’1 – here’s how the multinational is making a difference.
Name: Ikea Ltd
Description: Furniture retailer
HQ Location: Leiden, Netherlands
In 2012, IKEA launched the ‘People & Planet Positive’ strategy outlining the company’s sustainable objectives and roadmap. This report focuses on 3 key areas: healthy and sustainable living; energy and resources; and people and communities.
Healthy and sustainable living
IKEA wants to make people’s everyday life healthy and sustainable and to do so, the retailer is committed to offering eco-friendly and affordable furniture, so customers can improve their home without impacting the environment negatively. The IKEA range counts around 500 products enabling people to save energy and water, reduce waste, access cleaner air, and benefit from renewable energy. Since September 2015, IKEA has only sold LED lightbulbs as they use up less energy and last longer than traditional incandescent bulbs. The Swedish company is also selling sorting bins to help people recycle, and kitchen taps which come with a pressure-compensating aerator reducing water use by up to 40%.
But IKEA’s commitment doesn’t just stop there. The furniture giant monitors how its products are made, from sourcing sustainable materials to ensuring good work conditions and fair wages for people producing the raw materials. For instance, IKEA exclusively uses cotton from sustainable sources and is a member of the Better Cotton Initiative, which campaigns industry to find more sustainable ways to farm and produce cotton globally.
IKEA is also committed to recycling their products, encouraging people to do their bit by inviting them to bring back products they no longer use or want.
IKEA isn’t just about home furnishings. They also take great care in offering food that is tasty and healthy. Recently, the retailer started using air fryers to reduce the amount of fat used in cooking French fries. It also plans to include plant-based meat meals in its menus.
Energy and resources
In addition to enabling people to live healthily and ethically, IKEA is determined to cut greenhouse gas emissions by investing in renewable energy and promoting energy saving solutions. The retailer uses electricity generated by wind farms and solar panels, which helped the multinational reduce its carbon emissions by 961,747 tonnes. Stores are equipped with smart ventilation systems, LED lights, and renewable heating and cooling systems, such as air source heat pumps and biogas boilers. For deliveries, IKEA uses electric vehicles or bikes where possible.
Another thing IKEA aims to reduce is waste. When products get damaged, the multinational doesn’t throw them away, instead, a ‘Recovery Team’ repair and repack the damaged furniture and accessories to get them back on the shelf, if they can. Similarly, great care is taken when it comes to food. IKEA launched the Food Precious initiative which weighs and records food waste, as well as lists the reasons why food was thrown away. This data is then used to implement change in the kitchens and adapt menus.
People and communities
IKEA doesn’t only tackle environmental issues, it also strives to improve the lives of people and communities. The Scandinavian company is working with the Fair Wage Network to offer secure and fair wages to its workers and co-workers. IKEA also ensures that working conditions in its stores, building sites, and offices are good. For instance, employees are allowed to work remotely, offered shared and equal parental leave, and provided with childcare.
Championing diversity and equality, IKEA is a member of the Workplace Pride Foundation, an organisation advocating greater acceptance of LGBT+ people in the workplace and in society. The furniture retailer has recently launched the IKEA Group Standard on Equality and the IKEA Group LGBT+ Plan where a code of conduct to tackle discrimination has been established. Some stores also run refugee inclusion programmes giving asylum seekers access to work and a chance to start a new life.
Finally, IKEA has a code of conduct for its suppliers to help prevent human rights violations, such as forced, bonded, or child labour in the supply chain. Not only does the retailer carry out frequent audits to ensure its suppliers are respecting the rules, IKEA also takes corrective actions when there’s a risk identified.
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Companies with high ethical standards, like IKEA, are more common than you think! Check out our blog about Hotel Chocolat’s eco-friendly practices.
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