IKEA may be famous for its easy-assemble furniture and contemporary Swedish designs, but it’s their new sustainable initiatives that’s got the eco-style-set excited…
IKEA have been pioneers in the sustainable space for a long time, with their solar panels and wind farms making history around the world. On a local front, their Tempe store in Sydney boasts 4,000 solar roof panels, while 19,000 panels are installed on stores across the country.
But few people know about their People, Planet, Positive initiative. In short, this initiative is about taking the lead in developing and promoting and solutions that inspire and enable people to live a more sustainable life at home.
IKEA have collaborated with industry leaders and partners on both a local and global scale, teaming up with mega stores like H&M to join the Better Cotton initiative, which sources sustainable cotton. Locally, they have agreements with Soft Landing, the Mission Australia mattress recycling facility, to recycle mattresses collected from their customers.
There’s no denying IKEA like to share and collaborate, extending their green welcome mat to customers via an in-store green wall to collect used batteries, light globes and cardboard.
At the same time, their sustainable product offering has increased. They have switched their entire lighting range to LED lamps making this sustainable light source more affordable and accessible. Their appliances, such as hobs and induction cooktops are energy efficient to save money and energy. New water-saving taps reduce consumption by up to 30% for kitchen taps and 50% for bathroom taps. Small offerings with big environmental impact, but it doesn’t stop there.
Their timber products are made from part recycled part Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified timbers, and more recently, they launched a whole new world of food, debuting Australian sourced and sustainable ingredients nationally across their stores. This partnership sees the Swedish powerhouse supporting domestic producers, offering customer’s healthy food and seasonal produce such as Yarra Valley pork, Tasmanian chicken, Gippsland lamb shanks and Aussie grown vegetables.
Their Democratic Design principles underpin everything they do, even extending to their new sustainable food offering.
Democratic Design for IKEA Food consists of ‘Form’ – Beautiful and appetising food; ‘Quality’ – food you can trust and is good for you; ‘Function’ – food based on Swedish traditions that make you feel good and make everyday life better; ‘Sustainability’ – responsible food that is People, Animal and Planet positive – all this at affordable prices.
They are the first to admit they could do more to be sustainable and intend to. The closed loop lifecycle is one they aspire to but understand it will take time to get there.
Theirs is a long term commitment with no short cuts along the way. We can only watch and wait as their sustainable journey unfolds and hope they will inspire others to follow suit.
Product Sustainability Scorecard
IKEA use 10 criteria to access their products against;
More from less (using lightweight materials and applying smart designs that enable them to use fewer resources)
1. Renewable materials
2. Reused and recycled materials
3. Material from more sustainable sources
4. Recyclability at product end-of-life
6. Transport efficient (number of products per container)
7. Energy use in production
8. Renewable energy in production
9. Raw-material utilisation in production
10. Sustainable life at home (products that enable customers to reduce energy and water use, reduce waste in their homes, and lead a healthier lifestyle).