Designing a sustainable path forward for big name brands

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The company set goals in three key areas: healthy and sustainable living for everyone; becoming a circular and climate positive business, and positive social impact across the entire IKEA value chain and communities the company operates in.

From giving IKEA furniture a second life, to serving food that’s better for the planet, creating a global, clean energy community to promoting gender balance and equal pay, the retailer’s initiatives all seek to build sustainability into the customer experience.

As part of the Leap Year of Sustainability in 2021, IKEA introduced over 30 sustainable-focused initiatives across the entire business, including introducing the signature plant ball, launching a global refugee program and installing electric vehicle charging stations at IKEA stores.

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Smart, circular design

From the materials to how products are designed, made, transported, sold and even what happens at the end of their life cycle, the IKEA production line follows sustainability and ‘circular design’ principles.

Affordable, functional and beautiful sustainable products include energy-efficient LED light bulbs, waste-reducing systems such as the HÅLLBAR bins and food storage systems, and water-conserving showerheads.

Following a ‘re-use, repair, recycle and repurpose’ mantra, IKEA design innovations include sofas with interchangeable covers for an easy style refresh, and modular items designed to adapt to a household’s changing needs.

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Following through

Money talks, and retailers are signalling their commitment to sustainability with some substantial spending.

In its aim is to be a ‘circular and climate positive’ organisation by 2030, IKEA parent company Ingka Group recently announced a four billion euro boost to its existing investment commitment of 2.5 billion euro into renewable energy infrastructure: offsite wind and solar power enabling the company to generate more renewable energy globally than it consumes.

Energy-efficient buildings and streamlined supply chains to cut carbon footprints are already contributing to this mission of 100 per cent renewable energy across the IKEA value chain.

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In October 2020, IKEA Australia launched an Australia-first clean energy storage initiative, which will support the South Australian power grid while powering the IKEA Adelaide store.

The project aims to transition IKEA Adelaide to operating with 100 per cent renewable energy and a 100 per cent zero-emission delivery fleet by 2025.

Better for everyone

With supply chains spanning the globe, major retailers have a unique opportunity to create widespread positive social impact through fairness, inclusivity and ethical practices.

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For IKEA, this means initiatives to provide meaningful work, equality and inclusivity throughout the supply chain.

The ‘IWAY’, code of conduct sets clear expectations for working conditions for all suppliers and service providers the company works with, and refugee inclusion programs are integral to the brand’s mission to support and empower vulnerable groups. Worldwide, IKEA has several ongoing partnerships with social entrepreneurs, employing local artisans in vulnerable communities around the world.

In a world that’s more connected than ever, no company can afford to overlook its responsibilities to every individual and community it touches. And with today’s conscious consumers willing to back up their values with purchasing power, sustainability isn’t just a commendable quality – it’s a retailer’s key to survival.

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To learn more visit IKEA.com.au/sustainability

*https://www.ibm.com/downloads/cas/EXK4XKX8 – A 2020 study by IBM’s Institute for Business Value with the National Retail Federation (NRF).

**A 2020 survey of an independent, nationally representative panel of 1002 Australians, commissioned by parcel delivery service CouriersPlease

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