IKEA is leading its customers towards sustainable consumption.Here’s how:

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Nearly 860 million people visited IKEA stores last year, and IKEA generated sales of more than $50 billion. The world’s largest furniture retailer is using its exposure to drive its own net-zero goal of reducing the climate footprint of the products IKEA customers use in their homes by 70% by 2030 .

So far, IKEA has achieved a 52% reduction compared to the benchmark set in 2016. IKEA 2023 Sustainability Report.

Retailers calculate their claims by looking at the material composition and energy efficiency of the appliances, lighting, and furniture they sell. For example, IKEA sold more than 58.1 billion LED light bulbs in 2023. Switching to modern products has increased his portfolio’s efficiency by 6%, reducing customers’ energy consumption and emissions in the process. Some stores haven’t sold alternative incandescent light bulbs for nearly a decade. This reduces consumers’ electricity consumption and correspondingly reduces emissions.

IKEA’s early adoption of LED light bulbs is an example of how retailers are guiding customers towards product choices that reduce emissions, which in turn helps retailers meet their climate change commitments. Here are five strategies highlighted by Karen Plug, chief sustainability officer at Inka Group, IKEA’s largest retail franchise and accounts for 88% of sales. She is leading the strategy for IKEA’s nearly 400 stores, which received 697 million visitors in its 2023 fiscal year.

Exercise your procurement influence

Karen Pflug, chief sustainability officer at Inka Group, which is IKEA’s largest retail franchisee with 88% By confirming that they do not require the use of carbon dioxide, they can steer consumers towards products with lower emissions. of its sales. She is leading the strategy for IKEA’s nearly 400 stores, which received 697 million visitors in its 2023 fiscal year.

“There are actually a lot of cases where we can really drive industry-wide change,” Plug said in the launch episode of GreenBiz’s Climate Pioneers, an interview series that profiles corporate climate change innovators. “It helps change production lines by ensuring scale and volume and guaranteeing returns to suppliers.”

For example, IKEA didn’t invent LED lighting, but it ensured a certain volume level, so they changed their supplier priorities. It’s a strategy IKEA is repeating in other product categories, she said.

“We believe that 68 percent [consumers] “People are concerned about climate change and expect big business and governments to do something as well,” Plug said. “But they also don’t know what to do for themselves. About half think it’s too expensive.” Therefore, the greatest joy for me is to show them that sustainability can also be achieved at an affordable price, and to help them understand the personal agency that small things can make a difference. ”

Encourage the transition to plant-based alternatives

For example, IKEA charges lower prices for its plant-based alternatives, such as its famous meatballs and hot dogs, than its animal-based alternatives. Last year, more than 700 million customers bought products from IKEA cafes and food markets. IKEA’s goal is to have 50 percent of the staple foods it serves be plant-based by 2025. So far, that percentage is around 38%.

In some regions, including meat-focused countries such as Japan and South Korea, IKEA publishes regional hiring statistics for employees, which is said to encourage competitiveness. Plug said. The restaurant also emphasizes local cuisine, with “plant balls” served with pasta in Italy and paired with kimchi rice in Korea. “It’s important to make it appealing, tasty and appealing, rather than making people feel guilty,” Plug said.

Sustainable items at affordable prices in special sections and throughout the store

IKEA is featuring “sustainable living” products in a special showcase that visitors must pass through to get to the in-store cafe. “We emphasize that individual customers can make changes in their lives today without spending extra money that could actually save them money in the long run,” Pflug said. Stated.

This area will include educational exhibits with data on climate change, recommendations on how to improve energy efficiency, insights on water conservation, and details on the environmental impact of products. The main contents are as follows.

  • Home solar power services such as solar panels, installation, and (in certain markets, including California) battery storage systems and electric vehicle chargers.
  • Heat pumps (originated in Sweden) reduce heating and cooling costs and dependence on imported oil and gas.
  • Solar rechargeable portable LED lamp.
  • Meter to report water consumption and temperature.
  • A showerhead mist nozzle that reduces water usage in your bathroom by up to 95%.
  • Coming in the future: IKEA product designers are prototyping a system to recycle shower water.

All products in the showcase are sold alongside alternatives elsewhere in the store. “They’re actually everywhere, so it’s a double whammy,” Pflug added. “We found that if we prioritized these products in the sustainable living section, the sales index was higher. We don’t care where they got it, as long as they can take it home and reap its benefits. It’s not a problem.”

Encourages repair, reuse and renovation

IKEA store managers are also encouraged to experiment with ways to keep products in the home longer and make them easier for consumers to repair, reuse and give away.

IKEA announced last year that the climate impact of its products at the “end of life” stage has been reduced by 9 percent compared to 2022. This was achieved by the store offering more generous consumer repair and trade-in policies and rethinking its design priorities. said Plug. Examples include:

  • Increased availability of spare parts such as pegs to secure furniture and sofa covers to refresh outdated sofas. The company shipped more than 24 million replacement items last year.
  • In 2021, we will begin testing and expand our successful ‘Old is Good’ buyback program.
  • Increased use of bio-based adhesives facilitates disassembly and material recovery from returned furniture.

Listen to the voices of employees and young people

While Pflug’s team leads Ingka Group’s strategy, all local country managers are encouraged to do what’s right for their markets. They all hold the title of Chief Sustainability Officer. Pflug He reports to the Chief Financial Officer of Ingka Group.

“This was a deliberate choice because I think you need finance to be your best friend when you’re thinking about what’s going to happen.” [to make] We enable sustainable business transformation,” she said.

New ideas are coming from an independent external advisory forum established three years ago. The forum is made up of young activists and professionals from a variety of demographic backgrounds, many of whom are under 25 years old, and are concerned about how their consumption habits impact environmental issues. This is a generation that tends to care deeply about . (Participants were selected by an external organization.)

These individuals meet regularly with the company’s group management team and audit committee, and last year presented their “hopes, dreams and concerns” to more than 300 senior IKEA leaders at a leadership training session. “They’re definitely holding us accountable,” Plug said.

To watch the full Climate Pioneers interview with Karen Plug of Ingka Group, click here.and Sign up for the next episode on Tuesday, May 14th at 1pm ETexplores Allbirds’ mission to create shoes with no carbon footprint.

Source of this program
“My amazing dad says this plugin is great!!”
“This giant furniture retailer is using its sourcing power and in-store promotions to drive millions of customers to lower-emission products…”
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