Innovation and efficiency have been at the heart of IKEA’s business model since the company was founded in 1943. Now they are taking a similar approach to zero waste challenges throughout their supply chain, energy self-sufficiency across their stores and helping their customers live a more sustainable life at home. This has made them a global leader in sustainable business. Stefan Sjöstrand, president of IKEA Canada, explains how their People & Planet Positive strategy is backed by concrete action, employee support, supplier partnerships, and customer buy-in. Ready to assemble your own action plan? Our closing keynote promises to deliver tools and ideas to get you inspired. No allen key required.
Swedish Giant Sets Ambitious Goals
Sjöstrand’s presentation is sure to include mention of IKEA’s People & Planet Positive initiative; a strategy backed by concrete action, employee support, supplier partnerships, and customer buy-in. With this ambitious program the Swedish furniture and housewares giant is setting its sights on substantive change throughout its business, including the goal of producing more energy than it consumes worldwide by 2020. The company has installed more than 700,000 solar panels on its buildings and has committed to owning and operating 224 wind turbines – an initiative that began in 2013 in Canada with the purchase of a wind farm in Pincher Creek, Alberta. In July 0f 2015 IKEA announced yet another clean energy effort, providing electric vehicle charging stations at all 12 of its Canadian stores, supplied by Canadian-owned Sun Country Highway Ltd.
Making Green Actions Easier
“Installing electric vehicle charging stations at all IKEA Canada stores reinforces our commitment to sustainability,” said Sjöstrand in a media release announcing the program. “We are dedicated to addressing the global climate crisis and maximizing accessibility to our store locations, and we think this initiative is a step in the right direction on both fronts.”
In store, IKEA’s commitments are finding favour with consumers, where more than three quarters of the cotton used in its goods come from sustainable sources. As of Sept. 1, 2015 IKEA Canada announced that all IKEA stores will only sell LED bulbs and lighting, to enable customers to live a more sustainable life at home. This marks the completion of a switch that began in 2012.
“I’m proud to say that IKEA is the first retailer in Canada to completely phase out the incandescent bulb and convert all light sources to LED,” said Sjöstrand. “We believe that Canadians should be able to afford to live a more sustainable life at home and also save money on their energy bills.”
From Forests to Fish
But, making it easy for customers to embrace sustainability is just one side of IKEA’s eco-friendly equation. They also hold suppliers to account. Their position as one of the biggest users of wood in the retail sector gives them the leverage to require suppliers to abide by their IWAY Forestry standard; with its ban on wood that has been illegally harvested from sources involved in forest-related social conflicts, or from High Conservation Value Forests. And from the forest, to the seas. On Sept. 22 IKEA Canada announced that seafood sold and served in its stores comes from sustainable and responsible sources, certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC)
“We know that our customers have an increasing interest in what’s in their food and where it comes from,” notes Sjöstrand. “IKEA is committed to operating our business in the most sustainable way possible, and our food offer is no exception. As a destination for salmon and other seafood, we have a great opportunity to lead and support the adoption of more sustainable practices in the seafood industry.”
Building A Future Without Waste
The food you buy. The furniture in your home. Even the energy to power your electric vehicle. IKEA is a company with multiple touch points in the lives of Canadians. What’s clear is that they are using that wide-ranging influence to shape a more sustainable world. The 2015 Zero Waste conference is a unique opportunity to find out how they’re doing it; to take the lessons they’ve learned to chart your organization’s path to success in the circular economy.
Stefan will be delivering our afternoon keynote address – Thinking Big Box: One Corporation’s Crusade Against Waste. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to hear him share the IKEA experience.
Register for Metro Vancouver’s Zero Waste Conference
Thursday, October 29, 2015, Vancouver Convention Centre East