“We have made a commitment to go 100% renewable energy by 2020”: Steve Howard outlines IKEA’s strategy

Reading time: 3 minutes
25 February 2013

LONDON: Steve Howard, Chief Sustainability Officer, IKEA, shared the leading retailer’s vision of creating a ‘better everyday life for the many people’ which includes a commitment to go 100% renewable by 2020, in a webinar outlining its sustainability strategy.

Steve Howard opened the webinar with an overview of IKEA’s environmental impact, from its thousands of suppliers to the operations of its 298 stores around the world. He also said IKEA stores alone receive 690 million visitors each year and the business employs more than 130,000 co-workers.

Steve explained how these rapidly growing figures have inspired the company to show that it is possible to deliver quality and sustainable products at affordable prices, for everyone. He said of IKEA’s sustainability planning process: “We’ve said we’re not having a green premium range, we have to green the entire range. We’re not going to put prices up for sustainable materials and products, we are going to make sure that sustainability is affordable for the many people.”

Talking more extensively on IKEA’s People and Planet Positive Strategy, Steve Howard listed the three core change-drivers as:

  • Inspiring and enabling millions of customers to live a more sustainable home life, through the range of products as well as communicating more to customers.
  • Striving for resource and energy independence, to ensure the whole of IKEA’s operations is completely sustainable.
  • Taking the lead in creating a better life for people and communities.

On IKEA’s aims for energy independence, Steve said: ‘We have made a commitment to go 100% powered by renewable energy by 2020, but not just buying it off the grid or through green certificates; we said we will own our renewable energy. We have a subsidiary target of 70% by 2013, and are at a little over 34% today. Over the last couple of years we have installed over 300,000 solar panels on our stores and we have invested in wind farms; we now own 126 wind turbines in 5 countries. […] We have provisioned that by about 2025 we will invest about 1.5 billion EUR in renewables.”

He added: “We are also focusing on energy efficiency. We are retrofitting our stores distribution centres with LEDs, which is a great thing to do with a great payback.”

Mark Kenber CEO, The Climate Group, commented on IKEA's Sustainability Strategy: “To accelerate the scale up of clean energy and move to a low carbon economy we need businesses to take decisive and proactive leadership that translates into transformative change. The publication of Ikea’s Sustainability Strategy is to be welcomed as it is a clear roadmap to low carbon sustainability, illustrating how the company will lead a clean industrial revolution across its supply chain, customer base and core business. We urge other businesses to follow Ikea’s lead and place sustainability at the heart of business planning.”

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