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Client Candids: IKEA and its Commitment to a Greener Business

We are excited to share our latest series discussing trending topics with our incredible clients at Pigeon. With the timeliness of Earth Day, we’re launching this series of interviews with our first feature focusing on sustainability. We chatted with our clients Claudia Mayne, Director Marketing Communications, and Melissa Barbosa, Country Sustainability Manager from IKEA Canada about their perspectives on sustainability and the great things that IKEA is doing to build a greener future.

 

What is IKEA doing to #investinourplanet? 

At IKEA Canada, we aim to become a fully circular and climate-positive business by 2030.

We have a simple yet powerful vision to create a better everyday life for the many people. And as Canada’s largest home furnishing retailer, we believe it’s our responsibility to have a positive impact on people and the planet; and we believe that we are big enough to make a difference.

We are accelerating growth within our planet’s limits by putting sustainability at the core of our offers and embracing new business models and partnerships.

We’re focused on offering our customers circular and sustainable products and services; designing only with renewable and recycled materials; offering new ways for customers to acquire, care for, prolong the life of and pass on products; and joining forces with other organizations and individuals who share the same values, vision, and determination to change.

Everything we do is intended to contribute to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs). We are also committed to the Paris Agreement and have set science-based targets across the IKEA business that will contribute to limiting the global temperature rise to 1.5°C.

As we lead home furnishing retailing into the future by putting the customer at the heart of all we do, we remain focused on inspiring healthy and sustainable living while we build a circular and
climate-positive business that delivers positive social impact for everyone across the IKEA value chain.

– Melissa Barbosa, Country Sustainability Manager

 

What is IKEA’s greatest challenge with incorporating more planet-friendly practices into its business model? 

Our biggest challenge with pressing forward on our planet-friendly ambitions is speed.

We know that the climate crisis is real, it’s urgent, and all of us have a part to play in tackling it. All over the world, millions of us are already doing our part by living more sustainably, but we need to move faster. The world is facing a climate crisis that is worsening inequalities around the world. The planet we all share needs us now, more than ever, to ensure it remains a home for generations to come.

– Melissa Barbosa, Country Sustainability Manager

 

What are IKEA’s short and long-term goals for sustainability? 

By 2030, our ambition is to:

  • inspire and enable more than 1 billion people to live a better everyday life within the boundaries of the planet;
  • transform into a circular business, becoming climate-positive and regenerating resources while growing our business;
  • provide decent and meaningful work across the IKEA value chain so that we’re creating a positive social impact, while being an inclusive business that promotes equality.

We aim to have 90% of the total sales value at IKEA to come from home furnishing products classified as more sustainable.

Plant-based food will comprise 20% of the total IKEA Food offers by next year.

We are focusing on reducing food waste in our restaurants by 50 per cent.

By 2025, our goal is for 100% of our home deliveries across Canada to be made by EV or other zero-emission transportation to support the transition away from fossil fuel dependencies.

– Melissa Barbosa, Country Sustainability Manager

 

What is the biggest hurdle for consumers to overcome to shop more sustainably? 

Through recent research that engaged 14,000 IKEA customers, we know that nearly 90% of people said that they are willing to change their behaviour to help fight climate change. But for many, the issue is too big, serious, complex and distant from their everyday lives. Two of the biggest hurdles are awareness (41% said not knowing how to take action is a significant barrier) and cost (40% worry about the added expense of more sustainable living).

-Claudia Mayne, Director Marketing Communications

 

How can brands do a better job exciting consumers to make more green purchases? 

Based on the results of the aforementioned research, we believe that brands and companies need to make it accessible and affordable for Canadians to live more sustainably. A few recent examples from IKEA Canada include:

The IKEA ScrapsBook – We created a free downloadable eBook called The IKEA ScrapsBook, dedicated to help waste less in the kitchen. The 50 recipes included in this inventive cookbook were created in collaboration with 10 chefs across North America who already displayed a commitment to sustainable cooking practices. The ScrapsBook has been downloaded more than 61 thousand times, and of those who visited our website to download The ScrapsBook, 84% of them were new to IKEA.ca.

Plant Balls – We introduced a new plant-based alternative to our popular meatballs last year. The climate footprint of our new Plant Ball is only 4% of our original meatball, and this tasty alternative doesn’t compromise on flavour to attract both plant-based foodies and meat lovers too. We sell 1 billion meatballs a year. Imagine if we can convert even some of those into plant balls. That’s a real tangible reduction in our climate footprint.

Sell Back – The IKEA Canada Sell Back program was rolled out in all of our stores across Canada in 2019 as part of the IKEA Family loyalty program. Customers can sell back their gently-used IKEA products in exchange for an in-store credit.

Furniture is given a second life through resale in our As-Is circular hubs or through donation.

The program maintains steady response from IKEA customers and is supported with Green Friday promotions each year as an alternative to Black Friday. To date, our Sell Back program has received more than 45,000 submissions nationwide.

-Claudia Mayne, Director Marketing Communications

 

What is another brand that inspires IKEA with its green practices and why? 

We appreciate Patagonia for their consistent, enduring and unwavering commitment to sustainability throughout their operations.

-Claudia Mayne, Director Marketing Communications

 

What does the ultimate success look like to IKEA in terms of sustainability? 

Sustainability success will be the realization of our aim to inspire more than one billion people to live a better everyday life within the boundaries of the planet.

Sustainability – environmental, economic and social well-being for today and tomorrow – is an integrated part of our business at IKEA, and it’s one of the strategic cornerstones of how we’re embracing the future.

We know that we can’t continue to use 20th century approaches to meet 21st century demands. We’re on a journey to be people- and planet-positive; to promote renewable energy, safe chemicals, responsible stewardship of forests, water and farmlands; to help create a fairer society that respects human rights.

We want to take a lead in creating a better life for the people and communities impacted by our business; to be a good neighbour, support human rights, and act in the best interest of future generations.

– Melissa Barbosa, Country Sustainability Manager

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