black chair in forest

Doing business in a smart way


As we go about making affordable, functional products for millions of people, we want to ensure we use raw materials, water and energy carefully, and minimise waste. We work to source products in a responsible way, and invest in renewable energy and energy-efficient technology to help tackle climate change and lessen our impact. We want to create new ways of doing business that are better for people and
the planet.

WOOD

Tai Wen, an IKEA foresty specialist

“I’m very happy that more and more people want to take care of our forests.”


Tai Wen, IKEA forestry specialist
a Swedish forest with spruce trees

We love wood


It’s hard, yet soft. It’s naturally durable. It’s a
living material that lends warmth and
ages beautifully – and it’s both renewable
and recyclable. No wonder we are huge fans of
trees and the forests they come from!

Tai Wen, an IKEA foresty specialist leaning against a tree

Wood is an affordable, high-quality material that is perfect in our flat-pack furniture world. And since we don’t like wasting anything, we love the fact that every piece of wood can be put to good use, all the way down to the sawdust.

So we want wood to stick around. After all, trees are important for our future. A tree is not only beautiful to look at, it absorbs CO2, stores the sun’s energy in carbohydrates and releases oxygen.

Such a valuable resource must be used wisely and not faster than it regrows. More than half of our range is wood-based, so we work hard to create more from less.

Some furniture is best made from solid wood, but we are always on the lookout for smart solutions to make great furniture with less material – and still keep the look and feel of solid wood.
designer Carina Bengs holding a piece of wood

We also love low prices, but not at any price


For all its great qualities, wood is only a sustainable choice if it comes from responsibly managed forests, and has been legally logged. This is why we have a set of minimum requirements on all wood used for IKEA products, and partner with organisations like WWF and the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) to support responsible forestry practices. Our long-term goal is that all wood used in IKEA products is recycled or comes from forests independently verified as responsibly managed.

We have our own forest specialists who work in the field, close to both suppliers and forests in important wood sourcing regions such as Russia, China and Poland. Their most important task is to promote responsible forest management by spreading knowledge. They increase suppliers’ understanding of our forestry requirements and trace batches of timber all the way back to their origins to check that they come from the forests the suppliers
have stated.

So one thing is clear: We have made careful checks to ensure that the wood in your favourite piece of IKEA furniture does not come from deforestation or has been illegally logged.


“When I see wooden furniture, I feel warmth and
love in a room. It’s like I’m at home.”

Carina Bengs, IKEA Designer

How much FSC-certified solid wood do we use?

March 2012
27%

End-2012 target
35%

Long-term goal
100%

big pile of tree trunks in different sizes

Q & A with Anders Hildeman, Forestry Manager at IKEA


What does responsible forestry mean, anyway?
Responsible forestry is a significant term to us. It’s about protecting biodiversity, ensuring re-growth, as well as protecting the rights and needs of those who work and live in the forest while also stimulating economic development. The specific criteria vary from country to country depending on local conditions, but we always strive to strike a balance between what is good for the environment, people and economy in each region. We work with the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) to independently certify compliance.


How are you working towards more FSC-certified wood?
Only around seven percent of the world’s managed forest areas are FSC-certified, so there currently isn’t enough FSC wood out there to meet demand. That’s why we’re working with WWF and others to increase the availability of certified wood in key sourcing regions such as Russia, China and Eastern Europe. Our efforts to increase the availability of certified timber are looking promising. The global forest area certified every year is larger than the area deforested, and it feels good that we’re contributing to that.


What are your requirements on wood?
FSC certified or not, all wood for IKEA products must comply with our minimum forestry requirements. Wood in IKEA products must not:
  • Come from forests that have been illegally harvested
  • Come from forestry operations engaged in forest-related social conflicts
  • Be harvested in Intact Natural Forests (INF) or other geographically identified High Conservation Value Forests (HCVF), unless they are certified as responsibly managed
  • Be harvested from natural forests in the tropical and sub-tropical regions being converted to plantations or non-forest use
  • Come from officially recognised and geographically identified commercial genetically modified (GM) tree plantations
How do you make sure these requirements are met?
Suppliers must have procedures in place throughout their supply chains. They must know the origin of their wood, and accept audits at every link in the supply chain. They regularly report to us the wood origin, volume and species used in IKEA products. Our forestry specialists as well as independent third-parties conduct audits to verify their information, all the way back to the forest. If we find wood that cannot be traced or that may not meet our requirements, suppliers must implement immediate corrective actions or they will no longer be able to do business with IKEA.
man standing in front of big pile of tree trunks

Working with others to protect the forests


IKEA and WWF have worked together since 2002 on projects that aim to:
  • Combat illegal logging and promote responsible timber trade
  • Support forest certification and responsible forest management
  • Map and protect High Conservation Value Forests
Today, we have joint projects in 11 countries across Europe and Asia. The IKEA and WWF partnership has contributed to improved forest management over vast areas. In Romania alone, some 80,000 hectares received FSC certification for the first time in 2011, and 600,000 hectares were re-certified. IKEA support for WWF and the national FSC organisation in Russia has helped to increase certified forest areas to almost 30 million hectares in 2011 from around 300,000 hectares in 2002.
These are the countries where IKEA supports forestry projects and forestry education
a map of the world
Where we get our wood
Top 5 sourcing countries

Poland 23.3%

Germany 8.0%

Russia 7.2%

Sweden 6.7%

China 6.7%
 

CLIMATE & ENERGY

a family in front of an IKEA store

We’re reducing CO2 emissions to help tackle climate change

solar panels and wind turbines producing sustainable energy

We want to take a leading role towards a low carbon society by significantly reducing CO2 emissions from all parts of our operations. That means that we need smart solutions in every step, from how we source raw materials all the way to the end of a product’s life-cycle.

Embracing the sun and welcoming the wind

In the long-term, we want all our buildings to use 100 percent renewable energy. And we’ve been making major strides the past few years.

Today more than half of the energy used for IKEA buildings is renewable.

The work to put solar panels on IKEA stores and distribution centres is moving fast, and over the next few years we’re installing hundreds of thousands of more panels. To reach our goals, we’re also making large investments in wind farms, especially in countries where we can’t always rely on sunshine.

For example, we are building a nine-turbine wind farm in central Sweden, which will produce renewable electricity equivalent to 75 percent of the electricity consumption of all our stores in Sweden.

Kilowatt hour by kilowatt hour, we’re getting closer and closer to our long-term goal.

In 2011, our 60 operational wind turbines combined with the solar panel installations on 40 IKEA buildings generated around 12% of the electricity needed to run our stores and distribution centres.

IKEA flags in front of a store

Improving the energy efficiency of the big, blue box


When we build new stores, we do everything we can to make them energy efficient from the start. And we are constantly looking for opportunities to save energy in existing stores – for example with more efficient heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, and through smarter use of new lighting technology. Overall, we expect all of our stores to be 20 percent more energy efficient in 2015 than in 2010.
open truck filled to the limit with brown cardboard boxes

More products, less air


We send our products around the world, but we would like to avoid shipping air at the same time. This is where fill rate comes in – the share of the space in trucks and containers that is actually used – and it’s pretty important from a cost and environmental standpoint.

More products per load means fewer trucks, trains and boats and a sizeable drop in CO2 emissions.

“One way to fit bigger loads is to get rid of bulky wooden pallets and replace them with space-saving paper pallets,” says Klas Ekman, IKEA Group Transport Manager. “They are only one third the height of their wooden ancestors and the centimetres saved often means that we can fit one more layer of products in trucks and containers. Some 90 percent of shipments from suppliers to IKEA distribution centres and stores are now made using paper pallets or
loading ledges.”

Our goal is to increase the fill rate from 63 percent (today’s rate) to 70 percent. That’s more than it sounds like, since weight restrictions often prevent us from filling containers and trucks all the way to the top.
ALÄNG table lamp with grey shade


33% more lamps in
every shipment


One of our co-workers in the lighting department at the IKEA store in Burbank, California, came up with a bright idea for the packaging of the ALÄNG lamp. By rearranging things inside the box and placing the base of the lamp upright, he was able to fit everything into a smaller box. The result? Well, thanks to a great initiative and teamwork, each pallet now holds 24 ALÄNG lamps compared to only 18 before.


Our CO2 emissions come from
50%
raw materials

29%
customers

13%
production and distribution

5%
products’ end-of-life

3%
IKEA buildings
Helping customers and co-workers leave the car at home

We want to make our stores more accessible for customers and co-workers, and encourage them to use public transport when possible. That’s why access to convenient public transport is always on our mind when we plan new stores and upgrade others. In addition, many stores operate free shuttle buses to and from the city centre, and offer home delivery of IKEA purchases.

Want to know how to get to your local IKEA store?

More than half of the energy used for IKEA buildings comes from renewable sources.

Want to read more about
the work we do?
 

COTTON

Guido Verijke, IKEA Business Leader, bed and bath textiles

“We want to play our part in changing the way conventional cotton is grown, making it better for people and the environment.”


Guido Verijke, IKEA Business Leader, Bed & Bath Textiles

farmer kneeling in a pile of cotton

Q & A with IKEA Guido Verijke, IKEA Business Leader, Bed & Bath Textiles


What is IKEA doing to make cotton better for people and the environment?
Cotton is one of our most important raw materials: It has excellent comfort qualities and it is both renewable and recyclable. At the same time, most cotton plantations use huge amounts of water, chemical fertilisers and pesticides. We want to play our part in changing the way conventional cotton is grown and are working actively to promote this.

That is why we are a founding member of the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), which aims to change global cotton production so that it reduces stress on the environment and improves the livelihoods of farming communities. We’re aiming for all cotton used in IKEA products to be produced according to specific Better Cotton sustainability principles by the end of 2015.

We partnered with WWF in 2005 to introduce more sustainable farming practices to cotton farmers in India and Pakistan, helping them to save water and reduce their dependency on chemicals. Today, our projects with WWF and others reach 100,000 farmers in India, Pakistan, China and Turkey. Many project farmers have halved their water consumption and chemical pesticide use, and cut the use of chemical fertilisers by one third. This contributes to significant cost reductions and better earnings for farmers.

Could a more sustainable material be used instead of cotton?
Probably not for everything, but we are reducing our need for cotton. One way is to use blends such as cotton and linen. Alternative materials play an important role, too. For example, Lyocell is a renewable material derived from wood from tree plantations, which consume less water than cotton. It is already used in a number of IKEA products that need similar characteristics as cotton, and we are expanding this range to reduce our need for cotton. In addition, many IKEA cotton products are now made with smart techniques that reduce the amount of cotton needed to make a good quality product.

indian farmer showing plan on sustainable farming

Meet one of many successful cotton farmers


Sundar Borude in the central Indian state of Maharashtra has become a grass roots advocate for the IKEA and WWF cotton projects. As a “master trainer,” he acts as a role model to his neighbours, teaching them the same simple measures that have made his farm more successful.

“I have not increased the use of chemical fertilisers, pesticides and water, despite increasing the number of plants per acre. My neighbours want to learn how to do the same,” says Sundar.

He gets a lot of questions about pesticides from his neighbours. “Spraying with chemicals is expensive and dangerous, but they spray because a pest attack can ruin a year’s work. I teach them how to recognise beneficial and harmful insects early, use pheromone traps and spray with safe plant extracts.”
 

WATER

water reflecting light

Treating water with respect in manufacturing


Water is necessary for life – but clean, fresh water is something of a luxury in some parts of the world. That is why water, both when it comes to quantity and quality, is an important issue for us and our suppliers.

Our suppliers must take necessary steps not to contaminate local water supplies with untreated waste water from the production of our products.

IKEA water specialists work with suppliers to help them reduce their water consumption and improve water quality, especially in South Asia where water stress is an urgent challenge. This is also a region with many textile factories that use water-intensive manufacturing processes.

One example of working together with suppliers on water-saving projects is in Rajasthan, India. Dams were built to collect rainwater close to two factories in order to replenish groundwater. As a result, people living nearby have better access to well water and better opportunities to rear cattle.
indian farmer in the better cotton project

Less water, more sustainable cotton


A soft, versatile fibre, cotton is one of the most important raw materials for IKEA. Unfortunately, it’s also a highly water-intensive crop. That’s why much of the work we do to reduce water consumption in the IKEA value chain is focused on cotton farming.

Water is becoming an increasingly precious commodity in India and Pakistan, which is why it is one of the issues we try to tackle by cooperating with WWF and others in projects that help farmers introduce more sustainable cultivation practices.

Dilip Patel’s cotton farm in Gujarat, India, started thriving after he changed the way he waters his fields, using drip irrigation instead of flooding large areas.

“If I had done nothing, my borehole would have been dry by now,” says Dilip. “The water in the ground is everyone’s and I see it as my duty not to waste it. So the best thing I did was to invest in drip irrigation. I have halved my water use and the yield has
increased substantially.”
 

WASTE

energy-efficient light source

Can this be recycled?


Stefano Brown, Sustainability Manager for IKEA Group stores, says, “Sure!”

recycling station in an IKEA store

Not letting a single thing go to waste isn’t just more responsible, it’s more economical. That’s a win-win that’s always been close to our heart, and probably why Stefano doesn’t see waste when he’s faced with a pile of cardboard, paper or plastic. He sees opportunities.

“It doesn’t have to be rubbish, it can be turned into resources. We sort large amounts of waste for recycling to reduce our overall environmental footprint. It’s an important step towards a more sustainable society,” says Stefano.

Some stores sort more than a dozen categories of waste, if there is infrastructure to take care of it. This is what one of our newer stores, in Malmö, Sweden, takes care of: batteries, combustible waste, electrical waste, coloured glass, paint residue, hard plastic, chemicals, office paper, low-energy bulbs, food waste, metal, soft plastic, clear glass and corrugated cardboard.

“All this sorting means that nearly 90 percent of waste in IKEA stores is recycled or used for energy production,” says Stefano.
entrance of an IKEA store in the evening

Together we can make a difference!


We strive to achieve zero waste to landfill from our store operations. And want to help you, too, dispose of some of your waste in a responsible way. Did you know that you can leave batteries and compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs at most IKEA stores?

See what you can recycle at your
local IKEA store.
classic Swedish meatballs being served at an IKEA restaurant

Did you know?


Our food is really tasty, but once in a while some of it ends up as leftovers in our restaurants. That doesn’t have to mean it’s thrown away. Leftovers from some of our Scandinavian stores become biogas for buses. And unsold food from a number of IKEA restaurants is often given away to local organisations, for example to help
the homeless.

Nearly 90% of all waste in IKEA stores is recycled or used for
energy production.

 
Sustainable life at home
woman and children in IKEA kitchen
Discover products that help you live more sustainably, whether it’s saving energy or
sorting waste.
Sustainable life at home
Energy & resources
black chair in forest
Check out how we are working behind the scenes to protect some of the world’s most precious resources.
Energy & resources
People & communities
a group of female textile workers
See what we do to try to help create a better life for people and communities.
People & communities
Find out
more
front page of the IKEA sustainability report 2011
Want to dig deeper? Want to see who we work with? Here’s where you’ll find even more.
Find out more