We don’t design flat packs to sell more but to save more. Flat packs mean optimised loads and fewer transports, which reduces emissions. Our use of recyclable packaging requiring minimal raw material helps, too. Brown cardboard is one of our best friends – it saves costs and the environment.
Some things can’t be compromised - safety, respect for people of all ages, the environment. We call it IWAY (The IKEA Way on Purchasing Products, Materials and Services). It’s our code of conduct, and it specifies the minimum requirements we place on suppliers. It also describes what they can expect from us in return. IWAY includes zero tolerance for child and forced labour; safe, healthy working conditions; compliance with local laws; care with chemicals – and more. IKEA co-workers are often on site at suppliers, to ensure that our requirements are met. We work to motivate and support suppliers to take increased responsibility themselves. Since we introduced IWAY in 2000, we can see a continuous positive development – more than 100,000 improvements have been made so far.
"Less is more" isn’t good enough. IKEA designers constantly need to do “more from less”. It’s about designing the price tag and looking for solutions and innovations to use the material in an optimal way and to get the product as flat as possible and by that have as little impact on the environment as possible. Our board-on-frame table LACK and storage system BESTÅ are two good examples where design has minimised the use of resources and made the product easy to handle and transport.
We don’t accept illegally felled wood, or wood harvested from intact natural forests. We’re working with suppliers to improve their ability to trace the origin of the wood they use – a requirement for all suppliers of solid wood.
Our long-term goal is to source all wood for IKEA products from forests certified as responsibly managed. Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is so far the only forest certification standard supported by IKEA. We also have our own forest specialists working in the field. IKEA work together with WWF to promote responsible forestry and to fight illegal logging.
The ’IKEA Goes Renewable’ project means that all IKEA buildings will move towards being supplied with 100% renewable energy for electricity and heating and we will improve energy efficiency by 25%. We are making progress: we’re at 47% renewable energy and we’ve achieved a 14% energy efficiency improvement since 2005.
IKEA does not accept child labour, and we work actively to prevent it. All IKEA suppliers and sub-contractors must comply with the IKEA code on conduct on child labour: The IKEA Way on Preventing Child Labour. It states that all actions must be in the best interests of the child. Rules and monitoring must be complemented with addressing the root causes behind child labour. That's why IKEA Social Initiative invests in child rights projects with UNICEF and Save the Children.
The IKEA catalogue was the first major colour publication in the world to be printed on Totally Chlorine Free paper. The bleaching technology in the paper and pulp industry has developed and today we know that a harmful substance in the bleaching process is elementary chlorine. Due to that, we use papers in a mix of both TCF and ECF in order not to involve elementary chlorine.
Our ambition, working closely with our paper and printing suppliers, is that all the paper used in the catalogue comes from forests that have been certified as responsibly managed. In 2008, 74% of wood fibres came from certified forests. We’ve moved to a new compact format for the IKEA catalogue, to reduce paper consumption and cut transportation needs. A bonus: CO2 emissions per copy will be lower with the new streamlined catalogue format.
Every year, millions of people eat at IKEA restaurants. And even here we’ve got an eye on the environment – at least one organic dish is offered in all IKEA restaurants and 15% of all products in the Swedish Food Market are certified organic.
Many markets are sourcing organic food for their national menu in the restaurants; for example IKEA Italy has around 70 organic ingredients used for restaurant food preparation, ending up on the plates as delicious dishes.
NORDEN birch tables are a great example of how IKEA tries to get the best possible return from every tree trunk. Introduced in 1998, it was probably the first time anyone had thought of making furniture also from the knotty top part of the birch tree instead of burning it as firewood or grinding it for chipboard production.
The “Waste Management Manual“ for the IKEA group was established in 1999 requiring all stores to sort the five most common waste items, at a minimum. In practice, this ensures that almost 75% of the waste is sorted in the stores and more than 80% is (at the end of life) recycled or used for energy production.
In 1997, IKEA developed a new type of particleboard specially aimed for furniture in co-operation with other furniture and particleboard producers. With this new material, the use of raw material was reduced by 85,816 tons. Annually, this resulted in 2,800 less trucks for transportation due to lower cargo weight, easier handling of the merchandise for the customers and reduced costs and prices.
We never use optical brighteners in the textiles used in IKEA quilts and pillows. Quilts and pillows must not contain hazardous substances and we always try to minimise the use of chemicals. Whenever practicable, we apply the strictest health and safety requirements on any of our sales markets to all markets.
KLIPPAN sofas are one of our most popular and long-lived products. They are also one of the bulkiest, making them hard to transport in a cost-effective and environmentally sound manner. Just a few years ago we made KLIPPAN a knockdown piece – which means the armrests and back slip into slots in the seating base. Suddenly each pallet could fit twice as many sofas. Transports dropped sharply, and costs and carbon dioxide emissions decreased.
IKEA encourages customers to leave their cars at home: some countries offer free shuttle buses to travel to IKEA from surrounding urban areas. Some of the IKEA Switzerland stores discount home delivery rates for customers using public transport to come to the store.
At IKEA UK stores offer interest free loans and a 15% rebate to co-workers travelling to work by public transport. In May 2007 IKEA Canada launched a Hybrid Parking Program, rewarding customers driving a hybrid or fuel-efficient car, with a premium parking spot. Many IKEA stores also promote bikes as a sustainable mode of transport. IKEA Poland stores provide facilities for bikes, maps of bike paths and tools to repair customer bikes. IKEA Denmark stores lend out bicycles equipped with trailers at its stores. The trailers enable customers to transport up to 45 kg per trip.
LACK side table is one of the first IKEA product made from strong and rigid wood-based frames filled with recycled, honeycombed paper. LACK uses less raw material than particleboard, is more lightweight and thus easier to handle both in our transport chain and for our customers.
BESTÅ is made from board-on-styles (BoS), another strong and light material that minimises the use of resources. Just like LACK, it has a honeycombed paper filling, but the production technique is more efficient. Long strips of particle board or MDF are laid out on fibreboard sheets of up to 250 by 500 cm, the paper filling is placed between the strips and then topped with another thin layer of fibreboard. The construction is then cut to the product’s final shape and dimensions before being lacquered or veneered.
The IKEA patented Loading Ledges are a smart alternative to traditional wooden pallets. Instead of a pallet’s rigid platform, ledges are flexible, expanding and contracting to the size of the load. The Loading Ledges are made from polypropylene plastic that is continuously recycled and made into new ledges. Their size and shape are optimised for containers, so load units are easily handled with forklifts. Thanks to ledges’ low weight, containers can be loaded with two tons more goods than if wooden pallets were used.
The cotton in DVALA bed linen, called ”Better Cotton” is grown in a more environmentally-friendly way, using substantially less water, chemical fertilisers and pesticides. Not only that, the fabric is woven using 15% less cotton but still feels just as good as comparable bed linen.
Together with WWF, we are running Farmer Field Schools in Pakistan and India. Cotton farmers learn how to use water more efficiently and how to handle essential pesticides and artificial fertilisers in ways that are safer for both people and the environment. The schools have generated positive results for sustainable cotton production – in Pakistan the average use of pesticides has dropped 48%, the use of fertilisers by 32% and water use went down 40%. At the same time earnings for farmers have increased by 87%.
In 2001, we funded a scholarship for students from Russia, Poland, Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania to study sustainable forestry at the Swedish University of Agricultural Science. The scholarship is available for students every year.
MULA is a series of safe and durable wooden toys that stimulate children’s creativity. By using hard woods such as beech and birch without knots and cracks, the toys are built for many years of play. Wood, paints and lacquer are safe for both children and grown-ups.
Our food is really tasty, but it does happen once in a while that some of it ends up as left-overs on a customer's plate. That doesn't mean it's thrown away. At some of our stores in Sweden, Norway and Denmark we grind up food leftovers in a mill and store them in a special tank. The food waste finds its way to a special treatment centre where it gets reused, as biogas to run buses on.
The annual Soft Toys campaign “One Euro is a Fortune”, runs each year in November and December in all IKEA stores, and donates one Euro for each Soft Toy sold to UNICEF and Save the Children educational projects. Together with IKEA customers we contribute to improved education for children. IKEA Social Initiative has so far been able to donate 16.7 million euros, supporting over 40 projects in more than 20 countries such as Albania, Bangladesh, Russia, Vietnam, Ivory Coast, Uganda and China.
Did you ever expect that old plastic bottles could become something this smart and stylish? TEPPAS drawer unit is made from 100 percent recycled PET plastic. It is stackable and can be combined with a handy trolley for mobility – perfect for any home office or children’s room.
Our Starbase is a huge innovation, allowing us to stop transporting a lot of the air normally present in big and awkwardly shaped office chair packaging. VERKSAM swivel chairs are one of the first to be re-launched with a new Starbase assembly system where the five legs in the base snap together at the centre. It’s quick and easy for the customer, and the chair is just as stable and sturdy. Meanwhile, the number of VERKSAM chairs transported per container has nearly doubled which lead to less CO2 emissions. And soon lots of other office chairs will follow VERKSAM.
At the IKEA store in Corsico, Milan, 304 geoprobes penetrate the ground to a depth of 87 to 125 metres – 30 kilometres of drilling in total – over a 10,000 square metre area. Yet, this geothermal system has no lasting impact on the landscape, since it’s completely underground. Thanks to three heat pumps, the system supplies 1,600 kW thermal power and 1,400 kW of refrigerating power. That’s a savings of 300 tons of petroleum per year, or 800 tons of carbon dioxide emissions.
In 1999, we switched all goods transport from the central warehouse in Älmhult to the stores in Stockholm from road to rail. The trains run on electricity generated from renewable energy sources. Today one train with 15-20 fully loaded wagons leaves Älmhult for Stockholm every day.
KASSETT magazine files are made from 80% recycled paper, and now arrive to our customers flat folded. This means more files per truck, for less impact on the environment (and a better price). Each pallet now holds five times as many KASSETT. CO2 emissions from transporting it have decreased 75%.
SUNNAN work lamps combines low energy LED technology with solar cell panels. Since there’s no need for electricity, you can use it anywhere indoors not depending on your sockets. Just charge the panel for 9-12 hours in the sun and get four hours of full lamplight. From summer 2009 onwards, UNICEF will receive one SUNNAN lamp for every SUNNAN sold in IKEA stores worldwide. This enables children in homes without electricity to read, write and draw even after dusk. The first donations go through UNICEF to Pakistan.
RINGSKÄR taps come with a flow control function. The water flow can be adjusted in two steps with the lever, so customers can avoid unnecessary water waste. Most IKEA taps are fitted with a Pressure Compensating Aerator (PCA) that can reduce water use by 30%.
Though the use of centralised management systems IKEA France tries to reduce its use of fossil fuels each year – lights are turned off automatically by the system through extensive use of sensors. In addition, 10 IKEA France stores have solar panels supplying between 60 to 80% of warm water needs; six stores have heat pump systems covering all their heat and air conditioning needs. The store at Tourville-la-Riviére (Seine-Maritime) uses half the electricity of the average IKEA store using renewable energy, like geothermal pump, and energy-saving techniques.
In 2005, IKEA Social Initiative donated 18,000 NORDEN tables to Unicef in Liberia and Burundi. They were great support to the school enrolment drives and are now used in schools. IKEA Social Initiative can when possible make In-Kind donations.
RATIONELL is a simple waste system that helps organise and recycle household waste, more effectively. Easy-to-clean bins will be available in a variety of sizes and are designed for different types of household waste - from glass bottles and newspapers to food scraps and batteries.
In 2005 IKEA initiated a pilot project in which approx 2 000 women took part. They embroider cushion covers, IKEA PS GRINDTORP, which are sold in IKEA stores. The women had previously been part of self-help groups during the IKEA and UNICEF partnership to prevent child labour in 500 villages in northern India, 2000-2007, and they were trained in children’s rights, health and nutrition.
SPARSAM low energy bulbs are a great alternative to traditional incandescent bulbs. They last up to ten times longer and the energy consumption is reduced by up to 80% over the bulb’s lifetime. One 20-watt bulb provides as much light as a 100-watt incandescent bulb, without getting anywhere near as hot. IKEA will phase out incandescent bulbs in favour of more environmentally friendly alternatives before Sept 1, 2010. IKEA customers can return low energy bulbs to most IKEA stores for recycling.
IKEA and WWF work together to combat illegal logging and to increase the availability of wood from forests certified as responsibly managed. The co-operation, started in 2002, has contributed to doubling the certified forest areas in China. It has helped increase the certified forest areas in Russia from 3.3 million to 20 million hectares – making it the world’s second largest country by certified forest areas.
IKEA Social Initiative supports through UN Development Program a women’s empowerment project in 500 villages in “the carpet belt” in northern India. 50 000 women will be provided a range of inputs to become entrepreneurs, thereby helping them to better contributing to their household income. It includes literacy education, better access to micro credits, strengthening their legal awareness and preparing for the participation in local political decision making processes.
Versatile NÄSUM baskets are made from what most people would consider waste: remnants from banana trees after the harvest. Once a banana tree has produced its golden fruit, the trunk slowly dies. Instead of being thrown away, the trunk is cut into strips and left in the sun to dry. Once woven, NÄSUM is made durable with water-based lacquer.
The majority of SYLT jams are part of IKEA FOOD’s expanding range of organic products, sold in the Swedish Food Market in IKEA stores. Organic agriculture excludes the use of chemical fertilisers or pesticides, and strives to maintain biodiversity and ecological balances. Our global range offers 20 organic food products.
Formaldehyde is a common chemical compound present in for example water, fruit and wood, but it can also be added through industrial processes. To avoid health problems, there are strict requirements of formaldehyde emissions from furniture. We want the formaldehyde emission levels in IKEA wood products to be equal to the levels of natural wood. So, first we cut formaldehyde-based lacquers (1993) from our products. Next, we removed formaldehyde from glue systems used to glue veneer surfaces on furniture. DAVE laptop table, for example, has a fibreboard top that has contributed to cutting formaldehyde emissions by nearly 40% in recent years. The levels are now significantly below EU requirements.
IKEA co-operates with WWF on projects aimed at reducing the impact on the climate.
One example is that IKEA and WWF - together with selected suppliers in Poland, Sweden and China - are creating a casebook of good examples for how suppliers can save energy, money and become less reliant on fossil fuels for manufacturing, heating and cooling.
We also co-operate by doing pilot studies in the United Kingdom, China and the United States that aim to promote sustainable modes of transport in partnership with local authorities, businesses and organisations. The learnings can then be spread to other markets.
At IKEA, we hate waste! This is why we take every opportunity to turn spill from production into raw material for other products. LUSY BLOM cushion is one good example. It is filled with leftovers from IKEA quilt production, so we can make sure the content is safe and healthy as well as making use of material that would otherwise be wasted.
IKEA Norway’s Slependen store gets 80% of all its heating and cooling energy from its own geothermal installation. Eighty geo wells underneath the store’s parking spaces make this the third biggest geothermal installation in Scandinavia.
Chestnut trees in Poland are gravely endangered due to the insect “Cameraria ohridella”, which destroys the trees. IKEA joined the “Poland Chestnut Tree Rescue Project”, two years ago, to help co-ordinate collection of fallen chestnuts by children, schools, kindergartens, IKEA customers and co-workers every autumn. The collected chestnuts are sold to a pharmaceutical company and the profit is used to purchase insecticide injections for the trees. Thanks to the IKEA involvement, the project became extremely popular and in 2008 almost 40 tons of chestnuts were collected. 372 trees have been covered by injections and thousands of trees have been treated without injections, through manual work like burning sick leaves.
Sometimes business travel can be replaced by technical solutions for virtual meetings, like video-, web- and telephone conferences. At IKEA we work to reduce business travel. That will reduce costs, the environmental impact and improve the work-life balance for IKEA co-workers. In FY08, for the first time travel costs were reduced by 20 percent compared to the previous year. Consequently, the amount of CO2 emissions have decreased and we are now looking into methods to measure the effects.
SAGOSTEN inflatable children’s floor cushions are made from polyolefin, a smooth and durable plastic without the chlorine and other harmful additives found in the more commonly used PVC. Use of PVC is banned from IKEA products since the early nineties. The only exception is electrical cords, where no viable alternative is available – yet.
The soft, densely woven fabric in IKEA 365+ RISP bed linen is made from 50% cotton and 50% Lyocell. Lyocell is a renewable cellulose-based material derived from wood fibres from tree farms (which use less water than cotton farms). Also, the necessary chemicals in IKEA 365+ RISP bed linen production process are recycled in a closed system to minimise environmental impact and waste.
Women's empowerment program in 'the carpet belt' in India. This cooperation with the UN Development Programme (UNDP) during 2009-2013 will enhance the social, economic and political empowerment of women in 500 villages in Uttar Pradesh, India
where IKEA Social Initiative and UNICEF have been present since 2000. At least 50,000 women will be encouraged to become entrepreneurs, contribute substantially to their household income, strengthen legal awareness and participation in local political decision making processes.
IKEA induction hobs offer modern technology at affordable prices. Induction hobs use magnetic field technology and are much faster and more energy-efficient than traditional cast iron and glass ceramic hobs. Only the pots and pans are heated and not the hob itself, so very little heat goes to waste. The efficiency of energy transfer for an induction hob is 80 percent compared to around 55 percent for glass ceramic hobs.
IKEA US implemented a program to help victims of hurricane Katrina in 2005. Part of the "Give a Hug" program was that every dollar from the sale of heart-shaped FAMNIG cushions at all IKEA stores in the US would be donated to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund.
Did you know that up to a quarter of all food is thrown away every day in many households? That’s not only a waste of money. Food production generates lots of CO2. Food savers help take better care of fresh food and leftovers. Some products have benefits making them especially good for saving your food and using just the right amount of food to prevent waste when cooking. For example, some sizes in the IKEA 365+ food storage series come with a removable plastic bottom grid to allow excess moisture to drain off and help food last longer. And, in the RARITET series the jar for dry storage has a measuring cup in the lid to make getting it right easier. The jar itself is transparent and graduated so you can see how much is left.
After the major earthquake in Pakistan in 2005, IKEA Social Initiative donated 335,000 quilts to the victims through UNICEF. After the Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar in 2008, IKEA Social Initiative donated 200 000 Soft Toys through Save the Children. In an emergency IKEA Social Initiative can at an initial state donate products and later work with its partners to provide mid-term/long-term support in the aftermath of a disaster, e.g. the reconstruction of schools in China after the 2008 earthquake.
In the United Kingdom every new coworker is given a bulb box on joining the company. It contains 6 IKEA low energy bulbs and when the bulbs eventually blow IKEA will replace them free of charge and recycle the returned ones. The box has information on it about IKEA and what the worker can do to save energy at home and at work. The co worker will save about 50 euros a year on their home energy bill by using the six bulbs.
Lee, a co-worker in one of our Californian stores, came up with a way to improve the packaging of ALÄNG table lamps. Lee discovered that the box could be shrunk as much as 30 percent if only the lamps components were rearranged. So, Lee tipped off IKEA packaging technicians in Sweden who in turn conferred with suppliers. Now, thanks to a great initiative and teamwork, each pallet holds 24 ALÄNG lamps compared to only 18 before.
IKEA Social Initiative is supporting major health initiatives carried out by UNICEF. These programmes aim at developing integrated, community-based, sustainable approaches to improve child survival in some of India's most deprived areas. The initiative covers 18 states and is expected to benefit 80 million children and adolescents, and 10 million women. The focus is on improving the health and nutrition of children by vitamin supplements, advocate breastfeeding, provide safe water and create a healthy environment for children and their families.
All coffee sold and served at IKEA is UTZ Certified. That means that you can trace the bean all the way back to the plantations through a code on the packaging. UTZ Certified is an independent non-profit organisation that sets social and environmental standards for sustainable coffee growing and distribution.
IKEA France stores are keen recyclers and that has paid off - in 2008, 88% of our waste was recycled or incinerated and the energy captured and reused. We’re also saving water by putting waterless urinals in new stores and retrofitting some stores with grey water systems so roof water can be used for toilet flushing.
In collaboration with a national environmental organisation, all Italian IKEA stores provide free seminars to IKEA Family Members about responsible energy use. Together with Italian energy retailers, about 800,000 “energy saving packs” were given free to IKEA clients with both energy saving bulbs and water saving tools.
IKEA Canada has partnered with Tree Canada (the largest nation-wide not-for-profit tree-planting organisation in Canada) since 1998, to plant 14,000 trees through the ”Pick a Tree, Plant a Tree” program. IKEA Canada makes a donation to Tree Canada based on our Christmas tree sales, and then in the spring each store market has a tree-planting event with their co-workers. These trees offset the same amount carbon dioxide as created by heating approximately 1,300 homes with electricity for the year.
IKEA Italy donates 3 Euro to national park-forestation activities for every Christmas tree that customers return to IKEA after the holidays. The trees are composted, and eventually return back to the earth.
Working together with ONF (Office national des forêt) IKEA France supports a project at the regional Nature Park du Pilat in the Loire for forest restoration. For each Christmas tree returned to the store for recycling, IKEA donates € 1 – over five years, € 1,250,000 have been invested in 30 local projects to improve forested areas or raise public awareness of the forests.
IKEA Italy developed educational material for schools in 2004, 2005 and 2006. Two different packs were developed: a “Responsible Energy pack” and a “Responsible Forestry pack” (2006) - both distributed for free to schools near the stores.
Each IKEA PS VADMAL throw is hand woven and unique. It’s made from wool – a renewable material – which has been sorted in colour shades instead of being dyed or bleached.
IKEA PS GULLSPIRA is one of three different wall hangings with masks depicting characters from Scandinavian fairy tales. Indian village women entrepreneurs make them, with a hand-stitched quilting technique using wool and cotton. Each wall hanging is a one-off piece, with the Hindi name of its maker embroidered on the back. The women were previously part of a joint IKEA Social Initiative and UNICEF project, started in 2000, which has helped to economically and socially empower more than 20,000 women through self-help groups, as part of a broad programme to prevent and eliminate child labour in Uttar Pradesh in northern India.
IKEA Sweden organised a sustainability contest for young students, grades 1-3, in cooperation with WWF Sweden in 2008. More than 48,000 children collected aluminium tea light holders (recycling aluminium uses 96% less energy than producing new!). Swedish kids gathered together over 50 millions tea light holders for recycling – that’s 35 tons of aluminium. As part of the contest children get to learn about the environment and how to save resources.