Every time you rinse salad, fill a kettle or wash dishes, you're helping with something essential—saving water. How? Thanks to the small aerator in every IKEA kitchen mixer tap that reduces water flow while maintaining pressure. We didn't invent aerators, but think they are an important example of how we can work together to save water for everyone's benefit.
Four years ago, we started a project to improve our taps and knew we needed more expertise. That's when we hired Antony Smith, an engineer from England who has worked with taps for more than a decade. Now he lives in Sweden and is part of a small team that develops taps and showers for IKEA.
Like every new employee, Antony read founder Ingvar Kamprad's Testament of a Furniture Dealer. In it, Ingvar writes 'wasting resources is a mortal sin at IKEA.' This helped Antony understand how much we care about water and how his job is just one step in our larger approach to sustainability.
"When I got to IKEA, I realised we practise what we preach about sustainability," Antony says. "It's a refreshing experience, but it makes our job really difficult because we genuinely have to deliver on sustainability with each product."
So why is conserving water so important? Because water is one of our planet's most precious resources. Earth may be covered in a lot of water, but very little of it is drinkable and even less is accessible. No organism can survive without it, and no new water is created. It's constantly recycled, but our freshwater supply is overused; not evenly distributed; and impacted by pollution, contamination and climate change.
IKEA values the quality and quantity of water so much that we are committed to being water positive by 2020. One aspect is finding simple ways for people to conserve water. Aerators are a step we took long before our water commitment, but Antony and his team are working hard on new water saving taps using sensors or spray technology.
Behind the scenes, there's more to our commitment than what we develop for kitchens. Our initiative also includes exploring ways to improve water efficiency across the whole product process, whether it’s at our suppliers, distribution centres or stores. It can mean providing factory workers and their families with fresh drinking water, ensuring all factory water is cleaned before release, reducing water usage in textile production or using rainwater to flush toilets in stores.
"We make things hard on ourselves for good reasons, Antony says."
See why the aerator in your kitchen mixer tap is a small part of our bigger effort to conserve water?
"Some people who live where you can just turn on your tap and get water may not really think about saving water; it's taken for granted," Antony says.
But he and his team think about water at every step. It's part of creating a positive impact on people and the planet. We think every water-saving action adds up and thank you for helping with your kitchen mixer tap!