While we work on a global level to improve the lives of people in places like India and Pakistan, we also want to be a good neighbor in our local communities. Here's how we're reaching out closer to home.
Early Steps to School Success; A Save the Children and IKEA Partnership Program
At IKEA, children are the most important people in the world, so it’s natural that IKEA places great emphasis on supporting children’s rights and education programs. Partnering with like-minded organizations such as Save the Children further supports IKEA’s dedication. One particular US program that IKEA has aligned with is Save the Children’s Early Steps to School Success (ESSS); an early reading readiness program that IKEA supports through financial and in-kind product donations.
ESSS is designed to assist children with language, social and emotional development to equip parents with the skills and knowledge to successfully support their children’s growth, and to develop strong home-school connections. In one recent project, IKEA supported the ESSS program with a redesign at the Pleasant View Elementary School in Pleasant View, CA. Specifically, the focus was on an Early Childhood Development classroom, a place that serves as the base for Save the Children’s Early Steps to School Success Program.
Save the Children is dedicated to lasting change in the lives of children in need in the United States and around the world. Save the Children works directly with communities in the US and globally to support children in need with a focus on literacy, nutrition, education and physical activity programs. In emergency and crisis, this organization works for and with children at risk of hunger and malnutrition, and those affected by natural disaster, war and conflict.
IKEA Celebrates Planting 1.9 Million Trees Across America
The message is plain and simple. Improve your Life. Plant a Tree. Why? Because planting trees will help to clean the air and cool the globe. Since 1998, IKEA US, in partnership with American Forests, has been dedicated to improving the lives of the many people through its national in-store ‘Plant A Tree’ program, a campaign that asks customers to donate $1 to plant one tree. These contributions, together with money donated by IKEA, have resulted in the raising of almost $2 million dollars to plant almost 2 million trees across America. On October 1, 2011, IKEA stores across the US, thanked their customers for their great participation and support for climate change by giving away free tree seedlings at each IKEA store location.
The Life Improvement Project is an initiative designed by IKEA US to educate, inspire and empower people to improve their lives at home, as well as the lives of others in their community.
In 2010, IKEA US launched the Life Improvement Sabbatical Contest as part of the company’s Life Improvement Project. The grand prize winner of that first IKEA contest was Kyria Henry of Round Hill, VA. After a month-long, online public vote, Ms. Henry had won a year-long sabbatical* (worth $100,000) to improve the lives of others through her paws4vets program. Additionally, IKEA donated $46,844 to Save the Children’s U.S. Programs, $1 for every vote cast in the contest.
Understanding that people have a desire to be a positive force within their community, IKEA kicked off this unique contest in the fall of 2010 to give one deserving winner the opportunity to pursue their passion of helping others. The contest had nearly 2,000 entrants and more than 46,000 votes were cast by the public for the five deserving finalists, including the winning entry, Ms. Henry’s paws4vets program (www.paws4vets.org), which trains and pairs service dogs with veterans needing assistance.
In addition to the external Life Improvement Project Contest, IKEA also ran an internal Life Improvement Co-Worker Challenge to provide $10,000 to 4 IKEA store locations to support community projects suggested by teams of IKEA co-workers across the country. This challenge gives IKEA co-workers the opportunity to win additional funding and support for a local charitable organization/cause of their choice.
The Life Improvement Project continues in 2011. While there will continue to be a national program for one US winner with a $100,000 donation to their charity, IKEA will also give $10,000 to each of the 38 IKEA US stores to support a worthy community program. IKEA is the Life Improvement Store with a vision and mission of creating a better everyday life for the many people. Information on the program is available on www.thelifeimprovementproject.com.
Most IKEA Stores in West Now Hosting Electric Vehicle Charging Stations
IKEA now has electric vehicle charging stations operational at seven stores in the Western U.S., at the locations in Renton, WA; Portland, OR; Emeryville, CA; Covina, CA; Carson, CA; Costa Mesa, CA; and San Diego, CA. Units also are being installed at the IKEA stores in East Palo Alto, CA and Tempe, AZ. This program involving a combined total of 33 charging stations represents a partnership between IKEA and ECOtality, a leader in clean electric transportation and storage technologies.
ECOtality is the project manager of The EV Project, a public-private partnership funded in part by a federal stimulus grant from the U.S. Department of Energy made possible by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to provide the necessary infrastructure to support the deployment of EVs. ECOtality is overseeing the installation of approximately 14,000 commercial and residential charging stations in 18 cities and major metropolitan areas in six states and the District of Columbia. IKEA stores are in four of those states.
In order to use the charging stations, EV drivers only need to pull into a designated parking spot, swipe their Blink InCard (RFID card), plug the charger into the EV, and then shop and eat at their leisure in the IKEA store while the vehicle is charging. Drivers can get a Blink InCard at www.blinknetwork.com.
IKEA Pulls the Plug on Incandescent Light Bulbs
Switch On. Switch Off. Switch Over. In January, 2011, IKEA made a change for a brighter, more energy efficient future by stopping the sale of all incandescent light bulbs in all US IKEA stores. This placed the focus on selling a comprehensive range of energy saving bulbs including CFLs plus LED and Halogen lamps.
Committed to helping IKEA customers live an everyday sustainable life at home, IKEA is the first major retailer to stop the sale of incandescent light bulbs. And this was done in advance of The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007; a legislation that will phase out most incandescent light bulbs by 2012-2014.
Did You Know?
IKEA offers lighting solutions that are more efficient and have less negative impact on the environment.
• CFLs last from 6-10 times longer than incandescent light bulbs (6000 - 10,000 vs. 1,000 hours) and use 80% less energy. Due to this lower energy use, they can save $30 or more in energy costs over each bulb’s lifetime. (EnergyStar.gov) **
• If every American household replaced 1 incandescent bulb with an ENERGY STAR qualified CFL bulb, we would save enough energy to light 3 million homes for 1 year. (EnergyStar.gov)
• According to 18seconds.org, if every American home replaced just one light bulb with a CFL, we would prevent greenhouse gases equivalent to the emissions of more than two million cars. And families would save more than $600 million in annual energy costs. The average American family spends $1,900 on energy bills each year.
• Lighting expenses account for almost 25% of electricity costs of customers’ homes.
(EnergyStar.gov). Halogen bulbs use 30% less energy and last 2-4 times longer than conventional bulbs. (IKEA Group). IKEA LED lights use 70% less energy and burn at least 20 times longer than a standard incandescent bulb. (IKEA Group)
IKEA Continues to Grow U.S. Solar Presence, with Plans Already for 75% of Locations
As part of its global initiative for locations to shift towards renewable energy, IKEA has been evaluating all stores, distribution centers and offices for their potential to harness solar power. The result of this effort is the installation of thirteen solar energy systems now operational with twenty more projects underway. These locations represents 75% of the U.S presence of IKEA and are geographically dispersed too – with 12 in the west, 10 in the south, and 11 in the east – demonstrating that successful programs are not limited to just one region of the country.
This investment by IKEA reinforces the company’s long-term commitment to sustainability, confidence in photovoltaic (PV) technology, and plan to reduce its US carbon footprint. IKEA will own and operate each of its solar PV energy systems atop its buildings – as opposed to a solar lease or PPA (power purchase agreement). These energy systems will produce more than 20 MW of electricity, and is the equivalent of, the equivalent of reducing tons of carbon dioxide (CO2), eliminating the emissions of thousands cars, or powering hundreds of homes yearly (calculating clean energy equivalents at www.epa.gov/cleanenergy/energy-resources/calculator.html). Additionally, in most instances, the projects contribute to the local utilities’ renewable portfolio goals and lower the carbon intensity of the electrical grid. Since this is an ongoing initiative, IKEA is still evaluating other U.S. locations for potential too.