IKEA, the world’s largest furniture retailer, will shift to renewable energy by 2020 and grow more trees than it uses under a plan to safeguard nature that has won support from environmentalists.
The Swedish-based group, which wants to build on many customers’ desire for a greener lifestyle, also said on Tuesday it would limit sales by 2016 to energy-efficient products including induction cookers and LED light bulbs.
“This will be a great driver of innovation,” said Mikael Ohlsson, chief executive of the firm which is known for its flat-packs and giant stores expected to be visited by an estimated 776 million people this year.
IKEA will invest 1.5 billion euros ($1.95 billion) … in solar and wind power to produce at least 70 percent of the group’s energy
Ohlsson told Reuters he had no doubt the “People & Planet Positive” strategy would save money both for IKEA and its clients, although he declined to estimate total savings.
Under the plan, IKEA will invest 1.5 billion euros ($1.95 billion) from 2009-15 in solar and wind power to produce at least 70 percent of the group’s energy. By 2020 it would produce as much renewable energy as it consumes.
IKEA already owns wind farms in six European nations and has 342,000 solar panels on its stores, warehouses and factories that generate 27 percent of the group’s electricity.
“We are a little under half-way in terms of investments” to the 2015 goal, said Steve Howard, chief sustainability officer. The company would also halve its greenhouse gas emissions from its operations by 2015, from 2010 levels.
By 2020 IKEA would grow at least as many trees as it uses to make products such as beds or cupboards. Already, IKEA says it does not take wood from natural tropical forests, such as in the Amazon or the Congo basins.