Bringing IKEA full circle: Retailer unveils ambitious climate goals

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Swedish furniture giant IKEA has promised to outlaw single-use plastic products across its entire product range and in-store eateries by 2020 and ensure zero emission home deliveries as standard by 2025, as part of a sweeping set of new sustainability goals.

The firm also promised to design all its products in line with circular principles and using renewable and recycled materials, and reduce the climate footprint of its wares by an average of 70 percent per product by 2030.

IKEA announced its new global commitments today, as the next step towards its target of becoming a circular and climate-positive business by 2030.

The plan implies major investments in greener supply chains and a wholesale switch to an ultra-low emission fleet within seven years.

"Our ambition is to become people and planet-positive by 2030 while growing the IKEA business," said Inter IKEA Group CEO Torbjörn Lööf. "Through our size and reach, we have the opportunity to inspire and enable more than 1 billion people to live better lives, within the limits of the planet. Change will only be possible if we collaborate with others and nurture entrepreneurship. We are committed to taking the lead working together with everyone — from raw material suppliers all the way to our customers and partners."

IKEA said all the commitments, unless stated otherwise, will be achieved by 2030, including its "climate positive" vision, which it defines as reducing greenhouse gas emissions by more than the IKEA value chain emits. Internally, the targets include using 100 percent renewable energy, reducing the climate footprint from stores and other operations by 80 percent, and cutting emissions from its value chain by at least 15 percent, all against a 2016 baseline and a target date of 2030.

However, where the company hopes to have an even bigger climate impact is in encouraging the millions of people who shop with IKEA each year to live more sustainable lifestyles. As part of this drive, IKEA plans to offer more plant-based meals in its restaurants, and introduce new recycling, returns, and upcycling zones in its stores.

Meanwhile, new products will be introduced to help people cut their energy and water use, such as a tap nozzle that cuts water use by 90 percent, and new air-purifying textiles.

The move is an extension of IKEA's existing strategy to promote sustainable lifestyles. For example, in 2015 it switched to selling only LED lightbulbs and in 2017 began selling home battery storage units alongside its solar panels

"Becoming truly circular means meeting people's changing lifestyles, prolonging the life of products and materials and using resources in a smarter way," said Lena Pripp-Kovac, sustainability manager at IKEA. "To make this a reality, we will design all products from the very beginning to be repurposed, repaired, reused, resold and recycled."

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