IKEA going green by 2020

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, as it builds on many customers’ desire for a greener lifestyle.

IKEA has branches of it’s store all over the world including the Nordic countries, Denmark, Norway and Finland apart from in Sweden itself, as well as Asian countries including China, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.

The Swedish-based group stated it would limit sales by 2016 to energy-efficient products including induction cookers and LED light bulbs. Changing all 12 billion incandescent bulbs worldwide to LEDs would cut global greenhouse gas emissions.

“This will be a great driver of innovation,” said Mr Mikael Ohlsson, chief executive of the firm which is known for its flat-packs and giant stores that are expected to be visited by 776 million people this year.

Mr 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 is investing 1.5 billion euros (S$2.4 billion) from 2009 to 2015 in solar and wind power to produce at least 70 per cent 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 per cent of the group’s electricity.

“We are a little under half-way in terms of investments” to the 2015 goal, said IKEA’s chief sustainability officer Steve Howard. The company would also halve its greenhouse gas emissions from its operations by 2015 from 2010 levels.

By 2020, IKEA, one of the world’s top users of wood, will grow at least as many trees as it uses to make products such as beds or cupboards. IKEA says it already does not take wood from natural tropical forests, such as in the Amazon or the Congo basins.

IKEA predicted the number of visitors to its stores would double to 1.5 billion by 2020, and forecast a potential 45 to 50 billion Euros in turnover, up from 27.5 billion for 2012. It predicted the number of stores would rise to 500 from 338 and that staff numbers would rise to above 200,000 from 154,000.

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