For many Ikea brings up the image of flat packed furniture, busy checkouts, traffic jams and Swedish food, which is certainly not every ones cup of tea. However there is much more to this giant retailer. The Swedish furniture retailer, has been at the heart of green retailing for many years where they once trod a lonely eco-path they have now shown other companies that going green can still keep the tills ringing.
Already a convert of Ikea, having been a visitor to the Wembley store since the 90’s and kitted out a number of flats, houses etc over the years I knew that they would come in handy for supplying furniture for our new classroom/cafe. I decided to research their eco credentials in terms of their products as well as their overall stance and have to say they are pretty impressive.
For a start the company actually has environment managers whose responsibility is to bring about measures to reduce the impact that Ikea have on the environment.
Examples of these measures include, offers of interest-free loans to all its staff for converting their cars to liquid petroleum gas and for season tickets on trains and buses (Ikea UK ). Another way it reduces its carbon footprint is how it buys, generates and uses energy. The company has a deal for all of its UK stores to buy green energy through Npower. In four stores the company is using waste-to-energy technology and geothermal heating techniques. In Milton Keynes, its flagship eco-store, a large bio mass unit helps the company reduce its carbon footprint and a waste-to-energy unit burns damaged wooden products and pallets. And, rainwater harvesting will soon be built into all new stores. Using these sorts of techniques, the company’s Wembley store, which now recycles 93% of its waste, has reduced energy bills from £130,000 in 2002 to £30,000 last year.
So as I curse the instruction and promise never to buy flat pack again at least you know that the chairs and tables that you will sit at The Secret Garden have come from responsibly managed forests, and that child labour has not been used and that significant effort has been made to reduce the impact this product has on the environment.
Follow this link to read more about how Ikea takes its responsibilities seriously