IKEA Embraces Sustainability as a Never Ending Job and a Never Ending List

Jan 26, 2010, 08:00 ET from IKEA

CONSHOHOCKEN, Pa., Jan. 26 /PRNewswire/ -- IKEA is dedicated to helping create a better world where we all take care of the environment, the earth's resources and each other. But being a company who takes care of all these things is not often easy. After all, it's a big job that requires focus and commitment. In fact, this is a topic that recently dominated the COP15 (Copenhagen Climate Change) conference. It was here that nations and businesses from around the world came together to seriously look at our environmental conditions and start to initiate purposeful change.

COP15 great leaders discussed carbon control and CO2 emissions, new forms of energy, recycling, responsible waste disposal and many other topics. And at the core of these discussions was 'what can businesses do to reset and change their thinking in a sustainable way.'

As a global retail leader and a sustainable company, IKEA has been working hard and continues everyday to be a part of the solution. For almost twenty years, IKEA has been looking at sustainable practices within the IKEA business, continually examining and changing things. Each step, across every area of the business, may at times seem small. But each one adds up to something with a noticeable impact. And as this continues, IKEA knows it's a never ending job with a never ending list of more to do.


Keeping prices low is a cornerstone of the IKEA business idea, yet the low prices are not at the expense of people or the environment. Economizing on resources is one important way to keep costs and to minimize IKEA's impact on the environment.  IKEA believes in low prices but not at any price. This is a prerequisite for doing good business at IKEA.

  • IKEA cooperates with companies, trade unions, NGOs and organizations to develop and strengthen the impact on our environment. Key partners include UNICEF and Save the Children to improve children's rights. Environmental conservation groups include WWF on forestry, cotton and climate change projects. IKEA is also a signatory to the United Nations' Global Compact and acknowledges GC's ten principles.
  • The IKEA vision is to create a better everyday life for the many people. The many people include suppliers and their workers, coworkers, customers and other stakeholders affected by IKEA operations.
  • IKEA strives to build long-term relationships with suppliers. The focus is to motivate and support suppliers to take more responsibility and ownership. Every three years, IKEA conducts an anonymous supplier survey to collect feedback on the relationship.
  • IKEA strives to use as much renewable and recyclable materials as possible and to work actively to reduce the impact on the climate.
  • IKEA gain's knowledge through dialogue with stakeholders and partners. This includes Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), Building and Wood Workers' International (BWI), Business for Social Responsibility (BSR), Clean Cargo Working Group (CCWG), European Retailers Round Table (ERRT), Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), Global Compact, Greenpeace, Green Power, Market Development Group, International Labor Organization (ILO), The Network for Transport and Environment (NTM), Rainforest Alliance, Refrigerance Naturally, Save the Children, UNICEF, UTZ Certified, WWF.
  • IWAY - The IKEA Code of Conduct IWAY specifies the requirements that are placed on suppliers and details on what IKEA expects. With over 1750 suppliers worldwide in 54 countries, IKEA is responsible for communicating The IKEA Code of Conduct to their workers and sub-suppliers.
  • IKEA does not accept child labor and works actively to prevent it.
  • IKEA purchases fresh, packaged food for IKEA restaurants and the Swedish Food Market. All 80 suppliers must comply with national/international legislation and agreements relating to the food, as well as the IKEA IWAY Code of Conduct.
  • IKEA products are transported by road, rail and sea between suppliers, distribution centers and IKEA stores. By 2012, IKEA's goal is to have 100% IWAY approved transport suppliers. All transport service providers must measure their carbon dioxide emissions and set a three year target to reduce them.
  • IKEA values all its diverse coworkers. IKEA embraces human rights and respect for the individual. Values include humbleness, simplicity, cost-consciousness and common sense.


The IKEA never ending list of sustainable improvements is many, here is a beginning.

Improvement # 1

IKEA does not design flat packs to sell more but to save more. Flat packs means optimized loads and fewer transports, which reduces emissions. Our use of recyclable packaging requiring minimal raw material helps, too. Brown cardboard is one of our best friends – it saves costs and the environment….more never ending stories to be continued….

About IKEA

IKEA places great value on life at home.  Since its 1943 founding in Sweden, IKEA has offered home furnishings and accessories of good design and functional living solutions at prices so low that the majority of the people can afford them. Currently there are more than 300 IKEA stores in 34 countries, including 37 in the U.S.  IKEA has been named to BusinessWeek's List of The Best Global Brands (August 7, 2006) and for four consecutive years, Working Mother magazine's annual list of the "100 Best Companies for Working Mothers." IKEA was listed in March 2007, on Fast Company's Fast 50, for its environmentally responsible products, as well as five consecutive years, Training magazine's annual list of top companies that excel at human capital development. Additionally, IKEA has been on FORTUNE's "100 Best Companies to Work For" list for three straight years. IKEA incorporates environmentally friendly efforts into day-to-day business and continuously supports initiatives that benefit causes such as children and the environment including UNICEF, Save the Children and American Forests.  To visit the IKEA Web site, please go to http://www.IKEA-usa.com.

To learn more about IKEA environmental and social responsibility actions go to http://www.ikea.com/ms/en_US/about_ikea/our_responsibility/index.html AND http://www.ikea.com/ms/en_US/about_ikea/our_responsibility/ikea_social_initiative/index.html