Ikea Reduces CO2 Emissions by 5%

by | May 19, 2010

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Ikea has reduced its total CO2 emissions by 5% and CO2 emissions from goods transport by 10% in fiscal year 2009 compared to the previous year, according to the company’s 2009 Sustainability Report. Ninety-five percent of the home furnishing retailer’s CO2 emissions is attributed to material extraction, suppliers, customer transportation and the use of products.

In 2010, Ikea will participate in the Greenhouse Gas Protocol by road testing a new global framework for measuring greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Ikea also is committed to reducing emissions in its supply chain. A pilot program is in place to help suppliers reduce their energy use by 30% or more by 2011, focusing on the largest suppliers with the highest energy consumption. As an example, in China, two glass suppliers have already reduced their carbon footprint and energy consumption by more than 40%.

Ikea also is expanding its effort with four new climate change projects with WWF. These projects will focus on measuring supply chain emissions, helping customers address climate change through transport initiatives, reducing emissions from Ikea food product transport, and improving the reuse and recycling of used products.

Ikea and WWF are also partnering on sustainable cotton projects. In 2008, Ikea and WWF projects generated 34,000 metric tons of cotton grown in a more sustainable manner, and Ikea suppliers bought 12,500 metric tons for use in Ikea products. In 2009, the total available volume was 150,000 metric tons and Ikea suppliers bought 23,000 metric tons (the target was 50,000 metric tons).

The retailer also has partnered with American Forests to plant more than 1.3 million trees in U.S. parks and forest.

During FY09, only Ikea distribution centers reached their recycling goal of 90%. Swedwood, the industrial unit of the retailer, and Ikea stores recycled, reclaimed or used 74% and 86% of their waste, respectively.

The amount of renewable materials used in Ikea products remained relatively stable at 71%, missing its goal to reach 75% in FY09. However, the company has separate targets for two key raw materials — wood and cotton.

Swedwood has all of its forest leases certified and is close to having implemented chain-of-custody certification in all its industrial units, which has increased Ikea’s share of FSC-certified wood from 7% to 16%. However, Ikea did not reach the target of 30% of solid wood from verified responsibly managed forests by FY09. The new goal is to reach a 35% share of wood from forests certified as responsibly managed by 2012.

During the year, Ikea used about 21% less solid wood compared with FY08, which is attributed to the company’s increased use of board material instead of solid wood.

The retailer’s approved wood supply chain audits have increased from 80% to 92% with almost all wood suppliers now complying with the retailers’ minimum requirements.

The company is also implementing measures to reduce water consumption during manufacturing. As an example, Ikea is implementing a printing technique called soft pigment printing (SPP) that reduces water consumption by 60% compared to traditional printing techniques. Today, 40% of its printed textile products are produced with techniques that require less water.

To help meet its long-term goal of powering all Ikea buildings with 100% renewable energy, the company has plans for several solar panel projects in eight countries over the next four years. The solar panels for up to 150 stores and distribution centers are expected to provide about 10% of their electricity need. For distribution centers, it may be as high as 25% since they use less electricity, says Ikea.

Today, only nine Ikea buildings have solar panels installed with the plan to reach 30 to 40 buildings by the end of FY11.

Ikea recently announced the addition of solar panels to its retail store in Tempe, Arizona, that will generate about one million kWh of electricity.

The company is also working to use alternative energy sources for heating such as ground source heat pumps, air heat pumps, biomass boilers and solar panels, and is progressing on its alternative fuel project for transport service providers.

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