Cover Photo: REUTERS/John Sibley
This June, IKEA Canada celebrated its 12th consecutive year as one of Canada’s Greenest Employers, for their commendable commitment to sustainability.
Melissa Barbosa, Country Sustainability Manager of IKEA Canada, said that the company is working on becoming “climate positive and fully circular by 2030,” a huge milestone, especially for a furniture giant like IKEA.
Now, IKEA is working to inspire positive change for the planet by adding vegetarian-friendly options to their menu and using recycled and sustainable materials to make their furniture.
‘No method is more effective than a good example.’—Ingvar Kamprad, IKEA Founder
As one of the world’s largest furniture retailers, IKEA knows that it’s up to them to set a positive example for climate responsibility. They’re always looking for sustainable alternatives to materials used in their furniture, from Better Cotton sourcing to eco-friendly wood options.
Conventional cotton growing is often harmful to the environment and the people involved. Cotton farming uses large amounts of chemicals and water – a practice that often leads to significant health risks to farmers while damaging the environment.
Since September 2015, all the cotton in IKEA products comes from more sustainable sources, according to company standards. IKEA cotton is grown with less water and chemicals, helping areas that are subject to erosion and water scarcity.
IKEA also uses sustainable wood sources like bamboo to make eco-friendly furniture. Bamboo, one of the world’s fastest-growing raw materials, is stronger and more flexible than most wood. It’s also self-regenerating and even produces twice as much oxygen as other wood species.
“We’re promoting the adoption of sustainable forestry methods. We do this in order to influence others and also to contribute to the important work of ending deforestation.”– Mikhail Tarasov, Global forestry manager IKEA
Sustainable Food and Economic Empowerment
Food-wise, one of IKEA’s sustainability initiatives comes from sourcing their coffee and tea! All the coffee and tea served and sold at IKEA are organic and UTZ certified, which means that both farmers and the environment get to reap the eco-friendly benefits. Even better, IKEA’s coffee cherries are bought directly from coffee growers in Uganda, which means they get a guaranteed contract. Thanks to the financial stability achieved through this long-term partnership, parents are able to send their children to school, ensuring economic empowerment for the future generation.
In the IKEA Swedish Food Market, customers can find delicious, plant-based products to help cut down their carbon footprint. Plant-based foods need less resources, less water, and less land to feed just as many.
As of January 2020, IKEA phased out all single-use plastic products from their furnishing range, including plates, cups, and straws. In the IKEA restaurants and bistros, all previously single-use plastic materials have been replaced by more sustainable options. For toys and furniture, IKEA has switched to PLA plastic, which is made from renewable sources like corn, sugar cane, and sugar beet.
For more information about IKEA’s sustainability practices, and tips for creating a sustainable lifestyle, click here.