IKEA has achieved zero waste status across its UK and Ireland operations alongside strong sales growth for its ‘sustainable life at home products’, according to its sustainability report for 2016.
Published last week, the report claims IKEA recycled 90.6 per cent of the near-40,000 tonnes of waste it produced in the UK and Ireland between September 2015 and August last year, while using the remaining 9.4 per cent for energy recovery.
The Swedish retailer also saw a 13.3 per cent sales growth – an increase of £76.8m – among its ‘sustainable life at home’ product range, which is aimed at helping consumers live more healthily while saving on domestic wastage and energy and water use.
In addition, the report details how IKEA increased its renewables production, generating 43.4 per cent of the energy it used from renewable sources. By 2020, the company aims to produce as much energy from renewables as it consumes across its global operations.
However, the news comes alongside claims from the Swedish furniture firm’s UK and Ireland sustainability head, Joanna Yarrow, that the company is holding off investing more in renewables projects in the UK amidst concerns over UK government policy.
The firm has over €600m earmarked to spend on renewables projects following an original commitment to invest €1bn in clean energy capacity. However, Yarrow told the Huffington Post, the firm was likely to focus the investment on regions outside the UK as the existing “political context” in the UK did not encourage investment in renewables.
She said that since the Coalition Government came to power in 2010 it had become more difficult to invest in renewable energy but that IKEA “would like to see that change”.
The company has primarily focused its renewables investment on onshore wind farms and solar arrays, both of which have faced steep cuts to subsidies and planning hurdles in the UK in recent years.
However, a spokesman for the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy insisted Britiain remained “one of the best places in the world to invest in clean energy”.
“Last year a record high £13bn was invested in renewables across the UK and in November we reiterated our commitment to spend a further £730m per year supporting new projects,” the BEIS spokesman said in a statement.
Elsewhere in the 2016 sustainability report, IKEA said it sold 2.3 million LED light bulbs in the UK and Ireland, leading to estimated overall savings of £19.5m in household energy bills and the avoidance of more than 42,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions.
The report also highlights the success of several sustainability programmes, such as its 3-year ‘Live LAGOM’ scheme in partnership with the University of Surrey and sustainability charity Hubbub that aims to encourage consumers and staff to live with ‘just the right amount’ of resources.
Yarrow said sustainability was “important to everyone at IKEA” and vital to the firm’s business success.
“The entire business is focused on making our ambitions reality and it’s fantastic to witness such positive change over the last year,” she said in a statement.
“We’re looking forward to working together with customers and co-workers in 2017 to find even more ways to live more sustainably and make a big difference to both people and the planet.”
In a recent issue of the publication – Sustainability Ireland – Joanna Yarrow wrote the cover article – ‘IKEA – Going all in for a more Sustainable Future’ – in which she says: ‘At IKEA, sustainability is part of our roots. Our vision is to create a better everyday life for the many people and we believe a better life includes living more sustainably.’
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