(Phys.org)—Furniture giant IKEA has announced plans to produce as much energy as it consumes by the year 2020. To achieve that goal, the company will install solar panels on all its stores and warehouses, and invest in wind farms. The announcement comes as part of a three-pronged initiative the company is calling its "People and Planet Positive" campaign. The initiative will also focus on reducing the company's overall energy use, and growing enough trees to replace the wood used in its products.
The Swedish-based company, the largest furniture retailer in the world, is owned by a foundation and is thus not beholden to shareholders, CEO Mikael Ohlsson noted in an Oslo press conference. This independence allows for greater freedom to pursue innovation in adapting green technologies to its business model. To that end, the company has earmarked $1.95 billion towards achieving its goals.
IKEA has already installed solar panels on 342,000 buildings (including 34 of 38 U.S. stores), and owns six wind farms in several European countries, which together generate 27 percent of the company's electricity. The goal is to reach 70-percent independence by 2015, and 100-percent by 2020.
To further reduce its energy consumption, the company will replace all the incandescent light bulbs currently used in its stores with LED bulbs. To meet its wood-replenishment goal, the company says it will increase the amount of wood it buys from sources certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. IKEA has dedicated itself to buying 10 million cubic meters of wood annually, half its total use, from such sources by 2017.
As part of the announcement, company officials also said they believe the number of visitors to its stores each year will grow to 1.5 billion by 2020, that the number of stores will increase from 338 worldwide to 500, and that staffing will likely rise to 200,000 to meet the increased demand. They also reiterated that the company is moving toward its goals of phasing out the sale of all non-LED light bulbs, reducing store waste by recycling more, and using more planet-friendly components in its products, such as cotton certified by the Better Cotton Initiative.
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