IKEA commits to energy independence by 2020

Oct 24, 2012 by Bob Yirka report
IKEA commits to energy independence by 2020

(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 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 on 342,000 buildings (including 34 of 38 U.S. stores), and owns six 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 , 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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antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (2) Oct 24, 2012
I hope this is not just some 'greenwashing' campaign. If they can do it then that would be neat.
EBENEZR
3 / 5 (2) Oct 24, 2012
I hate being sceptical, but I'll believe it when I see it!
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (2) Oct 24, 2012
I do think that they can get a lot of energy by simply burning the woodchips that accumulat during their production process (and I'dbe surprised if they aren't doing that already)
krundoloss
not rated yet Oct 24, 2012
Perhaps we could encourage other companies to do this by creating a grading system for enviromental responsible companies, to allow consumers to know the choices they are making, and perhaps create some incentive for companies to go green.
Lurker2358
1 / 5 (1) Oct 24, 2012
I do think that they can get a lot of energy by simply burning the woodchips that accumulat during their production process (and I'd be surprised if they aren't doing that already)


Most of that probably gets recycled and used as particle board for home construction, or some of the rough interiors of some of the furniture panels (if they are making desks or cabinets).

Anyway, selling the wood chips as particle board, or hidden components of cabinetry, is almost certainly more profitable than the energy obtained by burning it.

energy is better than currency.

If you own your own personal energy collection farm, you've got it made in the shade. Plus, you don't lose all power in a storm aftermath or anything like that.

Grocers should install solar panels.

Wal-Mart should install solar panels on their entire roof of both their shopping centers and their distribution centers.

It just makes sense.
Lurker2358
3.3 / 5 (3) Oct 24, 2012
Perhaps we could encourage other companies to do this by creating a grading system for enviromental responsible companies, to allow consumers to know the choices they are making, and perhaps create some incentive for companies to go green.


Consumers rarely do the "right" thing even when they know their options.

Need proof? just look at any drug, tobacco, or alcohol product.

Given the choice between watching the science channel and professional wrestling, most "consumers" watch the professional wrestling.

etc, etc.

You can't actually expect consumers to make the right decision, just as you can't expect stock holders to make the right decision. Most of the time you can't even trust a CEO or other executive to make the right decision, and they are the ones with the most information (at least supposedly).

So Inform away, but don't expect much, if any, positive response from the consumer based solely on what is best for them or the environment.
ScooterG
1 / 5 (4) Oct 24, 2012


If you own your own personal energy collection farm, you've got it made in the shade. Plus, you don't lose all power in a storm aftermath or anything like that.

Grocers should install solar panels.

Wal-Mart should install solar panels on their entire roof of both their shopping centers and their distribution centers.

It just makes sense.


But does it make financial sense? I'm guessing not.
VendicarD
5 / 5 (1) Oct 25, 2012
When "financial sense" is the only sense, then nonsense is the order of the day.

Witness America.
kochevnik
not rated yet Oct 25, 2012
When "financial sense" is the only sense, then nonsense is the order of the day.
Conservatives remind me of the six blind Indians and the elephant. They can only detect that which is in front of their nose or easily stolen, the latter which they enshrine in legislation making it the law of the land for all "patriots."
EBENEZR
3 / 5 (2) Oct 25, 2012
The sad part is it can make financial sense over the long term. When has that mattered though? Long term sounds like "I" won't benefit, so why bother!

I think it would be interesting to poll people by age group whether or not they think it is important to build business models on benefits for the future, even if it costs at first and may not receive benefits for it for a few years. This may be a generational problem. I'm not saying young people are never selfish, but concern for our children may have been learnt by the mistakes of our more "laissez-faire" elders. Much like why, at least in the UK, hard drug use has dropped to a record low (most in treatment for heroin now are in their forties) and, although I don't have references for it now, careless casual sex and alcohol use has become less common in the younger generations who want to succeed.
Eikka
1 / 5 (2) Oct 25, 2012
I hope this is not just some 'greenwashing' campaign. If they can do it then that would be neat.


It kinda is, because when you invest in wind-power schemes, the actual production is far away from the consumption and whatever power they use is still mostly coming from the nearest powerplant, which is probably running on coal or gas.

When the crew in an IKEA store turn the lights on in the morning, that has no effect on whether the sun shines or the wind blows, so it must mean that more coal gets burned. The only way they'll truly become energy independent is by installing banks of batteries and buying electricity only when their own mills are turning, but that costs 5-10 times the going rate for electricity.

The only reason they're doing this campaign is because wind and solar gets subsidies in most countries, so it makes them more money than it consumes. The PR value alone isn't sufficient.
Eikka
1 / 5 (1) Oct 25, 2012
Consumers rarely do the "right" thing even when they know their options. Need proof? just look at any drug, tobacco, or alcohol product.


Don't you think the problem is addiction rather than irrationality of the consumer?

You can't expect a patient to stop sneezing when they have the flu, and you can't expect the drug user to simply kick the habit when they're addicted to it.

The rest of your inferences is just cynical fallacies.
Eikka
1 / 5 (1) Oct 25, 2012
When "financial sense" is the only sense, then nonsense is the order of the day. Witness America.


When financial sense is not in consideration, very quickly you don't have finances because you don't have a business. In the end it always comes back to whether it makes money, or loses money, because if it loses money then you lose to your competitors who don't.

It's part of that little pesky thing called reality. When you deliberately increase your own energy prices, the only thing that'll happen is that manufacturing jobs ship over to China and you're left with the unemployed.
EBENEZR
1 / 5 (1) Oct 25, 2012
When the crew in an IKEA store turn the lights on in the morning, that has no effect on whether the sun shines or the wind blows, so it must mean that more coal gets burned. The only way they'll truly become energy independent is by installing banks of batteries and buying electricity only when their own mills are turning, but that costs 5-10 times the going rate for electricity.


Surely installing (more?) solar tunnels would be the best approach? See what can be done without electronic technology, using electric lighting (generally) only during the night. There was that trend in the Philippines that uses water to refract the light and act as a bulb. Can't they do something similar here?
jwilcos
5 / 5 (1) Oct 25, 2012
The original plan was to achieve energy independence by 2000. But they had to change the plan as it is taking much longer than expected to assemble the solar panels with all the little screws and parts. The panels looked nice on paper, but they didn't realize it would be so complicated.
krundoloss
not rated yet Oct 26, 2012

You can't actually expect consumers to make the right decision, just as you can't expect stock holders to make the right decision. Most of the time you can't even trust a CEO or other executive to make the right decision, and they are the ones with the most information (at least supposedly).

So Inform away, but don't expect much, if any, positive response from the consumer based solely on what is best for them or the environment.


Yes, but you are taking a defeatist approach. Based on your reasoning, there would be no recycling, there would be no warnings on tobacco products, there would be no nutrition information on food. The point being, informing consumers of how green a company is that they buy from gives them the INFORMATION they need to make a decision, if indeed they do care.

This reminds me of the old "Made in USA" logo, that attempted to get consumers to buy more products that were locally made. Yes, it had limited benefit, but AT LEAST you have the info!!
chromosome2
not rated yet Oct 27, 2012
I do think that they can get a lot of energy by simply burning the woodchips that accumulat during their production process (and I'dbe surprised if they aren't doing that already)


For emissions purposes, it would be far better to bury or spread that stuff around somewhere.
VendicarD
not rated yet Oct 27, 2012
Without doubt.

"When financial sense is not in consideration, very quickly you don't have finances because you don't have a business." - Eikka

And when you make the financial decision to fire your workforce in one country and set up shop in another, the choice was treason against your own nation for the purpose of personal profit.

The economics is simple. You move to where you can produce the same product at a lower cost in terms of environmental regulation and wages.

The costs are externalized to the environment and to the displaced workforce.

When "financial sense" is the only sense, then nonsense is the order of the day.

Witness America.
VendicarD
not rated yet Oct 27, 2012
All of which are examples of government mandates that corporations strongly resisted.

"Yes, but you are taking a defeatist approach. Based on your reasoning, there would be no recycling, there would be no warnings on tobacco products, there would be no nutrition information on food." - Krundo

Corporations are opposed to educated, informed consumers.

The more consumers are kept in the dark, the easier it is to cheat them.

Why else would tool manufacturers refer to the "power" of a drill in amps, or volts, or refer to the suction power of a vacuum in Horse Power.

They do it to keep the consumers ignorant and hoodwinked.

VendicarD
not rated yet Oct 27, 2012
Yes, the manufacturers may decide that money is more important than their society and fire their workforce and move their operations to lower wage countries.

And when you have Conservative Governments promoting that kind of treason, your nation collapses.

Witness America.

"When you deliberately increase your own energy prices, the only thing that'll happen is that manufacturing jobs ship over to China and you're left with the unemployed." - Eikka
ODesign
not rated yet Oct 28, 2012
It sounds credible to me.

This strikes me as a great strategy for sustainability. Don't forget a lot of why people buy products like ikea is to associate themselves with a group. Some people like Ikea the way some people like sports or others are avid gamers. Ikea expects to get an immediate branding return on investment in the form of publicity and more sales (like the Prius), so that lets them sell it to a short term focused stock market driven management system. The cost comes later when they have to actually install it, but by then it's too late since the cost of installing is less then the negative brand repercussions if they don't follow through. Then there is another ROI payoff in the 20 year range too that comes with any solar or renewable technology investment.
Eikka
1 / 5 (1) Oct 28, 2012
Yes, the manufacturers may decide that money is more important than their society and fire their workforce and move their operations to lower wage countries.


It doesn't really matter whether they outsource or not, because in due time the Chinese competitors would take their place on the market anyhow.

The only way to prevent that is to place tariffs on imports, which would lead to trade wars.
krundoloss
not rated yet Oct 29, 2012
Keeping consumers ignorant is fading into the past. Almost anyone who has any sense will look up online reviews of products before buying them. Not only that, they will go to the store, try out a product to see if they like it, then go home and buy it online. That is what is killing Best Buy, after Best Buy killed circuit city. There is a new breed of consumer on the rise, and companies must keep pace or fail......

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