IKEA targets plastics in major sustainability programme

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Swedish home furniture store IKEA has made a series of commitments to radically improve its sustainability, including removing all single-use plastic products from the IKEA range globally and from customer and co-worker restaurants in stores by 2020.

The company made the announcement at its ‘democratic design days’ event, held 6 June at its headquarters in Älmhult, Sweden, where it unveiled ambitious sustainability targets.

According to IKEA, the plastic-free goals apply to the biggest IKEA franchisee, INGKA Holding BV, with 363 stores in 29 markets.

“Our ambition is to become people and planet positive by 2030 while growing the IKEA business,” said Inter IKEA group CEO, Torbjörn Lööf.

In addition to the single-use plastic ban, other commitments for 2030 include designing all IKEA products on the basis of new, circular principles, with as goal to use only renewable and recycled materials;  to become “climate positive” and to reduce the total IKEA climate footprint by an average of 70% per product.

“To become climate positive, IKEA will reduce more greenhouse gas emissions than the value chain emits by drastically reducing the climate footprint of the products and operations in absolute terms, capturing and storing carbon within the value chain and working together with home furnishing suppliers across their entire factories,” explained IKEA.

The home store chain will also aim to achieve zero-emission home deliveries by 2025, while expanding the offer of affordable home solar solutions to 29 IKEA markets by 2025.

Moreover, in the wake of these announcements came the news that the company’s partnership with Finland’s Neste Corp., initiated in 2016 and aimed at utilising renewable residue and waste raw materials to produce plastic products has now borne fruit: this fall, Neste will for the first time commence large-scale production of renewable, bio-based polypropylene and polyethylene globally.

It is a major step forward; as Erik Ljungblad, Category Manager Plastic Products at IKEA of Sweden, pointed out: "No one has ever before been able to produce PP plastic from a fossil-free raw material other than on a laboratory scale.” 

“The production of bio-based plastics at a commercial scale is a major achievement in the cooperation between Neste and IKEA, while it also marks a significant milestone in Neste’s strategy,” said SVP Tuomas Hyyryläinen from Neste’s emerging businesses business unit.

The initial PP and PE produced during the pilot process will contain 20% renewable content. 

IKEA will use the new plastic in products that are part of the current product range, such as plastic storage boxes, starting with a limited number of products. As capacities improve, more products will follow.

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