Well on track

Several media including REUTERS reported that IKEA was on track to become climate positive by 2030. IKEA is the world’s biggest furniture brand and its annual carbon emissions fell 6% from pre-pandemic levels despite record sales.

Brand owner Inter IKEA defines its value chain as from raw material production to customers’ use and disposal of products. Emissions in the value chain became 26.2 million tons of CO2 equivalent in the 12 months through August. This number was an upwardly revised 27.9 million in fiscal 2019. Thus, fell for the first time compared to the pre-pandemic level.

Compared to fiscal 2020, when emissions fell as stores closed temporarily due to the pandemic, emissions increased 6%. In fact, the number was an upwardly revised 24.7 million tons of CO2 equivalent.

While the climate footprint from materials kept expanding, the drop in total emissions came mainly from several factors. They are the use of more renewable energy across operations, and a larger share of sales of more energy efficient light bulbs and plant-based food.

Inter IKEA CEO Jon Abrahamsson was confident about reaching IKEA’s target to be climate positive. It is to reduce more greenhouse gas emissions than its value chain emits by 2030. He answered in the following.

“We have (since baseline year 2016) managed to do a third of what our ambition is for 2030. Thus, we are well on track. Then there are big challenges ahead and we need to put all our energy and efforts into securing that we continue on a positive trend towards this goal.”

Difficult goal

Our media thinks that 2020 is the year to raise our awareness on climate change. For example, our research correspondent has been living in Barcelona, Spain. In the spring of 2020, Spain was one of the worst hit countries by the pandemic. As a result, the country introduced one of the severest restrictions in the world. He could go out only twice or three times in a week to purchase groceries in the nearest supermarket.

After spending this kind of life for two months, he found that the air in roads became clearer. Thus, he was able to see longer view than before. This story looks fake, but the reality is true. In the end, he naturally felt that he would want to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) as much as he can. He wanted the cleaner world.

We assumed that a trend to reduce GHGs would continue, but it did not happen. Like IKEA, we have increased GHGs in 2021. Therefore, it seems very natural that climate activists including Greta Thunberg have advocated that we need further actions to make our society more sustainable.

In this sense, big companies including IKEA must be a good example to realize economic value as well as social value. Of course, they are running their businesses in capitalism markets, so it is important for them to increase sales and profits. However, they have big responsibilities for our society at the same time. Thus, we want to believe that the Swedish company will be able to achieve climate positive by 2030.