IKEA slashes emissions thanks to energy efficiency and renewables

The IKEA Group has effectively halved the carbon emissions from its global operations since 2010 with the help of energy efficiency initiatives.

The firm is increasing its efforts in energy efficiency as it moves towards a target of becoming 30 per cent more energy efficient by August 2020 compared to the 2010 financial year, with the company having already achieved a 15.5 per cent improvement across its 340 retail stores, 232 of which have been retrofitted with LED lighting, as well as a 28.6 per cent improvement in its distribution centres.

One potential application the company is already exploring is the possibility of powering LED fixtures uses direct current from batteries instead of alternating current from mains electricity.

The company’s latest sustainability report for the 2016 financial year showed its emissions had dropped by 49 per cent over the last six years, however the company had initially hoped this would be achieved by August 2015.

The figure does not take into account emissions from shopping centres, which were only added to IKEA’s reporting scope for these results, and generate carbon emissions without selling IKEA products.

The Scandinavian furniture-giant has also seen an increased use of renewables, with a prolonged period of investment in wind, solar and biomass technologies. Since 2009, the Group has invested €1.5m in its own solar and wind generation and committed a further €600m in the financial year of 2015.

IKEA has also produced 3,209GWh from efficient and renewable technologies during the most recent financial year, a third higher than the previous year, with renewables producing 71 per cent of the amount of energy consumed in its operations.

It is hoped that all of the demand of IKEA’s operations will be met by clean energy by August 2020, however with shopping centres now taken into account this figure drops to 61 per cent, with IKEA expecting to update its renewable energy plans over the coming year.

In addition to its own generation assets, IKEA also purchases renewable energy, with 61 per cent of the electricity bought from the grid coming from these sources.

The company is also expected to adopt energy storage technologies after trialling lithium-ion batteries in Australia and Sweden. Forklift trucks powered by this battery chemistry will be introduced in Europe and Asia from September 2016 with the long term hope that these units will be reused at a later date to power other aspects of IKEA’s operations.

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