A red container being lifted by a crane onto a ship. The ship is docked in a shipyard.

Greener transports for a smaller climate footprint

Millions of people around the world enjoy IKEA products. Each one of these products has been on a journey – from the supplier, to a distribution centre, to its final destination in a customer’s home. To dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions in our operations we are rethinking everything – how we power our stores, the materials we use, how we can make our products live longer – and, not least, how they are transported.

Inspiring change beyond our supply chain

Goods transport by sea, road, and rail account for a significant portion of our total CO2 emissions. We will find new ways to innovate and reduce CO2 emissions by working directly with suppliers, governments and other partners. We’re working to create a positive impact, not only for our own operations and products, but the transport industry as a whole.

A chart reflecting the climate footprint from IKEA product transports. Land, motor, 45%; land, intermodal, 10%; ocean, 45%.
Climate footprint from IKEA product transports.

Our long-term ambition is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 70% per shipment by 2030.

Elisabeth Munck af Rosenschöld, Head of Sustainability, IKEA Global Transport & Logistics Services.

Biofuel onboard

Shipping is the most carbon-efficient means of global transport today, but it’s still one of the world’s most polluting industries, using fossil-based, heavy fuel oil to power vessels. Together with industry partners, we have invested in the development of a brand-new biofuel made from cooking oil waste and forest residue. Switching to the new biofuel is easy – there’s no need to upgrade existing engines, and it reduces CO2 emissions with 80-90%.

In March 2019, IKEA participated in the world’s first test shipment using the biofuel – transporting IKEA goods, of course. The positive outcome was a major step towards decarbonisation of ocean freight. “Our long-term ambition is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 70% per shipment by 2030. This is important because shipping makes up almost half of the carbon footprint of our transport operations”, says Elisabeth Munck af Rosenschöld, Head of Sustainability, IKEA Global Transport & Logistics Services.

A person opening a drawer with a KUNGSBACKA kitchen front made from recycled wood and recycled PET bottles.
HVO biofuel is made from waste cooking oil, animal fat and in some cases first generation biofuel.

The benefits of biofuel

One-third of all IKEA truck transports within Sweden use HVO, a biofuel that’s nearly identical to conventional diesel – except for the bad stuff. HVO is made from 100% renewable materials like waste cooking oil, animal fat and in some cases first generation biofuel. It produces up to 90% less greenhouse gas emissions than fossil diesel. We only use second generation biofuel that is produced from waste.

Biofuels are almost too good to be true. They can be derived directly from plants or indirectly from agricultural, commercial, domestic, and industrial waste, which means they don’t exploit the planet. Biofuels are also carbon-neutral – the CO2 released is equal to the CO2 that was absorbed by the plants during their lifetime.

Even though the use of biofuels is not a long-term solution, we believe that it is a stepping stone to more sustainable solutions in the future.

Transport by rail – stable and sustainable

From a climate perspective, trains are an excellent alternative to conventional diesel-powered trucks. The well-established rail network and the availability of low-carbon electricity in Europe makes it a practical, clean and green way to deliver goods from distribution centres to most IKEA stores in Europe.

Rail freight reduces CO2 emissions and eliminates pollutants along transport routes. Intermodal rail transport – the use of more than one type of transportation for a journey to optimise climate efficiency – currently accounts for 10% of IKEA goods transport. We will increase this rate significantly in the future.

A wooden train set on a green background with rows of green toy carriages and a colourful train next to the tracks.