Lena Pripp-Kovac, Head of Sustainability at the Inter IKEA Group.

Making healthy and sustainable living a reality for the many

One of our biggest sustainability ambitions is to inspire and enable 1 billion people to live healthier and more sustainable lives within the limits of the planet. Lena Pripp-Kovac, Head of Sustainability at Inter IKEA Group, talks to us about how we’re working to make that a reality.

Reaching 1 billion people is a huge ambition. Is it even possible to achieve?

We believe that sustainability should be inspiring and affordable for the many, not boring or expensive. Every year billions of people come in contact with the IKEA brand. If we can inspire and enable even a portion of our visitors and show them that a sustainable and healthy life is both beautiful and affordable, we’ll be well on our way to achieving our big ambition. It is a huge number, but with our size and impact we have the opportunity to actually make it happen.

What is stopping people from living more sustainably today?

Living in a way that is good for yourself, others and the environment is viewed by 54% of people across the world as an important priority. People say that the biggest barrier to living a healthy and sustainable life is that it’s too expensive. That’s why we want to offer people affordable ways to create better homes built on more sustainable materials, better ways to use and generate renewable energy at home, reduce their climate impact, be energy and water efficient, purify the air in their homes, reduce waste and improve their health and wellbeing. Living more sustainably must be seen as the better choice, not as a burden.

Small kitchen featuring KUNGSBACKA kitchen fronts and open shelving.
KUNGSBACKA kitchen fronts are made of recycled wood covered with plastic foil made from recycled PET bottles.

How is the IKEA business addressing the challenge of unsustainable consumption?

Unsustainable consumption is one of our biggest challenges. Tackling it requires changes in behaviour and new definitions of what makes a better everyday life. It’s about doing more and better with less. Offering solutions, inspiration, knowledge and services that help customers make a change. We want to lead the way and create circular business models and solutions. But we can’t do it alone. We need to work together with governments and other businesses to make the biggest impact.

Can you talk more about circularity? What will it mean for the IKEA business and for customers?

Circularity includes prolonging the life of products and materials in society and using resources in a smarter way, transitioning to using only recycled or renewable materials, which is a huge task. It also means designing all IKEA products to be repurposed, repaired, reused, resold and recycled, right from the beginning. To make it work we must encourage customers to participate by offering new services and helping customers care for and pass on products.

Becoming a circular business is a total transformation, a new business model and it is one important way we will achieve becoming people and planet positive.

A reworked IKEA IVAR cabinet in light wood has been given a second life as bedroom storage by adding dark curvy legs.
A personalised IVAR cabinet.
An IVAR chair is given a new look with a grey-green colour and thread detailing along the back of the chair.
IVAR chair given a new lease on life with a coat of paint and some twine.