This is how we will work to regenerate resources while growing our business:
- We aim to only use responsibly sourced renewable or recycled materials in our offer.
- We will ensure that we have a positive impact by regenerating resources, protecting ecosystems and improving biodiversity.
- We will continue to secure and develop responsible sourcing standards that include environmental, social and animal welfare criteria.
A holistic view is key when assessing materials
We assess materials as holistically as possible by considering all relevant aspects. Otherwise, there is a risk of limiting efforts to solving specific challenges rather than looking at the totality of the problem. For example, when addressing deforestation, it is not enough to make efforts to stop land-use change since this is often a symptom of unsustainable farming on existing land. Therefore, a more holistic approach is needed, where aspects such as supporting sustainable farming and improving the livelihoods of smallholders are considered.
Wood is the most used material within the IKEA home furnishing business and a key focus area on our material agenda. Last year, we reached the more sustainable sources goal that was set out to be achieved by 2020, and today more than 99% of the wood used for IKEA products is either FSC-certified or recycled. Responsibly managed forests have the capacity to mitigate climate change, safeguard biodiversity and provide a sustainable wood supply.
But as the world transitions away from virgin fossil fuels, demand for forest products is increasing, adding more pressure on forest resources. In addition, approximately 1.6 billion people rely on forests for their livelihoods worldwide.
Our new forest agenda
In FY21, a new forest agenda for 2030 was announced as a way to ramp up the work to further enhance biodiversity further, mitigate climate change and drive innovation to use wood in even smarter ways as the pressure on the world’s forests continues to grow. One of our goals for 2030 is to secure that at least one third of the IKEA wood range will be made from recycled wood.
Globally, resource-intensive agricultural systems have contributed to deforestation, water scarcity, biodiversity loss, soil depletion and high levels of greenhouse gas emissions. A significant part of the environmental and social impact in our value chain is upstream of our own and our suppliers’ operations. This is why we want to understand the full CO₂ footprint of IKEA agriculture sources, paying special attention to soil health and its ability to protect biodiversity and to become a carbon sink using regenerative practices.
Agricultural raw materials are found throughout the IKEA offer in food ingredients and as fibres or other renewable materials in products. Looking ahead, and by grouping the agricultural commodities together, we aim to further accelerate the movement towards regenerative agriculture through a holistic landscape approach.
Since 2015, the IKEA business has phased out all conventional cotton in the IKEA supply chain and has only used cotton from more sustainable sources and recycled cotton. Cotton teams working across the globe are responsible for ensuring that all cotton used in IKEA products meets the demands of compliance in our supply chain.
Our work toward creating more sustainable food systems is aligned with our work with responsible sourcing and our goals for helping people live a healthy and more sustainable life at home. We’re focusing on better nutrition, better proteins, less food waste, and better packaging, as well as more responsible agriculture, production and supply.
We are working to improve animal welfare through the environments they are reared in, the way they are handled, and standards for on-farm practices that prioritise good physical health, good mental health, and the expression of natural behaviour.
Inorganic raw materials are minerals used in the production of metals, glass, ceramic, chemicals and electronic components. These materials are used directly in a wide range of products like pots, pans, appliances, lighting, taps, and indirectly as components. Inorganic raw materials involve extractive industries, and their use will be significantly reduced, replaced and eliminated where possible.
We know some raw materials don’t currently have a renewable substitute, and the technology to recycle some raw materials doesn’t exist yet. Until we have solutions for these materials, we’ll continue to use responsibly sourced virgin inorganics, replace them with new technologies when possible and decrease the proportions in IKEA products.
Analysing raw materials to improve our practices
In FY21, the IKEA business and Pact – NGO and IKEA partner – analysed 14 raw materials to identify risks and build knowledge about the sustainability impacts of inorganic extraction and mining. The analysis considers the IKEA business and supply chain, society and the environment while identifying risks, important stakeholders, and potential sustainability plans.
Virgin inorganic raw materials will be phased out from the IKEA business to reach the ambition of using only renewable and recycled materials by 2030. Recycled materials are a prerequisite for a circular society. In a world of limited resources, we want to move towards a circular system where nothing is wasted and where old products become new resources. By increasing our demand for recycled materials and by sourcing waste material responsibly, we aim to further prevent materials from polluting the environment.
In 2020 we reached the milestone of 90% recycled content in the polyester used for our textile products. Today, we have widened our measurement scope to include all polyester and fibre applications, excluding rigid plastic but including all fibre-based applications, such as foam. However, even with this broader scope, we have secured that 88% of the polyester in our supply chain is recycled.
Biodiversity – a big global challenge
Today, biodiversity loss is considered a threat of equal size to the climate crisis. Dramatic loss of species, ecosystems and genetic diversity is human-induced and represents, together with climate change, one of the greatest challenges of our time. Biodiversity is vital for a healthy and resilient world and human health and wellbeing.
We recognise that biodiversity loss is a complex challenge. But, as with climate change, IKEA has a unique opportunity and responsibility to reduce our impact and contribute to positive outcomes. We don’t have all the answers and will work together with others to support the large global movements needed to reverse nature loss in this decade.
In FY22, we’ll be mapping our impact on biodiversity across the IKEA value chain using the Science Based Target’s Network Initial Guidance for Business. At the same time, we’ll work with partners to explore how we can use our size and scope to protect and improve the biodiversity where we operate.
Sow a seed
Over a period of 20 years, IKEA has, together with partners, restored around 18,500 hectares of rainforest in Borneo, Malaysia. The area has now been given the highest protection status in Malaysia, and with increasing awareness of the need to end global biodiversity loss, IKEA and partners invite research organisations from all over the world to take part in the learnings from the Sow a Seed project.
Becoming water positive
IKEA is committed to becoming water positive, and we’re working toward this across our full value chain. Being water positive means using water as efficiently as possible in our operations. It also means promoting good water stewardship throughout and beyond our business, including collaborating with others to provide sustainable clean water supplies for people and communities. It’s about increasing the availability of clean water in our own operations and supply chain while also ensuring our wastewater is at least as clean as when extracted. It also means helping customers to reduce their water use through innovative and affordable products.
Safe products for the many people
Chemicals are useful in many ways – they add colours and texture to materials, glue parts together, and can provide a protective layer to make products last longer. All chemicals used in or for making IKEA products should be safe for people and the planet.