For us, the issue of water scarcity hits close to home. More than 40% of IKEA store visitors live in water scarce regions. That’s over 380 million people. All in all, we have at least 142 of our stores in highly water-stressed areas.
Where to from here?
We have an ambitious goal to become water positive by 2030, by being good water stewards and helping to increase the availability of clean water in our own operations and our supply chain. We’re constantly working to use water as efficiently as possible, and to ensure that the water we discharge is at least as clean as when it was extracted.
There is a common approach to water stewardship throughout the IKEA business, guided by the Water Working Group, with leaders from across the business. WWF also partners with us on specific projects, and have helped guide our approach to water stewardship.
Transformation through teamwork
Becoming good water stewards is not only about improving water-efficiency in our own operations. We work across the whole value chain, supporting suppliers to become good water stewards too. One area where we’re making great strides is in textiles, in which the production of cotton alone is responsible for 50% of our total water consumption. Thanks to our long-term work with Better Cotton Initiative, 100% of the cotton used for IKEA products comes from more sustainable, less water-intensive sources. This has been the case since 2015.
We are continuously working towards becoming water positive. One example is our fifth supplier in India to achieve zero liquid discharge (ZLD) in FY18. ZLD is a water-treatment process in which all waste water is purified and recycled, eliminating discharge. The dyed yarn supplier was the first organisation in the region to achieve this and is now helping neighbouring dye suppliers adapt to the technology.
We’ve also partnered with the Sweden Textile Water Initiative (STWI) in China since 2015, supporting three textile suppliers to improve water and energy efficiency and chemical management. During calendar year 2017, the partnership saved 7 027m³ of water, 668 992 kWh of electricity, 12 335 tons of steam and 1 030 tons of chemicals.
IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad often said that most things remain to be done – and that still holds true today. We look forward to developing and launching even more initiatives throughout our value chain in the coming months and years. After all, every drop of water adds up to an ocean.