Since IKEA is one of the world’s largest and most famous home furnishings and accessories companies, it bears the burden of responsibilities, including corporate social responsibility. In Russian, the company developed the strategy of sustainable development “Yes! – To people and the planet!” back in 2012 and has been successfully implementing it since then. In terms of following the strategy, IKEA Russia aims to minimize the negative impact of the company’s activities on the environment and population. IKEA Russia stands for conscious and responsible forest use, furniture and waste recycling, separate waste collection, improving the well-being of millions of people, and enabling one billion people to live a better life on our planet, replacing conventional energy sources with solar energy. It refers to integrating Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into the company’s strategy, namely goals number 11, Sustainable Cities and Communities; 12, Responsible Consumption; and 13, Climate Action.
The Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration
IKEA always tries to keep up with modern trends. Understanding that everyone has a right to a better everyday life, IKEA’s business idea is to offer well-designed furniture at affordable prices. They are trying to become even more affordable so that more people can enjoy a better life at home without compromising on sustainability, quality, or design. Therefore, the company constantly launches new innovative social programs and creates enhanced products that could meet customer needs. Despite IKEA’s famous projects related to recycling of plastic or run-down furniture, the company is eager to reach a new level. They try to improve their daily routine by embedding unique developments to furniture, utilities, or offering an opportunity to make a home farm just inside the apartments.
In a nutshell, project teams all over the world have created a series of conceptual products designed to improve health and well being in the city environment, as well as monitor and reduce energy consumption - for instance, the Heat Harvest device. This invention can be integrated into furniture to divert heat generated by electronic goods or hot tableware to recharge phones, and the smART wall hanging loses color to alert homeowners to their use of water and electricity. Another example is the Cloud Burst faucet that monitors water flow and glows red to let the user know when they have reached their allotted amount of time in the shower, to help conserve water. The Vayü window attachment can open or close the windows of a house, depending on the air pollution levels outside. Other designs include a chair that monitors movement with a smartphone app and raises its seat to encourage sedentary workers to be more active.
“We are not merely a home furnishing company; we focus on life at home and how we can make it better for people.”
"Yes! - To people and the planet!"
IKEA, as a global values-driven organization, was inspired by all the people who were impacted by its business. The company's vision, “To create a better everyday life for many people,” has not changed since its foundation in 1943 by Ingvar Kamprad. People can improve their living conditions and the environment by cooperating with IKEA. So, this company is a good “mentor” for millions of customers for an eco-friendly lifestyle and responsible consumption. It cares about climate change and natural resources. It provides equal opportunities for everyone by producing products at prices so low that as many people as possible can afford them. The sustainable development strategy, “Yes! - To people and the planet!” is in the heart of IKEA’s employees. Each staff member receives training on sustainable development, eco-habits, and so on once a year.
Moreover, employees participate in the project "greener life at home." They save electricity and water, sort waste, and have a healthy lifestyle. And then over the course of four months, management monitors the results, how much employees' consumption changes, how their lives change, and whether it is easy to implement new eco-habits. In the future, the employees who succeed in "eco-friendship" will become agents of influence, a kind of eco-implementers or eco-agents.
For several years IKEA has demonstrated a deep and honest desire to focus a lot on improving its impact and followed its values and a planet positive strategy, caring for people.
The impact of IKEA's activities in line with its sustainable development policy is enormous. It is important to note that the company does not only focus on independent operations to achieve the SDGs. IKEA also focuses on people and the value of “caring for people and the planet," inspiring its customers through its policies, products, and services to be also engaged in useful activities. So, IKEA was one of the first to launch in its stores and shopping centers in Russia the collection of batteries and mercury lamps and organized the reception of home textiles. All this directly or indirectly affects the improvement of the environmental situation on the planet by increasing the involvement of people in the policy of rational use of resources and their high-quality processing. It is also worth noting that companies that manage their environmental and social indicators have a larger profit and value in the market. They do this by attracting and retaining the best employees and getting more loyalty from customers. IKEA follows the same plan, directly influencing the stability of cities and various communities through highly effective economic policies.
An important part of IKEA's policy is the recycling of the materials which were used for production. In practice, many stores and distribution centers recycle up to 15 different categories of waste, with total recycling rates reaching 90%. This guarantees a responsible and sustainable approach to their resources and makes them renewable for subsequent use in new products. This approach requires specific, dedicated professionals during the planning phase and generates work opportunities for ordinary employees, who are responsible for material sorting. In addition, renewable resources help IKEA save their budget instead of purchasing new raw material. IKEA is also known for its grocery stores and canteens. Excess food and waste are also sorted and used for further processing and production of fuel for service cars and buses, which contributes a lot to ecology and budget. This approach also generates additional job opportunities for ordinary people. In cases of broken and damaged furniture, IKEA does not throw the furniture away, but repairs it, which helps to cut costs on new production. The IKEA supply chain is often long with numerous sub-suppliers, and many IKEA home suppliers operate in developing countries facing social and environmental challenges. This solution allows residents of developing countries to work in appropriate working conditions and to gain fair salaries. We believe that this way IKEA makes a great contribution to the development of third world countries.
IKEA strikes the balance between generating revenue, meeting the customers' needs, and creating a sustainable production, an inclusive society, and a positive environmental strategy. "With home solar, veggie hot dogs, and kitchen fronts made of recycled plastic bottles, we want to inspire change." The environment benefits from IKEA’s waste management, energy efficiency, and recycling projects. Mainly the company focuses on how to continue operating but on more sustainable terms, from choosing materials to creating a marketing plan. When they are not able to use renewable resources, they aim for recycled or recyclable ones. The company is constantly looking for new ways to use recycled resources as materials; re-design the production of existing products to make it more sustainable; and also try to make products that can be reused, repaired, reassembled, and recycled by their customers. In addition to this, the company tries to save as much energy as possible. 98% of IKEA’s home furnishing materials, including packaging, are made from renewable, recyclable, or recycled materials. The environmental benefits of a longer product lifespan include a slower rate of raw material extraction and waste reduction. In terms of societal changes, the company takes part in charity programs, which are of great help for the unprotected, vulnerable segments of society. IKEA Social Initiative supports programs that improve the lives of children in need through health, human rights, and education. IKEA customers contribute to improved education for millions of children in Africa, Asia, and Central and Eastern Europe through the annual soft toys campaign. IKEA provides decent working conditions and regular fair pay.
Julia Bunina, Sustainability Partner at IKEA
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Moscow, Moscow Region, RU
Business Website: https://www.ikea.com/ru/ru/
Year Founded: 1943
Number of Employees: 5001 to 10000
IKEA is a multinational group of Swedish origin headquartered in Delft, Netherlands, that designs and sells ready-to-assemble furniture, kitchen appliances, and home accessories, useful goods, and occasionally home services. The company is known for its modernist designs for various types of appliances and furniture, and its interior design work is often associated with an eco-friendly simplicity. In addition, the company is known for its attention to cost control, operational details, and continuous product development that has allowed IKEA to reduce its prices.