Although multinationals have to show how they are reducing emissions and enacting sustainable measures in their business practice, it is fair to say some are going further than others. On the one hand you have companies that are paying lip service to those that are actively trying to achieve zero waste. Ikea is not just fighting climate change with its sustainable practices; it is leading the charge in true Viking style.
Ikea’s Aggressive Approach to Sustainability is Getting Results
Steve Howard, chief sustainability officer at Ikea promises a net positive impact on the environment by 2020. This means, that Ikea will produce more sustainable energy than it needs. This can then be fed back into national grids. Ikea has already taken a giant leap into this arena, with all of its Nordic stores powered by solar power and wind farms. Soon, Ikea believes that all of its stores around the world will be powered the same way.
Underpinning their efforts is the belief you have to have ambitious targets. Setting a target of 50% is confusing, uninspiring, and demoralising. As Howard puts it:
“Companies saying ‘we're not going to be half as bad as we are today' leave everybody confused.”
When Howard speaks about climate change he talks about it in worldwide terms that make the reality of what we’re trying to achieve clear:
"If we really get going, we just have time. 1.5 degrees is an incredible challenge, and sub-2 degrees would be a major result for mankind, but that requires a mindset which is all about transformational change, radical decarbonization and new products and services instead of old techniques."
And let’s not forget Meatballs
As we are discovering in all things a whole is the sum of its parts. For Ikea even meatballs are subject to sustainability. Cows release huge quantities of methane gas into the atmosphere. This has prompted Ikea to look at introducing chicken and vegetable meatballs into their menus, despite the popularity of their meatball dish.
Last year the dish was temporarily withdrawn after reports of horse meat was used instead of beef. According to Joanna Yarrow, head of sustainability for Ikea UK, they received letters begging for meatballs to be put back on the menu.
“We had people begging us to put them back on the menu whatever was in them.
“And we have a lot of couples who come to Ikea because the husbands like the meatballs. So we had wives contacting us, saying, 'please whatever it takes, get them back on the menu'."
Ikea is truly taking the ball by the horns in the fight against climate change. Hopefully, other multinationals will follow suit.