IKEA implementing clean energy policiesSwedish-based furniture retailer IKEA recently announced that it has company-wide plans to implement renewable energy policies by 2020, cementing the company's role as a sustainable energy leader. These green technology plans aim to result in cost savings by making the company energy independent and address sustainability issues across the world. The plan, dubbed People & Planet Positive, will address energy issues as well as resource scarcity and waste minimization.

"With over 770 million visitors to our stores, we are excited by the opportunity to help our customers fulfill their dreams at home with beautiful products that help them save money on their household bills by reducing energy and water use, as well as reducing waste," said Steve Howard, the company's chief sustainability officer. "People & Planet Positive will also enable us to take our responsibilities in the supply chain further over the coming years by, for example, only using renewable energy to power our buildings and advocating for children’s rights."

Energy independence could cut costs
In the past several years, IKEA has already addressed renewable energy issues by installing solar panels on its retail stores and distribution centers and purchasing wind farms in Europe. However, its new sustainability initiatives take green energy concerns to the next level.

With its new plan, IKEA has pledged to produce as least as much as energy as it consumes by 2020 and will invest nearly $2 billion in solar and wind energy developments. The company plans to achieve at least 70 percent of this goal within the next three years. This would allow IKEA to be free from the volatile oil market and cut energy expenses in the long term once it no longer is subject to the direct material costs associated with nonrenewable energy sources. IKEA CEO Mikael Ohlsson told Reuters the strategy would save money for both the company and its customers.

Changing the supply chain
Using renewable energy isn't the only part of IKEA's sustainability initiatives. The retailer also has plans to rework its wood procurement and source half of its timber inventory from suppliers certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. Its packaging will be made from renewable, recyclable or recycled materials to keep lumber and plastic use to a minimum. Besides wood products, it has committed to sourcing cotton approved by the Better Cotton Initiative to ensure its bottom line, customers and the environment all experience benefits.
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