Anders Dalhvig, IKEA’s president and CEO, recently spoke with CNNMoney.com about the companies sustainable strategies. Dalhvig says the issue is no longer about whether green initiatives are good for business, but about how fast to move, at what cost and how customers will respond.
Dalhvig says cost is the big obstacle. In order to hold down prices, IKEA buys wood from low-cost producers in Russia, eastern Europe and Asia, but many of these countries have few certified products. Dalhvig says he is disappointed in the progress the company has made and says he expects that about 30 percent of IKEA’s wood will meet the Forest Stewardship Council’s standard in the next few years. The company is also working with the World Wildlife Fund to help timber producers in those countries achieve certification. Currently, only about 5 percent to 6 percent of the wood bought by IKEA meet the standard.
“I would not be surprised if solid wood is phased out of our furniture in the next few years,” Dahlvig said, but that’s if customers don’t resist.
IKEA says its indirect emissions equal about 27 million tons of CO2 every year, with about 3.2 million tons directly from the company. In order to cut its carbon footprint, Dalhvig says the company uses renewable energy for 45 percent of its heating needs and 20 percent of its electricity.
The company recently opened a new factory in Danville, Va., to be closer to American consumers, which also helps to reduce transportation related emissions.
In October, IKEA eliminated plastic and paper bags at its U.S. stores and now only offer reusable bags.
Earlier this year, the company announced plans to eventually sell solar panels and smart meters in its stores.