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Ikea CO2 Rises 30% as Chain Shifts to On-Site Renewables

Ikea’s CO2 emissions from its buildings have increased relative to sales, despite the chain’s efforts to increase on-site renewable power generation.

The company’s 2010 Sustainability Report (pdf) says that C02 emissions increased by 30 percent between 2009 and 2010, from 26.4 to 34.3 kg per cubic meter of products sold – the largest annual increase in three years. The major reason, Ikea said, was that the share of its buildings’ energy coming from renewable sources decreased during the year.

“When our supply agreements for grid electricity from renewable sources expired in major markets – Germany and France – they were not replaced, as Ikea has decided not to pay premium prices for ‘green’ grid electricity,” the report said. “This is one of the reasons why Ikea invests in alternative solutions, such as solar panel systems and wind turbines.”

In the 2010 financial year, Ikea added solar panels to eight of its buildings, taking the total number of buildings with solar installations to 17. It has plans to reach about 40 buildings by the end of 2011, and eventually install solar panels on about 150 stores and distribution centers, in countries including the U.S., Canada, U.K., Spain, Germany, Czech Republic, Belgium, Italy and France.

In the U.S., Ikea is installing solar panels in California, Arizona, two east coast stores and its Southwest distribution center – its largest U.S. building.

Ikea says it has also increased its investments in wind turbines in France and Germany, with 52 turbines installed or in the process of being installed and connected to the power grid. These installations are expected to generate around 95 GWh, the equivalent of 10 percent of the total FY09 electricity consumption in Ikea buildings, the company said.

Bloomberg has reported that Ikea plans to build a wind farm that will supply electricity to all 17 of its stores in Sweden.

A store opening in fall 2011 in Centennial, Colorado will be constructed with geothermal technology. As part of this effort, Ikea has partnered with the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to study geothermal efficiency in large-scale buildings.

As well as emissions from buildings, the company counts total scope 1, scope 2 and scope 3 emissions, and estimates that these were about 30 million tons in 2010. Ikea says that 85 percent of emissions can be attributed to material extraction, customer transportation, the use of products and disposal. About 70 percent of the company’s home furnishings suppliers report actual figures for energy consumption and CO2 emissions.

Other highlights of the report:

  • The share of Ikea’s wood coming from certified sources increased from 16.2 to 23.6 percent between 2009 and 2010.
  • Ikea has increased reclamation of waste at Swedwood, an industrial supplier within the Ikea Group, from 74 percent in 2009 to 95 percent in 2010.
  • The share of more sustainable cotton in the Ikea range more than doubled compared to 2009, to 13.4 percent of total Ikea use. More than 80,000 farmers in India and Pakistan are now using more sustainable farming practices, the company said.
  • In 2010 Ikea introduced its Sustainability Product Score card, an internal tool to classify home furnishings according to 11 environmental criteria.

Clarification: The first paragraph was amended to clarify that in the past year, Ikea has been building on-site renewables – but has not increased its overall use of renewable energy.

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