Friday, 31/03/2023 | 22:53 GMT+7

IKEA to invest $680m in renewable energy to be 'energy independent' by 2020


Swedish furniture giant IKEA, with its 350+ stores and 150,000 employees around the world, has been taking steps to be a better citizen of the Earth, including selling solar panels in some stores and making a big wind power investment near Chicago.

Of course, they still have much to do, such as make sure that the materials in their products are all properly sourced, that they have great labor conditions, remove toxins from their supply chain, etc, but they are certainly taking big steps in the right direction.

A big one was the recent announcement that they would invest 600 million euros (about $680m) into renewable energy over the next 5 years. The ultimate goal is for the company to be "energy independent" by 2020. I'm putting it in quote marks because that's not really true; their definition of being energy independent means that they're producing as much clean energy as they use in their buildings. Of course, we know that IKEA's operations use energy for other things than buildings, but still, they do have a lot of very large stores, warehouses, and office buildings, so it's still a big project.

Looking forward, the company clearly seems to have a preference for wind power. The Chicago investment is 98 MW of wind, and of the 600m euros announced, about 500m will go to more wind power and 100m will go to solar.

But that's nothing against solar. The company has already installed about 700,000 solar panels on its buildings worldwide. Maybe they're just running out of roof space and so they're moving on to wind? In any case, past investments have helped the company be 70% "energy independent" (according to their definition), so the new investments will just help close the deal (and keep going, as they expand and add new stores).

IKEA has already committed to own and operate 314 offsite wind turbines.

"Climate change is one of the world's biggest challenges and we need bold commitments and action to find a solution. That's why we are going all in to transform our business, to ensure that it is fit for the future and we can have a positive impact," IKEA Group chief executive Peter Agnefjall said in a statement.

Mai Linh 

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