IKEA shine a light for the environment
It was announced yesterday that IKEA are giving away 9600 energy efficient lightbulbs to their UK staff to encourage them to reduce their ecological footprints. This isn’t the first big staff giveaway from the Swedish interiors giant – they gave everyone a folding bike at Christmas to encourage them to cycle to work. 90 promptly appeared on ebay, leading to some snorts of derision, but a 1% unappreciative workforce isn’t bad by anyone’s standards.
IKEA first started down the environmental track in the 1980s. Their emergence as a lead retailer in Europe led to tall poppy syndrome as they started to get criticised for formaldehyde in their chipboard products, excessive packaging and use of PVC. Having initially flirted with an “eco-range”, they decided it would be better to reduce the environmental impact of all their products. Adopting the “Natural Step“*, they started phasing out toxic materials, reducing formaldehyde and sourcing wood from certified sustainable sources. Their latest environment report is worth a glance as it is very honest about what they still have to achieve. This is obviously an effective approach as while researching this post I could only find positive comments, apart from anti-consumer/anti-globalisation groups complaining about the amount of product they sell.
* Terra Infirma doesn’t recommend The Natural Step in general. The theory is sound, but in our opinion the methodology is over-complicated and difficult to communicate.