IKEA: Is It Green?

Like many people, I have a love-hate relationship with IKEA. They made modern design affordable and popular, while at the same time making it almost impossible for local designers and short-run production to compete. They have taken many green initiatives, but still are a suburban big box vendor with much of their production outsourced. Their quality is dramatically improved in recent years, and you no longer drive all the way out there to find truth in the old joke that IKEA is swedish for "Sorry, Out of Stock." But can you call it green?

Inhabitat took a close look and the results, like a LJUSÅS YSBY fixture, are illuminating.

According to Adrianne Jeffries at Inhabitat,

IKEA is pursuing sustainability in a big way. They stopped using plastic bags. They are investing $77 million in clean technology startups like solar. Today, 71% of all IKEA products are recyclable, made from recycled materials, or both. The company recycles 84% of the waste generated in its stores. When a country introduces stricter emissions rules, like when Japan decided to restrict formaldehyde emissions to levels close to zero, IKEA imposes the new restrictions on its global operations. As a result, Ikea’s policy reflects the strictest emissions policies in countries across the world, even though it sometimes drives costs higher.

Inhabitat looks at IKEA initiatives on products and materials, suppliers, and climate change and comes away impressed. Read more at Inhabitat.

I remain conflicted. They have done great things, but they have done to furniture and home furnishings what Wal-Mart has done to everything else- taken over the market, at the expense of Main Street and the local design and production industries. Everything has its price.

TreeHugger on IKEA:
IKEA Puts $U.S. 75 Million Toward Cheap Solar
IKEA Bans Plastic Bags For Good
IKEA Lighting The Way To Warmer LED Lamps
IKEA Gives Out 60,000 Free CFLs

Tags: Carbon Footprint | Designers | Sweden