IKEA's Environmental And Social Reports

When you have over 200 stores worldwide, with nearly 80,000 staff, servicing some 500 million customers annually, with about 10,000 products, sourced from around 1,600 suppliers in 55 countries, it's likely that your ecological footprint is going to be substantial. So, what is IKEA doing to reduce theirs? They have a list of "substances which should not be used in IKEA products: These include; wood preservatives like 'copper chrome arsenic' (CCA), antimony compounds and PVC (with the exception of electrical cables). There is a similar list of "restricted substances" that includes the likes of any formaldehyde, which "shall be below E1 level in wood based products, and even stricter concerning textiles." They note that in the long term all timber used for IKEA products will come from certified forests. And they acknowledge that FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified is the "only current standard that meets the long-term aims of IKEA". In their current [2004] environment report they publish an open letter from WWF which in part states; "However, from WWF's perspective we would like to see IKEAput the FSC-label on more of their products." IKEA state that they have one code o conduct for all their suppliers, which involves "rules for working conditions, minimum wages, overtime rates, trade union representation rights, waste management, chemical management, and emissions to air and water. IKEA will not tolerate child labour, discrimination or the use of timber from intact natural forests." IKEA also financially support an UNICEF learning programs that helps school about 75,000 children in India's Uttar Pradesh region.

The company's distribution centre, in the UK, uses light wells in the roof that automatically shut off the electric lights, when the sunlight reaches a set intensity, and the carpark apparently hides Britain's largest geothermal heating and cooling plant, which services the centre offices. Read more in their environmental report, like an open letter from Greenpeace chastising them for not offering enough recycled content products, or about the watercans designed to stack inside each other, to reduce transport volume and fuel costs. They freely admit they could do more and are working on it.

However their record on cultural sensitivity seems to be less than strong as one or two commentators have observed.

::IKEA social & environmental responsibility reports.