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IKEA Set Aside $670 Million for Renewable Energy in 2011

During 2011 it seemed as though IKEA announced the completion of a new solar installation, wind turbine or EV charger every other week. Last week the retailer released its 2011 Sustainability Report detailing its global efforts, including the allocation of 470 million (approximately $670 Million US) for investments in renewable energies.

This included EUR 200 million in photovoltaic (PV) installations and EUR 270 million in wind farms. The figure covers both current equipment and installations as well as installations planned for the next year and a half.

Currently, IKEA has 69 wind turbines and 124 PV projects installed at 40 facilities in seven countries (Germany, Canada, Spain, US, Italy, UK and Belgium) and another 84 approved. IKEA says it already has purchased 27 additional wind turbines for installation in 2012.

In the US, IKEA is investing $150 million in PV systems that will cover almost 85 percent of its US rooftops. The individual systems will provide anywhere from 20 percent to 70 percent of the electricity needs of the unit upon which they are installed, and will reduce CO2 by 7,700 tons. Seventeen new installations are scheduled for completion in 2012.

These investments are moving toward IKEA’s long-term goal of using 100 percent renewable energy. More than half of the energy needed to power IKEA buildings now comes from renewable sources, according to the report.

“The sense of urgency around sustainability in IKEA has intensified and we are continuing to push ourselves to do even more. We are working hard to secure more renewable energy, protect raw materials and drive innovation to eliminate waste - choosing instead to create new, valuable resources. And we are making good progress,” said Steve Howard, Chief Sustainability Officer, IKEA Group.

Other highlights from the report include:

  • Energy efficiency across all IKEA stores improved by an additional 4%, mainly through store equipment improvements. This helped IKEA save EUR 6.2 million during FY11.
  • The share of more-sustainable cotton in the IKEA range increased significantly – up to 50,000 tons, representing 23.8 percent of total cotton use at IKEA. IKEA works with WWF and other partners to help cotton farmers in India, Pakistan, China and Turkey to introduce more sustainable cultivation methods.
  • IKEA US completed its first geothermal project with the opening of its 38th store near Denver during the summer of 2011.
  • IKEA US announced that it would install Electric Vehicle charging stations in 9 locations in the West. The installations are happening now and have already been completed in 8 of the 9 store locations.
  • In January 2011, IKEA became the first major US retailer to stop the sale of all standard incandescent light bulbs. Instead IKEA will focus on selling a comprehensive range of energy saving lamps and bulbs including CFL (compact fluorescent light bulbs), LED, Halogen and Solar options.
  • Since 1998, IKEA US, its customers and co-workers have funded the planting of nearly 2 million trees across the US through its partner, American Forests. The trees are planted to help sequester CO2 which is generated by customer and co-workers transportation to the stores.

IKEA is a founding member of both the Forest Stewardship Council and the Better Cotton Initiative, and has maintained partnerships with UNICEF, Save the Children and World Wildlife Fund for a decade or more.

Bart King is a PR consultant and principal at Cleantech Communications.

Bart King is the principal and founder of New Growth Communications, a network of affiliated content producers and strategists serving clients in the emerging green economy. Follow him @bart_king and on LinkedIn.

[Read more about Bart King]

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