Sustainable furniture and IKEA
Forests around the globe are harmed to satisfy our infinite needs, for instance, furniture, building materials, etc. Increased demand for furniture and wood products has led to deforestation worldwide and by one estimate, it leads to emissions equivalent to 15% of global greenhouse gas. Activities such as illegal and unsustainable logging and converting land for agricultural purposes also releases greenhouse gases. In addition to this, it also impacts the biodiversity of an area, depriving them of their basic needs, i.e., home, shelter and food. The UN FAO estimates that 10 million hectares of forest were cut down each year from 2015-2020.
Today, we look at arguably one of the biggest users of lumber in the world - IKEA and a sustainable furniture startup called ‘Floyd’.
What to expect today:
Sustainability at IKEA
Home furnishing giant IKEA has set an audacious goal to become climate positive by 2030 by reducing more greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions than the IKEA value chain currently emits. This is in line with the Paris agreement of limiting the global temperature increase to 1.5°C by the end of the century.
IKEA’s strategic goals
IKEA’s strategic goals to reduce the climate footprint include:
Drastically reducing GHG emissions across the IKEA value chain, in absolute terms
Removing and storing carbon from the atmosphere through forestry, agriculture and products within the value chain
Going beyond IKEA by taking an extended responsibility for the climate footprint of their customers, suppliers and sourcing areas (essentially scope 3 emissions)
IKEA’s current carbon footprint
In 2021, the total IKEA climate footprint decreased by 1.6 million tonnes of CO2 eq to 26.2 million tonnes in absolute terms as compared to the baseline of 27.8 million tonnes in 2016, a reduction of 5.8%, while IKEA sales reached new highs (+15% compared to 2016 baseline). In 2020, the climate footprint decreased by 10.8% to 24.7 million tonnes, probably due to the COVID-19 pandemic, however, in 2021, IKEA’s climate footprint increased as retail sales began to recover from the pandemic.
The largest portion of the IKEA climate footprint comes from:
raw material extraction and processing, that increased by 13% in 2021 as compared to the baseline in 2016
IKEA product use in customers’ homes, that decreased by 30.6% in 2021 as compared to the baseline in 2016
production of items, that increased by 29.6% in 2021 as compared to the baseline in 2016
Reducing the climate footprint of materials is a long-term development agenda for the company. Climate roadmaps are integrated into every IKEA material direction. These roadmaps have so far helped them to identify actions that will enable them to reach at least half of the needed footprint reduction by 2030.
What are some of the key activities IKEA is undertaking to reduce emission?
In 2021, IKEA has:
achieved 100% renewable electricity in IKEA operations in 10 additional markets and for all IKEA factories and packaging and distribution units worldwide
accelerated IKEA suppliers’ transition to 100% renewable electricity
increased the share of recycled polyester in their supply chain
invested to generate more energy from wood waste
and of course, offering more plant-based food choices aka “plant balls”
Source:IKEA Sustainability Report
Sustainable furniture is something that is made from eco-friendly or recycled materials using renewable sources of energy. The production methods also include environment safe practices that don’t emit any greenhouse gases and harm any communities. In addition, eco-friendly transportation methods are considered while transporting raw materials or sustainable furniture.
How do we know if something is sustainable?
In the US, this task is done by FSC, an organization that is tasked with ensuring that products come from forests that are responsibly managed and provide environmental, social and economic benefits. The FSC principles and criteria provide a foundation for all forest management standards around the globe.
Floyd raises $15 million funding
Floyd, based in Detroit, US, recently raised a $15 million Series B round, bringing its total funding to $25 million. With this new funding, they plan to invest in site design, back-end infrastructure, customer support, fulfillment and manufacturing network and most importantly, double down on their commitment to sustainability.
The company’s 2025 Sustainability Goals include:
Floyd’s Full Cycle program, by which customers can buy defective furniture at discounted prices, creating a circular market for their products and ensuring that less furniture waste reaches landfills
Ensuring 70% of material comes from either recycled or renewable sources.
Minimizing packing materials and eliminating single use plastics
Using 100% FSC certified wood in all of its products
Measuring, disclosing, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions across the supply chain
Check them out here.
Recommendations from the team
Bloomberg Quicktake: Originals - How IKEA Is Assembling an Eco-Friendly Image (8 min video)
World Wildlife Fund - Why the FSC label matters for forests, people, and wildlife (2 min video)