It’s no secret that Sweden is considered one of the world leaders in green energy. The Scandinavian country has been so efficient at implementing green energy technologies that, in 2012, they became the first country in Europe to meet the EU’s 2020 renewable energy standards. And now, one of the country’s largest businesses is joining the party. IKEA recently pledged to put 1 billion euros towards renewable energy and sustainable living. According to the company’s June 4th press release, they will invest 600 million euros in renewable energy and give 400 million euros to help support communities that are most affected by climate change. This is an enormous investment in sustainability, but it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Since 2009, the furniture retailer has invested 1.5 billion euros in wind and solar energy.
While the debate over climate change has not been settled in America, IKEA CEO Peter Agnefjall doesn’t like to mince words about his, or his company’s, stance on the matter:
“Climate change is one of the world’s biggest challenges and we need bold commitments and action to find a solution. That’s why we are going all in to transform our business, to ensure that it is fit for the future and we can have a positive impact. This includes going 100% for renewable energy, by investing in wind and solar, and converting all our lighting products to affordable LED bulbs, helping many millions of households to live a more sustainable life at home.”
Additionally, Agnefjall recently told Reuters that IKEA’s massive investment will not affect the cheap prices the company’s customers love. Said Agnefjall, “…good for customers, good for the climate and good for IKEA too.”
Just how impressive is IKEA’s pledge? Consider this, the more than 1 billion dollar investment means that IKEA is investing as much money in sustainable energy as Australia, and almost double that of Japan. According to a spokeswoman for the European Climate Foundation, the move far outpaces the investments of Sweden, Europe’s poster child for sustainable living.
“By way of comparison: Sweden’s annual budget is 240 billion euros, its pledge for the initial capitalisation of the Green Climate Fund was 511 million euros. IKEA has an annual turnover of approximately 28 billion euros.”
That means IKEA is investing over 3% more of their yearly income in sustainable living than Europe’s leader in renewable energy. I’m feeling pretty good about sitting on an IKEA couch right now.
It’s time for more businesses to follow the example of IKEA. Investing in sustainable energy is a necessary step to increasing the widespread prosperity for years to come.
Remember, it doesn’t take a lot of money to transition to a more sustainable lifestyle. Investing in renewable energy isn’t just for the wealthy, anyone can make simple changes towards a more sustainable life. In the words of IKEA, “you don’t have to be rich, just smart”.