IKEA owner invests $370 million in European Solar Energy

As part of a plan to make IKEA climate positive, owner Ingka Group has bought nine solar parks in Germany and Spain from developer Enerparc. The combined production capacity of the parks is 440MW. This is the equivalent of roughly 140,000 European households, and is planned to make the stores and warehouses in Germany and Spain climate positive.

Ingka Investments managing director Krister Mattsson said: “We are delighted to be announcing this important initiative to enable renewable electricity consumption in Germany and Spain, which is another step in accelerating our energy production in Europe and North America.

“With our own solar parks and wind farms, we want to make renewable energy available throughout the IKEA value chain and beyond.”

“The expected production will be sufficient to cover all IKEA stores and warehouses in the two countries, making the operations of Ingka Group climate positive.”

The construction of the parks is estimated to take six months.

Ingka has committed more than $7 billion to support 100% renewable energy across the entire supply chain of the ready-to-assemble furniture behemoth.

Criticism of IKEA

IKEA has been on the end of a lot of justified criticism. From timber sourced in Belarus, which finances Alexander Lukashenko’s dictatorship, to stores having a negative impact on the areas they build their megastores in. There is in fact an entire wikipedia page dealing with these issues if you want to read more.

IKEA environmental initiatives

IKEA seems to have taken criticism onboard, and owners Ingka Group have taken significant steps to lessen its environmental impact. Here are some of the efforts in recent years:

Energy sources

IKEA have invested significantly in renewal energy. In addition to what has been mentioned above, IKEA now own wind farms in Texas and in Finland. Several of the stores have had solar panels installed on roofs, and there is additional measures on the way to reach the goal of being completely climate positive by 2030.

Reduction in plastic

a ikea shopping bag created for Pride

In 2013, IKEA stopped selling plastic bags to customers, instead opting to sell reusable bags. All IKEA restaurants only offer reusable plates and cutlery, and they offer recycling options for bulbs and batteries they sell.

Product life cycle improvements

IKEA has moved to packing their ready-to-assemble furniture in as flat a manner as possible, ensuring that more items can be shipped in one go. Recycling and dismantling of furniture is now much easier than it used to be. A move to more sustainable forests and cotton to source their raw materials has also been completed, but there is still criticism around some of the materials used, particularly when it comes to wood. Considering IKEA is one of the largest consumers of wood, that has a significant impact on the world.

Ensuring the products are ready for the sustainable cities of the future might just be the key to IKEA’s success going forward.