IKEA in New York to tackle climate change

One week per year businesses, governments and organisations gather in New York in one of the key international events to drive action to limit climate change. IKEA is attending Climate Week NYC and we asked Andreas Ahrens how IKEA can tackle climate change in the business and in the many people’s daily lives.

Andreas Ahrens, head of climate at Inter IKEA, is attending Climate Week NYC together with INGKA, the largest IKEA franchisee, to share the IKEA climate commitment to become climate positive by 2030. During the week they will share ideas on how to address key issues and opportunities to solve them, together. We asked Andreas how IKEA can tackle climate change in the business and in people’s daily lives.

Why is IKEA invited to Climate Week in New York, Andreas?

“IKEA is a long-term partner of the non-profit organisation The Climate Group, and is also one of the sponsors of Climate Week NYC. At a time when it is not yet clear if we will manage to limit global temperature increase to less than 2°C, it is of outmost importance that we provide leadership, inspiration and solutions to make this massive change happen – within IKEA and globally.”

Andreas Ahrens, head of climate at Inter IKEA, present in New York.
Andreas Ahrens, head of climate at Inter IKEA, present in New York.

One of the things you are going to talk about is how IKEA enables many people to take climate actions at home. Can you give us an example?

 “One classic example is the LED light bulb. LED is already more 85 percent more energy efficient than other alternatives, and we are now improving this even further. Another is to promote sustainable consumption by enabling our customers to care, repair, refurbish and recycle all of our products by 2030, thus prolonging the life of the materials and the products we love and reduce the overall climate footprint of IKEA, where raw materials is by far the largest at 40 percent.”

With LED light bulbs you can save a lot of energy in your home.
With LED light bulbs you can save a lot of energy in your home.
Giving your old products a new life is a perfect way to save the environment.
Giving your old products a new life is a perfect way to save the environment.

IKEA asked 14,000 people across 14 countries about their climate attitudes and actions. What did you learn from them?

”To little surprise, people are worried about climate change, but people find it is too big, serious, complex and distant. We also know that people want to take action, and the more people know about climate change, the more likely they are to do this. IKEA as a home furnishing brand must therefore develop affordable solutions that help people reduce their climate impact and provide knowledge and simple steps on how to tackle climate change in their daily lives,” says Andreas.

How can IKEA benefit from Climate Week?

“The main challenge with climate is that we can’t do it alone. A lot more action is also needed globally to reach the 2°C target. As many key stakeholders are here, it provides a good platform for leadership, exchange solutions and identify new joint initiatives and work together to solve this massive challenge.”

Next week you are going to attend Bloomberg Future Energy Summit in London?

“Yes, and we are really an odd ball at this summit. All other members are banks, investment firms and energy companies doing renewable energy investments. And then you have us as a retail company.”

What climate actions do you take in your daily life? You did not ride your bike to New York, right?

“No, I did not. I flew. As flying is one of the major impacts as a private person, I try to reduce my flights as much as possible. Travelling here to show leadership, inspire to action and identify new solutions therefore enables me and IKEA to address a climate footprint which is way larger than anything we do in our private life.”

Climate Week is arranged by the non-profit organization The Climate Group, United Nations and the city of New York. The Climate Group, which IKEA is a partner of, focuses on acceleration action to limit climate change, by bringing together a network of business and governments, and act as a catalyst to take innovation and solutions to scale.

Andreas Ahrens leads the climate agenda for the entire IKEA value chain and the shared strategic initiative across total IKEA to become climate positive by 2030 by reducing more greenhouse gas emission than the IKEA value chain emits.