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Sustainability 6 December 2021

OPINION: Actions speak the loudest

Jesper Brodin, CEO of Ingka Group shares his views on Ingka Group’s recent participation at COP26, United Nations Climate Change Conference and some of the steps taken to keep 1.5°C alive and deliver to the Paris Agreement.

We know that the climate crisis is not a distant threat but a living reality. It impacts us all – our shared home, the planet, and our livelihood in ways we could never imagine. Taking part in COP26 in Glasgow confirms the importance of continuing to drive collective global action to keep 1.5°C alive and deliver to the Paris Agreement, by limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees – which is now explicitly the formal target for all the parties that signed the Glasgow Climate Pact.

We see positive movement having reduced the global warming trajectory from 3.7°C after COP21 in Paris in 2015 to 2.4°C after COP26 in Glasgow, considering national plans on cutting emissions by 2030 – Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). However, with this current projection it is still inadequate to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C. It’s understandable that there is uncertainty and partly mistrust in that we can stay below the 1.5°C threshold, yet I experienced a heartfelt determination and dedication from leaders across society, governments, businesses, and multilateral coalitions to accelerated commitment and their actions. 

Some of the highlights of the Glasgow Climate Pact and the official negotiations include:

  • Stepping up commitments – agreeing to further strengthen 2030 targets by COP27 as countries must share updated plans and demonstrate greater action on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Agreement to accelerate financial support for developing countries and take steps to help vulnerable countries deal with impacts of climate change.
  • Agreement, for the first time, to phase down the use of coal and phase out fossil fuel subsidies.

Furthermore, the language of Glasgow Climate Pact mirrors the urgency and deep concern from the latest IPCC report and adopts a more holistic approach to climate, now also integrating for example biodiversity. Additionally, its tone is more inclusive than previous ones, recognising the role of youth, indigenous leaders or the private sector.

Whilst this agreement isn’t as strong as we would hope for, it is still progress. It is crucial that these commitments are followed by action that benefit the many, with speed. This is the only way for governments (and in fact, all institutions and businesses) to regain trust.

Outside of the formal negotiations, it’s encouraging to see businesses and multilateral pledges to drastically cut global methane emission, halt and reverse deforestation and align investments to net-zero. In addition, we saw commitments across sectors and plans on how to decarbonise, for example in the area of transport and the launch of a new standard for companies to verify their net-zero commitments.

During COP26 I met with a number of other CEOs of companies and the level of resolve and commitment I have seen has never been higher. More companies are now setting Science-based targets, which makes me hopeful.

For IKEA it is clear – we are committed to the Paris Agreement and IKEA has a solid plan to become climate positive by 2030 through reducing more greenhouse gas emissions than the total IKEA value chain emits, while continuing to grow the business. This means that we will halve the absolute net greenhouse gas emissions from the total IKEA value chain by drastically reducing greenhouse gas emissions and removing and storing carbon from the atmosphere.

To create change we take action in three areas: healthy and sustainable living, circular and climate positive and fair and inclusive. We are on the way and are determined to reach our targets. From businesses and governments to people at home, we all have a part to play in protecting the home we all share. By sharing what we have done, are doing and will do including the challenges that we face, we want to inspire, encourage, and enable more of us to take ambitious climate action in line with science.

As global companies we have a huge responsibility, and many opportunities to enable many more people to take climate action in their everyday life and be part of the solution. There is no silver bullet – solving the climate crisis is a jigsaw puzzle and we don’t have all the pieces, but we are working hard to find them.

Together, we can assemble a net-zero world that is better for all. With green jobs and more sustainable growth and a fair and equal society. To do that, we will continue to be a bunch of stubborn optimists that want to be part of leading the system change that is needed. Both for people and the planet. Sustainability will change the world – when everyone can afford it. This is where we as IKEA have our strength, where purpose and profit intersect to create a better everyday life for the many people.

From businesses and governments to people at home, we all have a part to play in protecting our world. So, we also want to inspire, encourage and enable everyone, everywhere to take climate action in line with science. It’s why together with our partners we are asking governments and other businesses what we ask of ourselves – for not only commitments, but ambitious climate action.

  • Developed countries should finally meet their commitment of at least USD 100 billion per year by 2020 in support of climate action by developing countries.
  • Governments should increase ambition regarding greenhouse gas reduction targets in line with the 1.5°C target to halve emission by 2030 (so called Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs)) and reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 at the latest.
  • Governments should set short and long-term policies in line with 1.5°C target to finance and accelerate the transition to renewable energy, circularity, as well as sustainable transport, food systems, agriculture, and forestry. We need to remove barriers, incentivise faster change towards the new green economy and set a price on pollution.
  • Business should set science-based goals in line with the 1.5°C degree target to halve emission by 2030, achieve net zero latest 2050, and develop a clear roadmap and mechanisms on how to get there, while transparently reporting on progress. And they need show the commitment and actions to decarbonise to governments and ask them to act in line with 1.5 – both with their targets and policies.
  • Everyone of us can act in our own lives and homes, through the choices we make and action we inspire in others. Business and governments can enable, encourage and support these actions.
  • All stakeholders should increase collaboration.

The days of talking are over. I have a part to play, and so do you! Actions speak loudest.

Jesper Brodin, CEO, Ingka Group

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