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Sustainability 27 January 2021

OPINION: Targeting climate positive by 2030 and transitioning to Net Zero: A new framework for business action

Håkan Nordkvist, Innovation & Development Manager at Ingka Group shares his views on contributing to a world leading study by the University of Cambridge looking at a net zero roadmap to support businesses to take action on climate change. 

Climate change is the biggest threat that the planet faces. As a large retailer, IKEA is committed to tackling climate change and ensuring we meet the rapidly evolving needs of customers, co-workers, and the planet is a key priority. At IKEA we want to become circular and climate positive by 2030 while growing the IKEA business.

We can only reach our goals through our own transformation across the business and through collaboration with other business, governments and organisations. This is why I was pleased to take part and contribute in December to a new strategic net zero roadmap prepared by the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL). The new strategic framework is aimed at leading companies at the forefront of the net zero debate. 

It was published in the lead up to the fifth anniversary of the UNFCCC Paris Agreement, and was researched with insights from key multinational businesses including, Unilever, Danone, IKEA, Interface and Lloyds Banking Group. It was a world first in offering companies a strategic framework for how to reach net zero through radical transformation across the business, value chains and economies, actively moving the debate from pledges and commitments to the delivery of action that is essential for a stable climate. 

The importance of collaboration and sharing of experiences cannot be underestimated and the aim is that this new strategic framework will be a valuable tool for many businesses and companies. It seeks to provide practical, strategic guidance for how organisations can overcome some of the challenges that are preventing action and how they can find ways to implement a net zero strategy.

As the report states: “business action on climate change can inform innovation, mitigate risk, unlock better connections with stakeholders, and build brand and reputation. A growing number of companies are realising that setting a course to net zero can provide a powerful guiding light in turbulent times as well as delivering commercial benefits, as those leading the change are already experiencing. Yet, there is no blueprint for change.”

The report identified four tasks to empower business to target Net Zero: Align purpose, strategy & business models with net zero; Set business goals & evidence-based targets; Embed net zero practices in operations & supply chains and Collaborate & advocate. 

As Innovation and Development Manager I have seen how some of these four tasks can come together in a tangible way and inspire many people to live better lives within the limits of our planet. 

By 2025, we aim to sell home solar across all 30 Ingka Group markets enabling people to produce their own renewable energy. Our home solar business grew by 29% last year, and together our solar customers generated 60% more clean energy than the year before. 

What we started with home solar showed us that we can open new interesting ways of servicing existing and new customer segments and having a positive impact – we call it IKEA energy services. That’s why we are now looking into developing new energy services including clean energy tariffs in the coming months and years. 

As the world recovers from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, IKEA wants to be a part of shaping a new normal that’s better for people and planet. We have a unique opportunity to ‘build back better’ by resetting the system, rather than just restarting it, to tackle the climate challenge but also inequality. 

All of us have a role to play. Governments have the opportunity to lead with ambitious targets in line with 1.5 and set the policies and direct the funds to accelerate to accelerate the transition. Businesses like us, transform business models and develop plans to decarbonize and set the respective targets and we also have to take a stand for the things we care about. And as individuals we have the power to contribute with our action in both homes and in the daily lives. This is most likely the most important decade in humankind and we have an opportunity to turn a corner on climate change transitioning to net zero as well as fair and equal economies and societies. 

We need to act now wand move along the four tasks described in the report by University of Cambridge Institute. 

For further reading, access the briefing here:

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Photo Håkan Nordqvist, Innovation & Development Manager, Ingka Group

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