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Sustainability 8 June 2020

Sustainability is the new business model: Jesper Brodin, CEO, Ingka Group

For Ingka Group, sustainability is at the heart of everything it does. Its ambition is to inspire and enable 1 billion people to live a better everyday life at home within the limits of the planet by 2030. 

While the current unprecedented Coronavirus pandemic has changed the way people live and work, the climate crisis could have a much larger impact on people’s health and economy. Just like the pandemic, the climate crisis respects no borders and impacts people, businesses and society across the world with wildfires, heatwaves, flooding, and drought. 
There is a need for ambitious global actions more urgent than ever to transition faster to a green, clean, and just recovery, aligning policies with the latest climate science.
“We stand in a decade that might be the most important in the history of mankind. The climate crisis will not wait for Coronavirus. If we look at the data and our predictions, the climate crisis that stands before us will most likely have a bigger impact on both health and the economy than the current situation. There is no way that we can look ourselves in the mirror and postpone the actions that we have committed ourselves to,” said Jesper Brodin, CEO, Ingka Group, during a LinkedIn interview, “Ask an Expert”, with Per Heggenes, CEO, IKEA Foundation.  

Ingka Group remains committed to the IKEA ambition to become climate positive and circular by 2030 and contribute to limiting the global temperature rise to 1.5°C. The Ingka Group emission reduction goals are approved by the Science Based Targets Initiative. 
The big focus area for Ingka Group is to inspire customers that there are affordable solutions for life at home which are sustainable and that there can be a value chain which is circular. 
“As a company, our biggest wish is to convince a lot of people that sustainability is not charity. Sustainability is the new business model, the new low cost. The old model of irresponsible consumption or consumption without limitations is, at the end of the day, a very expensive model. We cannot be IKEA for the many people if we follow that route,” says Brodin. 
Since 2009, Ingka Group has invested EUR 2.5 billion in wind farms and solar panels, and renewable energy generation will now exceed consumption in units (stores and shopping centers). Ingka Group is committed to consuming 100% renewable electricity across all the countries where it operates by 2025. Ingka Group owns and operates 900,000 solar modules on-site and 534 wind turbines off-site in 14 countries. Between September 2018 and August 2019, Ingka Group generated renewable energy equivalent to 93.4% of the energy used in its operations, up from 81% in FY18.
“As we are conservative financially, it makes more sense for us to invest in fairly low return renewable energy investments. So, what is a good investment for us, could be slightly less attractive for others. But the benefit for us is to have renewable energy and financial strength in our planning. It shows that the business and sustainability go perfectly well hand in hand,” says Brodin. 
Brodin has reasons to believe good business decisions and sustainability can go well hand in hand. A few years ago, IKEA made a bold move to go 100% LED from incandescent lighting. The move not only enabled millions of people to live a more sustainable life at home and save money on their energy bills, it also enabled Ingka Group to reap the benefits of a new generation of lighting. 

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