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Why are IKEA country retail managers taking up chief sustainability officers’ roles?

For the Country Retail Managers at Ingka Group, a strategic partner in the IKEA franchise system, sustainability goals are at the heart of their retail operations.

Country Retail Managers are, therefore, taking on the role of “Chief Sustainability Officer” to spearhead the group’s transformation to become more affordable, accessible and sustainable in 30 countries.

Helene Von Reis, Country Retail Manager, Japan, said: “As Chief Sustainability Officer, I intend to inspire our co-workers and customers. I believe the role of our stores is to be the number one destination for everyday sustainable living needs – for recycling, healthy food and sustainable products. I am going to do whatever I can to make this happen in Japan.”

At Ingka Group, each Country Retail Manager has an important role to play in delivering results with speed and impact. Sustainability performance will now be integrated as a formal part of the individual and team goals for the country.

“I think the business potential in sustainability and circularity for IKEA is bigger than a potential. It’s actually a necessity and it is a necessity to meet our customers’ needs, both existing and new customers, going into the future,” says Lena Herder, Country Retail Manager, IKEA Retail Sweden.

Sustainability has always been important for Ingka Group and several big steps are being taken in this direction. These include the transition to zero emissions home deliveries, creating a circular IKEA by using products and materials many times in a profitable and sustainable way and integrating people facing barriers for employment into our co-worker community.

Javier Quiñones, Country Retail Manager, U.S., says: “For me to take this responsibility makes total sense – sustainability has to be at the centre of our business model. Consumers and customers are demanding it. We know that in the future if we don’t do this we will not exist. It is also connected to our values and who we are.”


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