Membership status: Strategic Partner
IKEA is a global home furnishing brand with a unique business model and integrated value chain. It includes product development, design, supply, manufacture, and sales of ready-to-assemble furniture, home accessories, food, and other products.
Founded in 1943 as a small mail-order catalogue in Älmhult, Sweden, where its design headquarters are still located, the IKEA business is operated through a franchise system with 545 retail locations worldwide and employs 225,000 people. In the 2021 financial year, its retail sales were €41.9 bn.
Through the Inter IKEA Group, IKEA joined the Foundation as a Strategic Partner in June 2020. Key areas of work include developing a Circular Economy Glossary, to establish a common language and definitions of circular economy terms that can be used and understood by all, working with policymakers to accelerate the transition, and developing new services that allow customers to acquire, care for, and pass on products in circular ways. IKEA also focuses on circular design, advocating for new approaches and inspiring a new generation of designers – working with the Foundation’s Circular Design Leaders group and as part of the Circular Design Now campaign.
The circular economy is one of three focus areas in IKEA’s sustainability strategy — People and Planet Positive. Its 2018 sustainability commitments include becoming a circular business and climate positive by 2030.
To become circular is one of our big ambitions and challenges for the future. It is a transformational shift for our entire business. Our goal is to give products and materials a longer life through reuse, refurbishment, remanufacturing, and, as the last option, recycling. We believe this requires leadership and collaboration.
Lena Pripp-Kovac, Chief Sustainability Officer, Inter IKEA Group.
We are delighted to partner with IKEA, who share our belief that through the circular economy, businesses can play a vital role in meeting many of the challenges we face today, such as climate change, waste and pollution. The circular economy empowers businesses to rethink how they create value, in ways that benefit the environment, society, and the economy. This is an exciting opportunity to help transform an industry that is not only a significant part of the global economy, but has such a strong, personal connection to individuals and communities around the world.
Andrew Morlet, CEO at the Ellen MacArthur Foundation
The circular economy in action at IKEA — Redesigning the future of home furnishings
Since 2018, IKEA has committed to transforming its entire value chain — from developing circular customer service offers and fully circular products, responsibly sourcing and using only renewable or recycled materials, and developing the complete IKEA value chain to supporting a systemic shift towards a circular economy.
IKEA’s goal is to give products and materials a longer life through the four circular loops — reuse, refurbishment, remanufacturing, and, as a last option, recycling. Examples of steps IKEA is taking to become a circular business include:
Furniture refurbishment tests in 2019, where sofas were refurbished and resold, providing knowledge for future scaling potential. IKEA opened its first second-hand pop-up store in Sweden in collaboration with ReTuna, the world's first ‘recycling mall’.
Auditing more than 9,500 products for circularity based on its circular product design principles — ‘designing for assembly, disassembly, and reassembly,’ to maximise product use throughout its lifecycle. The audit has helped to establish a baseline against which to measure progress towards its circular ambitions, and the audit is now publicly available for use by all organisations.
Exploring services enabling customers to acquire, care for and pass on products in circular ways — including resale and offering furniture-as-a-service through rental options. The company supports customers to prolong the life of their products by providing spare parts. In the 2021 financial year, customers were offered more than 18 million spare parts.
IKEA is also considering its material flows, in line with its aim to only use renewable and recycled materials by 2030. Today, 55.8% of the materials sourced by IKEA are renewable, like wood and cotton, and 17.3% are recycled.