IKEA: ”We need to share as many solutions as we can”
In a gathering of major industry executives at the Exponential Climate Action Summit, Inter IKEA Group’s head of climate, Andreas Ahrens, defined why they were all there: “We all need to work together, and we shouldn’t take pride in the secret of our solutions; we should really share them. This is not for us as a company, but this is for society as a total, so we need to actually enable and share as much as we can — with of course respect to competition, but we’re not doing this to gain competitive advantage. We’re doing this for people and planet.”
Across sectors, modern industry is changing — and to avoid catastrophic global climate change, it must change.
In this autumn’s Exponential Climate Action Summit, We Don’t Have Time gathered key industry leaders to openly discuss what their businesses are doing to solve this crisis. Keep reading for highlights of the discussion, or watch the full panel below.
Andreas Ahrens, head of climate at Inter IKEA Group, described that if IKEA did not take any climate action from this point forward and continued with its past business model instead, by 2030 the company would release almost three times as many emissions as it does today.
Instead, he described, “by 2030 our ambition is to become climate positive by reducing more greenhouse gas emissions than the IKEA value chain emits, while growing the IKEA business.”
This means focusing intently on using renewable energy in production, transport, and all parts of their business; transforming into a more sustainable production and consumption model; and reducing carbon emissions throughout their value chain — an initiative that will trigger important climate actions in other industries, including forestry and agriculture.
Asked if IKEA customers care enough for the company to achieve their climate goals, Ahrens responded, “Most of our customers do care about sustainability and want to make sustainable choices, but many find it’s too expensive or they don’t know how to do it. So that is why it’s so important for us as a company to inspire people to make the right choice but also that is affordable.”
“We want to inspire one billion people to live a healthy and sustainable life within the limits of the planet by 2030,” said Ahrens. He clarified that IKEA’s plan is to do this without carbon offsets — as one potential example, by offering solar panels to customers.
Renewable energy has been BT’s first point of action to hit this target. “We’re already at 100 percent renewable in the UK, and we’ll be 100 percent worldwide by December this year,” said Artley.
Decarbonizing the BT fleet is their second major initiative. “We actually have the second-largest fleet in the UK with over 32,000 vehicles,” said Artley, “and we need to change those to ultra-low emissions vehicles.”
Their supply chain is a third vital transformation effort for reaching the net-zero target. Artley described that BT — along with Ericsson, Telia, and IKEA — is a founder of the 1.5° Supply Chain Leaders Initiative.
Sharing her vision for this, she said, “In this global pandemic moment, the opportunity is there for a truly green recovery if governments, business, and society work together to not just learn but to change to our next normal, because only through collective action can we reach net zero.”
Representing Intel Corporation was Director of Global Public Affairs and Sustainability Todd Brady.
“We’ve been able to de-couple our manufacturing growth with our carbon footprint — that is, reduce our carbon footprint while continuing to grow our manufacturing capabilities,” said Brady. He defined three ways Intel is achieving that.
The first, Brady said, is to “reduce the emissions from our manufacturing operations themselves. That has been through chemical substitution and employing abatement technologies.”
Using renewable energy is Intel’s second focal point. “One hundred percent of our energy in USA comes from renewable sources,” Brady described, “and we plan, as you heard from the introduction, to grow that over the next decade worldwide to achieve 100 percent.”
“Investing heavily in energy conservation” is the third piece of the puzzle, he defined. “We do that year over year in our manufacturing operations, setting aside money to invest to reduce the energy we need to use and therefore reducing our carbon emissions.”
Edda Aradóttir, CEO of CarbFix, presented her company’s unique solution that turns C02 emissions into stone within two years — an accelerated version of nature’s own process. This technology is being scaled globally, she described, through CarbFix’s licensing of the technology and guiding companies on how to utilize it.
Andreas Ahrens challenged Aradóttir on how to ensure that carbon storage is used only as needed, “And doesn’t become a new normal, because everything needs transition into renewable energy, right?”
“Absolutely,” responded Aradóttir, “I fully agree.”
She explained, “We are mainly focusing on industries…where we have C02 emissions being an integral part of the ongoing production. This is, for example, the metals production, it applies to cement, steel to an extent. So these are really the factors — the industries — where we are mainly focusing on. And as you already mentioned in your talk, for the steel industry, for example, we are very much aware that there is ongoing innovation, but we do not necessarily foresee installment of plants with this new type of technology until significantly into the future. And as we all know, we don’t have time to wait, so in the meantime we can retrofit the existing steel plants with technology like ours.”
Written by LISA M. BAILEY
The Exponential Roadmap highlights the 36 solutions that can scale exponentially to halve greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 worldwide. Scaling of solutions comes from sharp policy, from climate leadership by companies and cities, and from a finance and technology shift toward green solutions with exponential potential.
The roadmap shows how we can build a stronger, more resilient, and future-proof global economy and increase human prosperity and health — within the planetary boundaries.
More info: https://exponentialroadmap.org/