Ikea is set to make all of its home deliveries by electric vehicles (EVs) by 2025, as part of the world’s number one furniture retailer’s aim to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) over the next eight years, the company’s CEO Jesper Brodin, said recently. He made the comments in an interview at the Reuters Impact conference, and went on to say that some cities are already ready for fully electric home deliveries, and many are working hard to build the infrastructure needed. Electrifi
ctrification of road transport is one of the key solutions to decarbonise the transport industry. Although the electrification of heavy-duty road transport is still in an early stage, it’s accelerating in many countries, together with the increasing availability of renewable energy sources. The future is now According to futurist Gihan Perera, this latest initiative by Ikea is a strong, positive pledge, especially coming from the world’s biggest furniture company and one of the world’s most recognisable brands. He feels it sends a strong message to competitors and consumers. But it’s more than just marketing spin. “More and more consumers – especially (but not only) Generation Z – care about the carbon footprint of their purchases, and will make conscious choices about suppliers with strong green credentials,” he said. These consumers also have access to apps and platforms that can measure a product’s carbon footprint along the full supply chain, so this information is increasingly available to everybody. He noted that Uber is another brand that is planning to go fully down the EV route by 2030. Uber’s Comfort Electric service, which lets customers request EVs, is expanding from operating solely in California to 25 cities throughout North America. Perera added that Ikea has introduced other sustainability initiatives, such as a product buy-back scheme and an online shop for second-hand products, and it uses materials (such as wood) from more sustainable sources. “These all contribute to the climate positive goal, though the shift to EVs will probably be more significant than these other initiatives,” he added. APAC playing catch-up According to Perera, the EU is leading the way in putting sustainability front and centre in every organisation. The Asia Pacific region is lagging behind, with the United Nations saying APAC isn’t on track to meet any of its sustainability goals by 2030. Perera pointed to the Swedish fintech startup Gokind, which uses open banking laws to analyse your bank and credit card statements to reward users for ethical and sustainable purchases, and the Dutch climate-tech company Dayrize, which has built a platform for customers to check a product’s green credentials and environmental impact, as examples of what’s possible. “But APAC is a huge and diverse region, with individual countries operating independently of each other (unlike, say, the European Union). So it’s not reasonable to treat it as a single entity,” he stated. Perera believes that some APAC countries need to focus on improving living standards right now, and don’t have the luxury to make short-term sacrifices for sustainability. “For example, China already has the world’s largest renewable power capacity – about a third of the entire global total – and it’s growing faster than anywhere else in the world,” he explained. Still, many brands throughout APAC – large and small – tout their green credentials, recognising the positive impact to their brand reputation. “A growing number of consumers – but nowhere near the majority yet – care about sustainable and ethical purchases, and will soon use technology to drive those purchases,” he said. Climate positive by 2030 Ikea’s goal is to become climate positive by 2030. As a big transport buyer with more than 2 million shipments per year, Ikea has the responsibility to reduce its emissions and also the opportunity to show the way and speed up the decarbonisation of the transport industry. At Climate Week NYC, Ikea announced, together with four globally recognised businesses (Unilever, JSW Steel, Maersk and DPD), to commit to EV100+, a new transport leadership commitment to electrify fleets. The five companies have committed to transition their fleet of vehicles over 7.5 tonnes, known as medium- and heavy-duty vehicles (MHDVs), to zero-emission by 2040 in OECD markets, China and India. EV100+ builds on the success of The Climate Group’s global EV100 initiative, launched in 2017, now celebrating its fifth anniversary. Global synergies It brings together companies committed to making electric transport the new normal. EV100 gathers over 120 businesses across the globe, with a combined fleet of over 5.5 million vehicles. In a related development, Ikea Industry, Volvo Trucks, and Raben Group have also joined forces in Poland to deploy zero-emission Volvo FM Electric trucks. The trucks will handle the internal flow of goods between two Ikea Industry factories 12 kilometres apart in Zbąszynek and Babimost in western Poland. The trucks will be charged at the Ikea Industry production facilities using renewable electricity from an external source. The first electric truck will begin operation during autumn, and the plan is to expand the fleet based on the learnings from the pilot. Investing in the future According to Reuters, Ingka Group, the owner of most Ikea stores worldwide, already produces more renewable energy than it consumes, having invested around 3 billion euros (US$2.9 billion) in wind and solar projects since 2009. It plans to reach 6.5 billion euros in investments by 2030 as part of efforts to increase the use of renewable energy across its supply chain. It owns 575 wind turbines, 20 solar parks, and 935,000 solar panels on the roofs of Ikea stores and warehouses. Brodin said companies, particularly in Europe, have had to become more agile as the energy crisis has deepened, and that was likely to speed up society’s transition to cleaner energy, but he forecast the next two years would be “challenging” for households. To help with that, Ikea plans to launch a campaign to raise awareness on how households can cut energy use – from LED lighting to solar heat pumps – and to sell low-cost energy-saving products. The big picture For transport and logistics, Ikea’s goal is to reduce the carbon footprint from all transport by an average of 70 per cent, and by 80 per cent in absolute terms from its logistics operations. Its ambitious decarbonisation agenda is all about reducing, replacing and rethinking the ways it supplies products to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The company works with a diversified portfolio of initiatives and solutions, short- and long-term simultaneously with the same sense of urgency. It’s working together with its carriers to reduce fuel consumption, increase equipment utilisation and optimise the transport network. Switching to intermodal solutions, increasing the use of more sustainable fuels, and striving for electrification of freight fleets is also another facet of their overall plan.