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Sustainability is an integral part of our business: IKEA

In an exclusive conversation, Susanne Pulverer, Store Manager (New Delhi) and India sustainability lead at IKEA reveals more.

Tags: IKEA, furniture, sustainability, go green

BY Sharmila Das  |  June 05, 2018  |  comments ( 0 )  | 

Susanne Pulverer

IKEA, the world's largest furniture retailer ensures that every individual feels good at home in India with its sustainable product range. The retailer is equally thrilled to be in the country serving its people need. In an interview, Susanne Pulverer, Store Manager(New Delhi) and India sustainability lead at IKEA India tells more about the company's strategy and objective for the country. 

What kind of Go Green initiatives IKEA has taken recently?

 We have sustainability in the core of our business, values, and vision “To create a better everyday life for the many people”. We work with sustainability as an integrated part of our business and the daily work. In India, IKEA will strive towards having a positive impact in all we do, be it with supply chain, retail operations or with the range offer which can support a more sustainable life at home. We have also started initiatives to become more energy efficient, waste management (last year 91% of our global waste was recycled and energy recovered) and recycling, community projects and more.

 When it comes to sourcing in India, one of IKEA’s priorities is to find ways to source locally available sustainable raw materials such as bamboo, jute, banana fibers etc.

In our product range, we use a lot of wood as it is a sustainable and renewable material. We have partnered with WWF and secure the wood in our products is sourced from forests that are managed sustainably. IKEA is one of the founding members of the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) which is supporting cotton farmers to use less water, pesticides, and fertilizers when cultivating their cotton.

To our customers, we have range solutions that can help with waste segregation and recycling at home. As light sources, we only sell LED bulbs which helps to save energy. In our food range, when we open our Hyderabad store in mid-year, we will offer jams, spreads and carbonated beverages with lower sugar content, our dishes are not deep fried and have less fat. We will not offer any red meat, but more vegetarian options. We will make sure there is as little food waste as possible in the restaurant. When there is food waste we compost it and we have a programme together with farmers who are growing food organically which is called ‘Closing the food loop’.

How would these help IKEA? Or what objectives the firm is looking at to achieve through these?

As mentioned, sustainability is an integral part of our business and we believe it is just the right thing to do if you are a responsible business. We also hope our consumers and customers will appreciate our commitment and work in this area.

When you think about India, what are the top 5 challenges and 5 opportunities you see in the country?

There are many challenges as there are environmental challenges. Some of the top priorities are climate change, circularity with waste management and recycling, air pollution and water scarcity. All of these needs to urgently be addressed by government, organisations and the public.

Who are your target audience in India?

 We are for more of the many people. We believe everyone deserves a better life at home as to a better life. IKEA stores offer everything for the home displayed in inspiring room settings. The IKEA range comprises some 9,500 home furnishing products. Materials and products are subject to extensive testing, and we work proactively to stay ahead of health and safety standards and regulations. We want customers to confidently and freely choose among all our products, knowing that IKEA is committed to sustainable practices and that they do not have to choose between sustainability, style, function or price.

 IKEA is active in the communities where we do business. We participate in a wide range of activities globally, nationally and locally. Through partnerships with carefully selected organisations, we support projects that are designed to match the needs of the communities in which they take place.

Last year, IKEA Foundation which is the philanthropic arm of IKEA launched a retail training programme for women in Telangana called Project DISHA with the long-term aim of training around a million women for various sectors. From that programme, the company has hired around 80 women for different positions in its Hyderabad store, which has been a great way to promote gender diversity.

How does the firm want to serve India?

First and foremost, we are here to enable the many people to live a brighter and better life at home. And if your life at home is better, your overall life will also be better. We offer products that are developed with sustainability as an integrated feature and we also offer solutions that will also support customers to live a more sustainably at home.

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