With climate change the main threat to humanity, “greenwashing is less dangerous than silence,” says Jesper Brodin, chief executive officer of Swedish home-furnishings giant Ikea and Ingka Holding.
“I’m of the strong opinion that greenwashing is less dangerous than silence,” Brodin said. “We need to bring hope to people, we need to be accountable for actions we take and we need to tell people what we’ve done.”
Ikea’s own research in 30 markets shows that 70% of customers are “deeply concerned” about climate change but only 3% are prepared to pay for for environmentally friendly products, Brodin said in an interview with Maria Tadeo on Bloomberg TV.
Known for its affordable products and minimalist designs, Ikea is seen by many as the furniture equivalent of fast fashion. In order to combat that image, the company is ensuring that everything sold is “climate-positive” by 2030, Brodin said.
The retailer is investing in renewable energy and designing products that cut back on consumption. It’s also rolling out a sustainable living shop, where it will sell products that help customers live more sustainably by minimizing waste, saving water and charging batteries.
“Today we produce more renewable energy than the energy we consume,” Juvencio Maeztu, Ikea’s deputy CEO and CFO, said in a separate interview with Bloomberg Green at COP 26 on Tuesday. “We know and have a clear view what is the total footprint from the raw materials to the end of life. We know and we are tracking everything.”
Ikea has also been piloting “buyback and resell service” programs in the U.S. and U.K. The initiative, which the retailer hopes to roll out more broadly, allows customers to sell back “gently used” furniture in exchange for store credit.
“Nobody can do everything, but if all of us do something we can have a big impact together,” Brodin said.