Ikea is putting circular practices and prolonging the life of products at the centre of a new consumer campaign.
Running from now and throughout May, the “Keep good things going” drive will highlight Ikea’s buy back scheme, which gives customers the chance to sell back used and no-longer-wanted Ikea goods to the retailer, and other initiatives aimed at reducing the business’s impact on the environment.
Several countries will also hold ‘Flea Market’ events outside stores to promote prolonging the life of products as good practice.
Ikea stores provide ‘As-Is’ areas, which allow its customers to pick up products at a lower price and get their hands on second-hand items. The retailer also makes a point of sharing information about maintaining, cleaning or personalising Ikea products across its estate.
In its latest sustainability report, Ikea retail operator Ingka Group reported 32.5 million products were sold in its As-Is areas during the last financial year, with 1.8 million customers using its assembly parts service to repair and extend the life of Ikea products. The As-Is concept has now been launched online at 219 Ikea stores in 21 countries too, representing an extension to the original concept.
Karen Pflug, chief sustainability officer at Ingka Group, which runs Ikea in 31 countries, said: “For several years, we have offered services such as buying back products that are no longer needed, tidying up and reselling pieces returned to us, and providing assembly parts, so that your furniture can last longer.
“These services are all about making it easier and more convenient to make Ikea products last longer. This campaign is an opportunity for us to continue to inspire and raise awareness of these services, which we offer all year round, and to keep good things going.”
She added: “We want to reach new customers who may not be aware of these services, and maybe they start thinking in a more circular way when it comes to their old piece of Ikea furniture.”
In an interview with Green Retail World last week, the sustainability boss of organic food delivery service Abel & Cole warned that the concept of clamping down on overconsumption – to reduce environmental impact – is the “elephant in the room” for retailers.
Stefanie Sahmel, who is also a B Corp ambassador, said: “Historically, increases in sales go hand in hand with increases in material extraction.
“[A key question we face is] how can we influence to cut back on consumerism? But no business wants to hear that.”
As ever, policymaker support will be needed to move the needle towards a more circular economy. Ikea itself said it is proactively engaging with them around the world and advocating for removing policy barriers to enable a more circular economy.
Specifically, the retailer says it supports the European Union Circular Economy Action Plan and it hopes that by offering more circular products and services it will positively contribute to the ambitious European agenda.
Ikea says it wants policymakers to set internationally harmonised common definitions and metrics for circularity aspects, and it has called for incentives for prolonging life of products and materials life.
It also said it would like to see a single market for secondary raw materials by removing administrative barriers when shipping waste to recycling facilities within the European Union, as well as investments in better waste treatment infrastructure and capacity building to meet the growing demand for recycled content.
[Image credit: Green Retail World]