It’s starting to feel like Ikea announces yet another relatively simple, ingenious idea to further its commitment to green infrastructure and environmental sustainability virtually every other week. Most recently, the Swedish company began promoting its “Repurposeful” series of upcycling guides for products, a move that came on the heels of announcing a line of life-extending disassembly instructions that will eventually include all of its products within the next few years. Then there was its pledge to cease selling non-rechargeable batteries, discontinuing its print catalog of 70 years, opening a secondhand store, and just going ahead and buying a swath of forest to save it from destruction.
Now, Ikea is literally selling clean energy to its patrons. According to Reuters, beginning in September the retailer will roll out a subscription service providing Swedish residents with renewable solar and wind energy, as well as the ability to track consumers’ usage via a new app. As Reuters explains, “Svea Solar, which produces solar panels for IKEA, will buy the electricity on the Nordic power exchange Nord Pool and resell it without surcharge. Households will pay a fixed monthly fee plus a variable rate.”
Ikea currently offers solar panels for 11 of its markets, although Jonas Carlehed, head of sustainability at IKEA Sweden, says the company hopes to eventually expand the program into all markets. Those who opt-in to the service will pay a fixed monthly fee atop variable rates, but also have the option of selling back surplus energy. We would like this to hit stateside as soon as possible, Ikea, if you could be so kind.
‘Climate positive’ by 2030 — Ikea’s latest Very Good Thing is part of the company’s overall plan to become a “climate positive” retailer by the end of the decade, meaning that the entire “value chain” of production, sales, and reuse actually actively reduces greenhouse emissions as opposed to simply breaking even or not producing any carbon footprint. Which, y’know, would objectively rule, and hopefully encourage more companies to seek the same goals. Speaking with Reuters, Carlehed explained that the new clean energy program “will contribute indirectly (to the target). The link is that our customers' use of our products account for around 20 percent of IKEA's total climate footprint — from appliances, lighting, and electronics such as speakers and so on."