Household Executive Strategy Director and Co-Founder Michelle Du-Prât met with global sustainability leaders at IKEA’s summit to define a sustainable future for home and planet.
The invitation: To come and co-create a sustainable future for IKEA retail and for the one planet we all share.
This was an invitation not to refuse. And neither did the circa 150 other people who came from all over the world – Afghanistan, India, Namibia, The United States, The Netherlands, Sweden, UK, Germany – for the two-day event held at IKEA Kaarst, Germany.
Many extraordinary companies, innovating in plastic tech, data and tools to develop circular economies around waste, attended the summit– from Banyan Nation to The Waste Transformers.
All were fired up by the opportunity to learn from each other and do something tangible to reverse the climate change catastrophe awaiting the planet in just 10 years’ time. A figure repeatedly quoted by every expert around the globe.
The big messages from Ingka Group Chiefs Pia Heidenmark Cook, CSO and Jesper Brodin, CEO, as well as Christiana Figueres, the UN authority on Climate Change, were simple, consistent, anti-naval gazing and urgent:
“The planet creates 40 gigatons of CO2 emissions a year – it can cope with 5”
“We are in a planetary emergency”
“Mental inertia is stopping change – the list of solutions is endless”
“Let’s not keep going back and asking more questions – We know enough”
“Move from being a thought leader to a leader”
“Get more people involved”
“Make action faster”
“3 ways to make change – Systemic; Corporation; Individual behaviour”
“Find the solutions to be people and planet positive by 2030”
“Inspire 1 billion people to live within the means of the planet by 2030”
Powerful talks and calls to action inspired co-creation sessions with the aim of actioning selected ideas ASAP.
Ikea is in a unique position to make positive change. With an astonishing 835 million unique visits to store each year with a total customer base of 2.3 billion. The reach is big, and the ambition is big.
The starting point for Ikea is ‘how the many people live’. Ikea’s research cites ’90 per cent want to change behaviour to do more for the planet, but only 3 per cent can name practical things they would do’. Starting with people and tapping into motivation sits right at the heart.
Sitra, the Finnish Innovation Fund, has a sustainability calculator where 600,000 Finns have taken a lifestyle test. The data, which shows what people can and want to change, revealed that Finns are happy to cut their carbon footprint by 20%.
IKEA’s own ‘Live Lagom’ movement (just enough is right) is a growing community connected through the philosophy that ‘small changes you make can have a big impact. ‘Live Lagom’ influencer Nureen Glaves, created ‘Feed me Good’ back in 2014 to ‘support and empower communities to have a better quality of life through a variety of health and well-being projects across the UK’. She is an inspiring social entrepreneur working effectively within communities to show, engage and change behaviours through food and good times.
Food was a reoccurring and important theme across the two days. We ate plant-based meals cooked by IKEA chefs from the on-site Urban Salad Farm and tasted new recipes to be launched in IKEA stores, and with possible supermarket partners. Again, we were invited to re-evaluate our choices in a different way. Through tasting, talking, and discovering what our choices mean for the planet.
This was two days that super-powered my mindset, joined up my understanding and gave me all I need to change my own lifestyle and also contribute to the bigger picture. Retail is the hub where change can start and grow. A voice beyond store is the opportunity to connect into the wider sustainability eco-system.
Watch this space to see what IKEA will do next. A billion thanks to Kate Poulsson Johnson for inviting Household.
Get in touch with Michelle, Executive Strategy Director & Co-Founder: [email protected]