Burlington, ON, June 16, 2008 – Innovative, inexpensive and fashionable are words often used in regards to Canada’s leading furniture retailer, IKEA, but they could easily be replaced with pioneering, efficient and responsible. Today IKEA has launched a website (www.theikeaway.ca) to clearly articulate “The IKEA Way” which in essence, describes the company’s ongoing commitment to responsibility for people and the environment.
“The IKEA Way is applied to every facet of our business to make us better retailers, better merchants and better corporate citizens,” says Kerri Molinaro, President of IKEA Canada. “It is more than trying to be ‘green’, it is about constantly striving to have a positive impact on people and the environment – with measurable goals.”
The IKEA Way is not a new approach for the retailer; IKEA has been committed to people and the environment for several decades. The IKEA Way expression and website are simply a concise expression of the fundamental way the company does business. Whether it is flat-packing products to reduce packaging and reduce transportation emissions, working with Global Charitable partners like UNICEF, Save the Children and WWF, using socially and environmentally responsible materials in its products or having a store format that draws on a larger trade area (instead of more stores), the company has practiced responsible retailing for decades.
In October 2007, IKEA Canada conducted a customer survey that received more than 60,000 responses which concluded that plastic bags were an environmental issue that needed action. Shortly thereafter, the retailer began charging for its plastic bags, donating the full $0.05 to Tree Canada. IKEA customers responded rapidly to the challenge – with a reduction in plastic bag use of 90% nationally in 6 months.
To continue to collect this kind of valuable customer insight, IKEA has decided to develop a series of ongoing surveys through http://www.theikeaway.ca to measure attitude and opinions of consumers about barriers and drivers regarding social and environmental (S&E) Products, how S&E impacts their decision making process, local and ethical sourcing, impact of operational efforts by corporations and their concerns about “green washing”. The results will be published on theIKEAway.ca and will be shared with customers and the retail industry alike.
“We know that our customers are engaged and passionate about the environment and social responsibility. The consumer wants information about businesses that allow them to make informed, conscious decisions when purchasing,” stated Molinaro. “theIKEAway.ca gives our customers the information they want, positive actions they can take and a stronger and direct voice to let us know how we’re doing.”
In another step, IKEA will only sell and serve certified coffee at all its stores and offices globally starting in May. To ensure that all coffee sold and served at IKEA is produced under socially and environmentally responsible conditions, IKEA has decided to strictly use UTZ Certified coffee. UTZ Certified is an independent not-for-profit organization that sets a standard for responsible coffee growing and sourcing. This recognized and trustworthy certification traces all coffee back to the plantations and ensures plantation workers’ families have access to reasonable housing, healthcare and education for their children. UTZ Certified also requires that plantations have a low impact on the environment and that farmers minimize the use of energy, water, and work to prevent soil erosion.
These are just a few examples of IKEA’s commitment and of The IKEA Way, for more information and further detail about its products, operations, suppliers and activities, please visit www.theikeaway.ca.
IKEA is a leading home furnishings retailer with 260 stores in 36 countries worldwide, which are visited by 522 million people every year. IKEA Canada has 11 stores which are visited by over 25 million people every year. Last year the ikea.com websites attracted 450 million visitors. Founded in 1943, IKEA’s business philosophy is to offer a wide range of products of good design and function at prices so low, the majority of people can afford them. For more information on IKEA, please visit: www.ikea.ca.
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