IKEA Switzerland see sustainability as an opportunity to lead
IKEA Retail Switzerland believe sustainability is an opportunity for IKEA to take the lead in the country, even though it comes with a big responsibility.
In July 2019, Ingka Group announced that the Country Retail Managers of the IKEA retail businesses will take on the role of Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO).
Through the integrated role, those managers take greater leadership in moving towards the IKEA ambition to inspire and enable one billion people to live a better life within the limits of the planet by 2030. Jessica Anderen is the Country Retail Manager and CSO for IKEA Switzerland. She began her role in October 2019, after fufilling diverse roles around the globe for IKEA.
“I have a lot of passion for sustainability, both professionally and personally,” said Anderen.
“At IKEA, we are on a purpose led journey and this is the starting point in my role. I want to lead by example and secure that I bring in the topic of sustainability in everything that I and we do. It’s important in order to create the movement we strive for.”
New facts and insights – which act as a ‘guiding star’ - alongside a strong sustainability starting point has created a new positioning for IKEA Switzerland and it is only the beginning, according to Anderen.
“I learnt the importance to build on to our strengths, and at the same time to dare to explore new scenarios and challenges. My mantra is to be curious, listen, learn, adapt and act.”
IKEA Switzerland’s sustainability actions
The new positioning for IKEA Switzerland is focused around the idea that the only way to make sustainable living available for ‘the many people’ is to make it economically accessible. The aim is to make sustainable living affordable for everyone in the country and that means making it relevant for the many people.
“The guiding star is our new positioning and to make sure we integrate and work with affordability and sustainability together,” Anderen explained.
“As a result, we now have a much stronger integration of sustainability into the business and strategic direction, with a focus on the commercial agenda and the external communication across all channels, media and units.
“We have many actions connected to health and sustainable living planned though our launches and are exploring and developing new sustainable services.” A product example is a sun lounger made of 100% renewable material.
IKEA Switzerland has concentrated on moving from research to action, examples of which can be seen below.
IKEA Switzerland will put strong sales focus on their home solar offer
- The improvement of energy/water/waste data quality continues and definition of monitoring process with the Facility Management
- Investment in Carbon footprint study by Quantis for IKEA Switzerland
- IKEA Switzerland is a partner of the national ‘Safe food. Fight waste’ campaign
- The ‘Food Waste Watcher program’ will be rolled out in all stores
- 73% of IKEA Switzerland co-workers completed sustainability introduction training
Anderen added: "Environment is a top concern for Swiss people. A strong positioning and taking a stand for what we believe in, is more crucial than ever. To lead with advocacy is important.”
A recent example saw Anderen join other CEOs on the CEO4Climate business initiative to foster a climate-friendly economy in Switzerland. She co-signed a letter to the National Council ahead of a discussion on the new Swiss CO2 Act in June.
The letter urges the decision makers to agree on the necessary policy foundations in order to provide businesses with the confidence needed to invest in sustainable, net zero industries of the future. Anderen made a video statement on LinkedIn.
The CSO believes that IKEA Switzerland can be instrumental in leading positive change.
"We have a big responsibility, and this is the opportunity to take the lead,” she explained. “We know that 87% of Swiss consumers would make an effort or a strong effort to improve their lifestyle to support the climate.
“They are motivated by knowing the impact of their actions and by saving money.
“Through our tangible ‘hands on’ actions, with storytelling and with our co-workers in the lead together with a strong link between sustainability and affordability in all our channels, we will be able to reach more of the many.”
A goal for IKEA Switzerland is to reach 8.5 million people. They want to make sustainable and healthy living affordable for every citizen. Engagement is key and connecting via social media and in interactive ways is important, including mobilising their 1.7 million IKEA family members.
IKEA Switzerland believes the most important factor is for it to listen to its customers and co-workers and lead the change.
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Ingka Group (Ingka Holding B.V. and its controlled entities) is one of 12 different groups of companies that own and operate IKEA retail under franchise agreements with Inter IKEA Systems B.V. Ingka Group has three business areas: IKEA Retail, Ingka Investments and Ingka Centres. Ingka Group is a strategic partner in the IKEA franchise system, operating 380 IKEA stores in 30 countries. These IKEA stores had 839 million visits during FY19 and 2.6 billion visits to IKEA.com. Ingka Group operates business under the IKEA vision - to create a better everyday life for the many people by offering a wide range of well-designed, functional home furnishing products at prices so low that as many people as possible can afford it.