First famous for its infuriating flat-pack model, Swedish furniture giant Ikea may eclipse this reputation with a new, and altogether nobler identity. Ikea has this month made international headlines with the news that it now owns more wind turbines than it does stores, a move that takes the group significantly closer to its goal of being entirely energy independent by 2020.
Following investments in France, Canada and Lithuania, Ikea now has 415 wind turbines – more than its total number of stores
In the same report, Ikea also announced that sales grew 3.8% for the year to August (£34.1bn from £30bn), with developments in the past year including ‘new store formats, shorter lead times and improved distribution solutions.’
Well done, Ikea. So why set yourself the challenge of becoming energy independent? For Ikea and also coffee empire Starbucks and German conglomerate Siemens (ranked the most sustainable company in the world in 2017 by research firm Corporate Knights), avoiding sustainability would be to wilfully ignore their makeup as a brand. Ikea is guided by its ‘vision of creating a better everyday life for the many people’, Starbucks states that its missions is to ‘inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time’, and Siemens claims that its ‘understanding of sustainability is fully based on our company values – responsible, excellent, innovative.’
Ikea is also committed to championing sustainable resources and aims to be “forest positive” by 2020
Although the sustainability reputation at Starbucks has been tainted by its cup-waste record, as dramatically exposed by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall in last year’s ‘Hugh’s War on Waste’ on the BBC, Starbucks is investing in 100% renewable energy to power operations globally by 2020, and Siemens claims it’s one of the first major industrial companies aiming to achieve a worldwide net-zero carbon footprint by 2030.
But energy independence isn’t just an excellent PR exercise (which, of course, it is), a commitment to sustainability means great things for the bottom line.
When Ikea says it is investing in clean-energy technologies, it means investing, not donating. That means a return – by and through its energy-independent deadline, Ikea also expects to experience a fourfold increase in sales. Siemens expects to experience €20m savings annually from 2020 as a result of investments in energy-efficient technologies, and in its last Global Social Impact Report, Starbucks reported ‘another year of record financial performance’ for the fiscal year 2016.
Although at the centre of the cup-waste debate, Starbucks is committed to using 100% renewable energy by 2020
But what about individuals? Can energy independence be achieved at home? In a word, yes. On the other side of the equation, we have built our Zero Carbon Smart Homes to empower individuals to do just this. Home-owners can create their own clean energy through powerful photovoltaic panels integrated into the roofs, generate heat through ground and air-source heat pumps, and protect heat efficiently through key design features, like triple-glazed windows and super-insulated walls and floors. Energy precision is also provided through our smartphone app Vesta, which allows for complete control over energy usage from your mobile, wherever you happen to be.
Energy independence reaps rewards for individuals too. Can you imagine never having to pay an energy bill again? It sounds almost absurd, but it’s a convenient truth for our home-owners. Find out about our latest Zero Carbon Smart Home developments here, and how we are employing cutting-edge eco-technologies to make energy independence at home a reality.