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News from Global Partnership Projects

  CLIMATE:  Keen external interest in Sustainable life at home – Ecoration

The joint climate project Sustainable life at home ended earlier this year, and a seminar was conducted in Stockholm, Sweden on October 30 to report on the Ecoration experiment. Opinion leaders, company leaders, and journalists took part in a panel discussion on the impressive results from engaging nine IKEA customer families – the Ecorators – in testing solutions to help them live a more sustainable life at home.

Over a six-month period, IKEA and WWF supported the families in Kalmar, Sweden, to test out a wide variety of solutions to save energy and water and minimise waste without compromising too much with the everyday routines, without extra costs and time. The Ecoration families tried everything from modern energy-saving technologies like LED lights, to simple measures such as blocking draft with drapes and “old-fashioned” ways to cook using pressure cookers.

The project has documented the families’ feedback and measured the environmental impact of their actions. The Ecorators shared their experiences with WWF and IKEA through meetings and interviews, and with other customers and participants via a blog, and information in-store.

“The results showed that it is possible for companies to reduce emissions generated by their customers and that IKEA has a role to play,” says Håkan Wirtén, WWF Sweden’s secretary general.

Families reduced their non-recyclable waste by an average of 45 percent and their electricity consumption by about 30 percent during the project period. By the end of the project, the families’ average carbon footprint was 25 percent lower than the average in Sweden.

Around one quarter of the total carbon footprint from the IKEA value chain comes from the use of its products in customers’ homes, so it is important for IKEA to both make their products more efficient and enable customers to reduce energy consumption and thus emissions.

”Today’s environmental problems can still be solved, but it’s getting urgent. We need more actors, not least large companies, who dare to take the lead and radically transform its market. By offering smart solutions, companies can inspire their customers to be more climate smart,” says Håkan Wirtén.

This is why IKEA and WWF started the Sustainable life at home project in 2010 to inspire, influence and help IKEA customers and co-workers to adopt sustainable everyday behaviours. The focus was on reducing energy and water consumption, and on minimising food and other household waste. The project also specifically tested developed store and web communication to see if customers’ behaviour could be positively influenced this way.

”A sustainable future requires real engagement and a clear will to inspire and to challenge old ways of thinking. The Ecoration project is a great starting point, but we are far from finishing our work towards a more sustainable future,” says IKEA Group Chief Sustainability Officer Steve Howard.

A project report is due later this this year.

To read more about the Ecorators (in Swedish, an English version will be available shortly on www.panda.org/ikea), click here.