Your Ikea shopping basket will soon be able to hold a Billy bookcase—and a dose of renewable energy.
The world’s biggest furniture brand is branching out into selling renewable energy to households, starting with its home market in Sweden.
Yesterday, Ingka Group, which owns most Ikea stores worldwide, announced that households would be able to buy affordable renewable electricity from solar and wind parks starting in September. It’s the latest move toward a carbon-neutral future for the company.
Ikea started selling solar panels in 2013 in Britain (though it stopped for several years after the British government signaled drastic cuts to solar subsidies). Today, the company sells solar panels to 11 markets (the United States remains absent from the list). Customers who have already bought solar panels from Ikea will be able to track their own usage through an app and sell back surplus electricity to Ikea. But even customers who don’t own Ikea’s solar panels will be able to buy renewable energy through Ikea and track their usage through the app.
The Swedish furniture giant pioneered cheap, disposable furniture in the 1940s, but in the past few years, the company has announced plans to reduce more greenhouse gas emissions than its value chain creates. In 2016, it pledged to generate more renewable electricity than it uses by 2020, and exceeded its target by investing in two solar parks in the United States and one wind farm in Romania. After investing $2.8 billion in green energy, the company also installed more than 920,000 solar panels on 370 of its stores (or just under 90% of its total number of stores) and warehouses across the world.
The energy that households use to power Ikea products (think appliances, lighting, electronics, or even the brand’s new Starkvind air purifier, which doubles as a side table) accounts for more than 20% of Ikea’s total climate footprint. The company has been working to make those products more efficient, but the decision to also sell renewable energy to customers will contribute to the company’s goal to be a carbon-neutral company by 2030.
Not to mention the new revenue stream it will create. Ingka Group owns 547 wind turbines and two solar farms in 14 countries—mainly across Europe and North America. This means that Ingka now has over 100 more wind turbines than Ikea stores. The renewable energy market is expected to reach $1.1 trillion by 2027.
Ingka didn’t say whether it would expand its clean energy sales to countries outside of Sweden, but it shared ambitions to “enable customers in all our Ingka Group markets to use and generate more renewable energy through our energy services by 2025.”