The Swedish furniture retailer aims to make buying wind and solar power as easy as buying a couch
In order to hit its goal of becoming a climate-positive company by 2030, IKEA is increasingly focused on making more sustainable products. What’s more, the Swedish brand is also encouraging customers to extend the life cycle of what they buy. However, with the impending launch of a new product offering, IKEA is giving its consumers a more direct opportunity to make a positive impact on the environment.
Recently, Ingka Group, the largest owner of IKEA stores worldwide, announced that it will soon begin selling affordable renewable electricity to its Swedish customers. Dubbed Strömma (Swedish for “flow”), the initiative aims to curb the amount of fossil fuels that consumers use at home. Currently, home energy use associated with its products and appliances accounts for an estimated 20% of IKEA’s total carbon footprint.
Similar to the thinking behind their furniture, Strömma’s goal is to make going green both more affordable and accessible for those who want it. Svea Solar, the maker of IKEA’s solar panels, will purchase the necessary power on the Nord Pool power exchange and pass it on directly to customers at no additional cost. Customers can buy both wind and solar power through an app, which also lets them track their usage.
In terms of generating that power, the €2.5 billion (roughly $2.9 billion) that Ingka Group had invested in solar and wind power as of 2019 assures there’s already a robust infrastructure in place. The holding company owns and operates two solar farms and 547 wind turbines, not to mention the more than 920,000 solar panels found at Ingka Group–owned IKEA stores and warehouses. In an effort to spur further green-energy production, Reuters notes that Ingka wanted Strömma to source only renewable electricity from wind and solar infrastructure built within the last five years.
It may seem like quite the leap to American IKEA fans, but this isn’t the first time the furniture maker has helped its customers green up the power grid. IKEA started selling solar panels in the U.K. back in 2013, expanding the offering to an additional 10 markets in the years since. Those who’ve bought solar panels from IKEA can actually sell any surplus power they don’t use back to the company through Strömma, adding an extra incentive to participate in their renewables marketplace.
As the company sees it, getting into the realm of renewable utilities isn’t as much of an unexpected leap as some might think.
“IKEA is a home-furnishing company, and we want to make it easier for more people to live a more sustainable life at home,” Bojan Stupar, sales manager for Ikea Sweden, said in a press release announcing Strömma. “Providing solar and wind power at a low price to more people feels like the natural next step on our sustainability journey.”
Though Strömma is only available in Sweden for the time being, the Ingka Group statement says they hope to let customers in all of their markets “use and generate more renewable energy through our services” by 2025. Given both IKEA’s own climate goals and the dire need for action underlined by the most recent IPCC climate report, there are mutual benefits to a future where buying renewable energy from IKEA is just as common and easy as picking up a Malm dresser or a Billy bookcase.