In the realm of sustainability, IKEA has just made history. As of September 2015, 100 percent of the cotton the company uses for its products comes from more “sustainable sources.” Ikea is the first major international retailer to achieve this.
“For over a decade we have been working towards an ambitious goal: to have 100 percent of the cotton we use in our products come from more sustainable sources” said Steve Howard, chief sustainability Officer at Ikea. “Today, we are delighted to announce that we have reached our 100 percent target.”
In 2010, Ikea worked with nature conservation group WWF to create the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) with the goal “to make global cotton production better for the people who produce it, better for the environment it grows in and better for the sector’s future,” as noted on the bettercotton.org website.
Now, all of Ikea’s cotton comes from more sustainable sources, which means that the farmers use less water, chemical fertilizers and pesticides for the cotton they grow. These sources include: cotton grown according to BCI’s Better Cotton Standard, by farmers working towards the accreditation and sustainable cotton from the U.S.
Since Ikea—which operates hundreds of stores in 47 countries worldwide—uses 0.7% of the world’s cotton production each year, the move marks a sizeable step forward for minimizing the textile sector’s footprint on the planet.
While this marks a major triumph for Ikea, the retailer is not finished yet in its push for sustainability.
The company’s cotton leader Pramod Singh, said, “Reaching our goal of sourcing 100 percent of cotton from more sustainable sources is a great achievement, but it also marks the start of our next challenge – to maintain the 100 percent and to find even more ways to support cotton producers around the world to be more sustainable.”
“We need more companies to follow IKEA’s lead,” WWF’s director of market transformation initiative Richard Holland, said. “But this milestone shows what’s good for people and nature is also good for business.”
Ikea’s news has already attracted retailers’ and customers’ attention, and will likely encourage higher sales in the near future. Ikea said a small volume of products produced with conventional cotton prior to now will still be available in stores until sold out.