Ikea is following the footsteps of fellow corporate bigwigs by extending control across its supply chain. The company has already bought up Romanian and Baltic forests and Polish wind farms in its previously stated efforts to go "all in" on leading the way for corporate sustainability. Now, The Guardian reports that the home-furnishings giant has invested in a plastic recycling plant in the Netherlands.
By extending this sort of reach across industries impacting Ikea, the Swedish furniture maker is able to ensure more sustainable practices and avoid getting mixed up in deforestation practices and plastic waste.
Apple has similarly invested in forest here in the United States in order to increase its supply of sustainable pulp and paper goods used in its packaging. And Google and Amazon have each invested in renewable energy, which works as a plus for public relations while shielding the corporations from fluctuating energy costs.
In its 2016 sustainability report, Ikea announced a plan to switch to 100 percent recycled or recyclable materials as early as 2020. Gaining a 15 percent minority stake in Dutch recycling plant Morssinkhof Rymoplast is a giant leap in that direction. The plastics company has locations throughout the Netherlands and makes more than 220,000 tons of high grade recycled materials annually.
Ikea disputed claims that its forays into renewable energy and recycling plants are self-serving and simple cases of greenwashing. “Our approach to the circular economy is not to buy up recycling companies,” Ikea’s acting chief sustainability officer Pia Heidenmark Cook told The Guardian. “It’s one element to learn more and better understand upcycling, but it’s not the prime strategy.”
Ikea hopes to explode its revenue in the coming years, and is opening its first store in Hyderabad, India, next year. No matter its inspiration for hopping into the circular economy, one thing is for sure: doing so will mean protecting massive amounts of virgin materials and natural resources.