Have we hit peak home furnishings? Steve Howard, Ikea’s head of sustainability, thinks so.
“If we look on a global basis, in the West we have probably hit peak stuff. We talk about peak oil,” Howard said at The Guardian’s Sustainable Business debate. “I’d say we’ve hit peak red meat, peak sugar, peak stuff…peak home furnishings.”
What he means by that is that Western consumers have reached their peak levels for buying furnishings; it’s only downhill from here.
Ikea plans to double its sales by 2020, according to The Guardian, but Howard doesn’t think his comments detract from that goal. Instead, he wants the company to create an environmentally friendly model that allows customers to recycle goods instead of tossing them. “We will be increasingly building a circular Ikea where you can repair and recycle products,” Howard said.
Ikea already started this process in 2015. In Belgium, Ikea allowed customers to recycle catalogs that were then used as stuffing for couch cushions. Howard wants to continue this innovative approach to being environmentally friendly, especially in poorer communities. “If you look on a global basis, most people are still poor and most people actually haven’t got to sufficiency yet,” he said.
Ikea has also pledged to invest $1.13 billion in renewable energy and $600 million on wind and solar power installations, and the Ikea Foundation is donating $400 million by 2020 to support families impacted by natural disasters, like floods and tornadoes.