Steve Howard, a Swedish businessman who holds the extraordinary rank of “chief sustainability officer” at Ikea, wants to build a better world — one Allen key at a time.
“Sustainability,” says this Scandinavian executive who spent 25 years as an environmentalist before becoming a retailer, “has gone from a nice-to-do to a must-do.”
Howard gave a TEDGlobal talk recently in which he explained his position on the subject, and described the efforts he’s undertaking at his company to more fully embrace it.
It was, at its heart, a conversation about numbers. Here are a few of them:
3: the number of billion people who will have emerged from poverty by 2030, and joined the consumption-crazy global middle class.
500: the number of cities in the world with populations of a million or more; two generations ago there were only 12.
340: the number of Ikea stores, in 40 countries.
37: the number of billion dollars in sales Ikea does every year.
85: the percentage less by which LED bulbs consume electricity versus traditional incandescent bulbs; by 2016, Ikea will only stock LED bulbs on its shelves.
300,000: the number of solar panels installed in Ikea’s 300 stores worldwide.
2020: the year by which Ikea will produce more renewable energy than it uses.
14: the number of wind farms Ikea operates.
100: the percentage of power Ikea’s stores will draw from renewable sources by 2020.
2: the number of times by which Ikea plans to increase the volume of sustainable material in its supply chain, by 2020, from forests certified by the Forest Stewardship Council