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Building a more affordable, accessible and sustainable future

Peter Jelkeby, pictured alongside Kerry McCarthy MP (left) and Valerie Vaz MP (right) at IKEA's parliamentary reception in February | Credit: Tom Hampson, Visual Eye Creative

Peter Jelkeby, Country Retail Manager and Chief Sustainability Officer

Peter Jelkeby, Country Retail Manager and Chief Sustainability Officer | IKEA

4 min read Partner content

In February, IKEA joined MPs and Peers across the political divide in Parliament to discuss what the business is doing in the UK to invest for its customers and co-workers, while continuing its transformation to become more accessible, affordable, and sustainable.

It was a privilege to host our second annual reception in Parliament this year with so many great milestones to celebrate. Around the world, this year we will celebrate the IKEA business turning 80 years old, which serves as a reminder that our founding vision – to create a better everyday life for the many people - and strong values, that brought the company to life remain as valid today as in 1943.

Here in the UK, we recently marked the 1st birthday of the IKEA Hammersmith store, the first small-format store in the UK, which also sits within the UK’s first IKEA-owned shopping centre and meeting place, Livat. These milestones come ahead of the extremely exciting opening of our second small-format store, on Oxford Street.

I was grateful to Valerie Vaz, our ever-giving site MP for the IKEA Birmingham store, for sponsoring our event. Valerie spoke about the continued ambition of IKEA UK to become a truly circular business, and how we can work closely with others, to understand what’s needed to develop more sustainable and viable communities.

I was also really pleased to be joined by the Shadow Minister for Climate Change, Kerry McCarthy MP, who highlighted the need for continued leadership, support and stability from Government in order to deliver net zero goals and incentivise and drive businesses forward in this space. She highlighted how IKEA has set a precedent with the launch of our in-store circular hubs, reiterating that sustainability and affordability can and must be complementary forces – something I wholly agree with.

Our role in supporting customers and co-workers to live a more sustainable life has never been more important – sustainability is a vital enabler in taking our business forward.

We recently launched our circular hubs online, to further reduce waste and give our products a second and third life by increasing customers’ access to second-hand and nearly new furniture with advice on how to maintain, repair, clean and personalise their products. Through these hubs, IKEA have provided 560,766 spare parts to UK customers– a combined cost saving of approximately £700,000 for customers who did not need to buy new.

As the cost-of-living crisis continues to impact people from all walks of life, we too have seen our costs increase significantly. We have absorbed as much of this as we can, but also remain fully committed in the longer term to providing affordable products and solutions to our customers that help them achieve a better life at home and save money.

All our achievements would not be possible however, without the hard work and dedication of nearly 12,000 co-workers, who play a vital role in supporting the business, looking after our customers and engaging across our communities.

We have invested significantly in our co-workers’ financial wellbeing, including through our long-standing partnership with the Living Wage Foundation, as the basis for ensuring a fair wage that reflects the true cost-of-living. In November of last year, IKEA UK also announced further investments into pay and well-being support packages. This included free, healthy meals, an increase in the contribution to public transport passes, offering interest-free loans up to £1000, and a double-up of the co-worker discount from 15% to 30% for over 2000 products.

Building on our successes, we continue to make investments and innovate to become more accessible to our customers. This means meeting our customers, where they want to meet us.

New IKEA formats create new ways for customers across the country to interact with our product range, home furnishing expertise, and services. In addition to Hammersmith and the plans for Oxford Street, before Christmas we also opened a new Plan and Order Point for kitchens and other large projects at Aintree and in a few weeks, we will open two others at Stockport and Preston. We have also expanded our Click and Collect offering, as well as launching Collect Near Me points in partnership with Tesco.

We also look forward to opening a new critical distribution centre in Dartford, creating new capacity for London and the south east and rolling out our major Electric Vehicle investment, with 100% of transport for customer orders to be delivered by zero-emission solutions by 2025. 

Being able to inspire a better and more sustainable future that is affordable for the many has informed all of our decision-making in a year of extreme circumstances, and over the last 80 years. Looking ahead, we will keep building on this strong foundation and continue to invest in the UK to ensure we fulfil our promise of creating a better life at home for the many, especially during challenging times.

For more information about how IKEA is working towards the goal of becoming a circular business by 2030, please click here.

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Read the most recent article written by Peter Jelkeby, Country Retail Manager and Chief Sustainability Officer - Building a Sustainable Future: Why Collaboration is Key to Combat Climate Change

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