Corporate Responsible Bragging: IKEA is Even Greener than It Seems

Is IKEA just another big box store trying to get good press with environmental initiatives, a.k.a. PR campaigns? No, according to a Grist interview with IKEA’s sustainability director, Thomas Bergmark. Actually, the company might not even be tooting its horn enough. Grist‘s David Roberts sought out Bergmark after the company announced its “bag the plastic bag” campaign last week. (IKEA will charge shoppers a nickel for the bags that were once free and 59 cents for a reusable, classic blue shopping bag. Benefits go to the non-profit American Forests).

If the campaign seems just cosmetic, the interview reveals deeper green business practices that IKEA doesn’t advertise. The company will increase energy efficiency across the board by 15 percent by 2009 and will also increase use of renewable energy in all stores. On the production side, IKEA requires all suppliers to abide by a code of social and environmental conduct.

“We’re definitely not the company that wants to ring the big bell and do a lot of heavy marketing,” Bergmark said. Well, why not? Why IKEA doesn’t market its environmental responsibility beyond this flimsy bag campaign is a mystery. Do shoppers really not care or understand sustainability enough for such marketing to boost sales?

— Rose Miller