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IKEA’s Eco Scorecard: Why it isn’t what you think it is

Posted on March 31, 2011 at 7:24 pm
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IKEA’s 2010 Sustainability Report is out, and much hype is being made of the mention on (and other media sources) of IKEA’s new eco scorecard. The scorecard will be used to help IKEA determine how well they’re doing on their #1 stated sustainability goal, i.e. to stock more sustainable products in 2011-2012 than in 2008 (see IKEA’s 2015 Sustainability Goals).

After reading that article, I’m picturing a sweet little bio-degradable label on the IKEA packaging (made of 100% post-consumer waste, of course) that tells me that the raw materials for the product came in on a fleet of electric trucks from sustainable, fast-growing, ecologically farmed forests, and is manufactured in a solar-powered, zero-waste factory which employs only fully-grown employees who bicycle to work and are paid above average working wages and all the organic meatballs they can eat. Am I right? Well, no.

Think this eco-scorecard will help you decide which IKEA products are more sustainable? Think again…

IKEA’s Sustainable Scorecard

IKEA’s stated purpose for implementing the new scorecards is this:

We want customers to confidently and freely choose among all our products, knowing that IKEA is committed to sustainable practices and that they do not have to choose between sustainability, style, function or price. The IKEA Sustainability product Score Card will help us offer a more sustainable range of products. (Editor’s note: Emphasis ours)

IKEA intends to integrate sustainability at every step of the production process and product life, from the development and sourcing of raw materials to the production and distribution, marketing and sales of products in stores to the end of life for that product. To do so, the plan is to look at eleven criteria and score each product according to those factors.

  • More from less (using less material in the product)
  • Renewable material
  • Recycled material
  • Environmentally better material
  • Separable & recyclable material
  • Product quality
  • Transport efficiency (number of products per container)
  • Energy efficient production
  • Renewable energy in production
  • Raw material utilization at suppliers
  • Product use (less use of energy and water, and less waste in customers’ homes

The tallied ’score’ will help IKEA to determine if a product and its packaging are ‘more sustainable’ as compared to a similar or identical product that was on the market in the 2008 fiscal year, thereby allowing IKEA to gauge its progress toward its internal goal for 2015. The goal is to reach 90% of sales identified as ‘more sustainable’ according to the criteria above.

IKEA Sustainability Scorecard Not for Customers

The IKEA Sustainability Product Score Card is an internal tool that will help us measure our progress and improve the sustainability in our entire range of products. Therefore, scores will not be communicated to customers in the form of individual product labels. (Editor’s note: Emphasis ours)

As noted by GreenBiz author/editor Jonathan Bardelline, since IKEA will not be individually labeling products to indicate their specific score, consumers will not know which products contain FSC-certified wood, and which do not. Says Bardelline, “…that then puts products made with FSC-certified wood on the same level as those made without certified wood, and also essentially says there’s no difference between products made with cotton, plastic-coated cotton and polyester.”

Still, setting criteria and goals for reduction of the total product footprint and gathering data for future comparison is a positive step that I think we can all get behind. Just don’t be looking for the ‘Eco Scorecard’ in the stores.

Read also: IKEA Sustainability Goals Through 2015

(Source: IKEA Boosting Stock of Sustainable Goods with Eco Scorecard)


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2 Responses to “IKEA’s Eco Scorecard: Why it isn’t what you think it is”

  1. ted says:

    here’s a link to the entire 91 page report:

  2. Maureen says:

    I’m disapointed that a comapny such as IKEA is not being more translucent.
    consumers need to know what they are putting in their homes in terms of VOC out-gassing, and etc.

    We look upon Ikea as a forerunner to the furture, and they’re just not holding up to expectations.

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