IKEA has today announced that all the cotton used for IKEA products comes from more sustainable sources, making it the first major retailer to reach this milestone.
Cotton is an important raw material for IKEA, used in many products, from sofas to towels. However, when grown conventionally, cotton farming uses large amounts of chemicals and water, raising costs and making it harder for farmers to earn a living. The milestone for IKEA to only use cotton from more sustainable sources means that the farmers supplying cotton used in its products use less water, chemical fertilisers and pesticides, while increasing their profits.
Steve Howard, IKEA chief sustainability officer, IKEA group said: “For over a decade we have been working towards an ambitious goal: to have 100% of the cotton we use in our products come from more sustainable sources. Today, we are delighted to announce that we have reached our 100% target and we not stopping here. We are committed to creating positive change throughout the entire cotton industry.”
Cotton from more sustainable sources includes cotton grown to the Better Cotton Standard, by farmers working towards Better Cotton, and sustainable cotton from the USA. From September 2015 onwards, all the cotton used in IKEA products is from these sources, although a very small volume of products produced using conventional cotton prior to this time will still be available in stores until they are sold out. IKEA mainly sources its cotton from India, Pakistan, Turkey, China, USA and Brazil.
This milestone is part of a long journey to help transform the cotton industry. In 2010, IKEA together with the conservation organisation WWF and other leading public and private organisations helped set up the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI).
Paola Geremicca, Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) director of communications and fundraising said: “We are extremely proud of our partnership with IKEA. We applaud them for setting such an ambitious target and for acting as an example to other retailers and brands. IKEA’s commitment to BCI helps us fulfill our mission of establishing Better Cotton as a mainstream commodity.”
Richard Holland, director, WWF Market Transformation Initiative said: “Cotton from more sustainable sources across all IKEA products is a potential game-changer for the global cotton market because it demonstrates the clear business case for sustainability. We need more companies to follow IKEA’s lead but this milestone shows what’s good for people and nature is also good for business.”
Together with its partners, IKEA wants to make more sustainable cotton affordable and accessible, and also better for the environment and the people who grow it.