IKEA launches Sustainable Living Shops as over half of Brits aren’t taking action against climate change because it’s too expensive


More than half (55%) of Brits admit they’re put off doing anything to help tackle climate change over perceived fears that doing so is too expensive. That’s despite 70% saying they’d love to do more if they didn’t think taking action would cost so much, and a further 81% acknowledging that individual action can help.

New research from IKEA ahead of COP26 reveals that pre pandemic fewer Brits believed affordability was an issue when it came to sustainable living (40%). Meanwhile, over a quarter (26%) say uncertainty around jobs and the economy has made them more conscious about where they spend their money.

Aside from affordability, other barriers Brits identify as reasons they don’t try and help tackle climate change include the belief that there is not enough support from the Government (49%), simply not knowing what to do (44%) and there not being enough support from businesses (40%). 

However, research suggests that unsustainable living can actually be more costly. Food waste remains a major issue in UK households with almost three quarters (72%) concerned about it. The average adult in the UK throws away an estimated £395 of food each year – that’s £21 billion as a nation.

Cost of living sustainably

Nureen Glaves, a public health nutritionist and chef from North London, estimates she has saved £15,000 over the last five years since being introduced to IKEA’s Live Lagom programme. The programme, which launched in 2015, brings a community of like-minded people together to share tips and advice on how to live more sustainably. Each year, IKEA co-workers who are trained in sustainable living offer workshops to new joiners, giving them hands on advice.

Nureen, who joined the programme in 2016, estimates she used to spend £250 on gas and electricity during the winter months, but has gradually reduced costs to £130. When it comes to food waste, Nureen spent £300-£400 a month for her family of four on food previously, which she has reduced to £150-£200.

Nureen commented: “Making small changes to the way I live and consume has made a significant impact over time. When it comes to food, I’ve started a three-step system, dividing meals into ‘classics’, ‘restaurant inspired’ and ‘wildcard’ – which has saved me a lot of money over the years. Classic meals should account for two to three dishes per week and are dinners your family know and love. Then, over the weekend as a treat I like to make what I call restaurant inspired meals – copying dishes you’d usually try out of home. Finally, wildcard meals are an option for the remaining days and are made up of whatever is left over, which drastically reduces how much I throwaway.” 

Leading on climate action

IKEA has a clearly stated ambition to become people and planet positive by 2030, which means reducing more greenhouse gas emissions than the IKEA value chain emits. As a proud Partner of COP26, IKEA is building on its long-standing commitment to take climate action and is committed to the Paris Agreement and to limiting the global temperature rise to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, using Science-Based Targets.

Households consume around 1/3 of global energy and 10% of water. Knowing that a more sustainable life starts at home, the retailer also recognises the clear responsibility it has to make healthy and sustainable living accessible, attractive and affordable for all, and today IKEA UK is already testing a number of services and solutions for a more sustainable life at home, including Buy Back and take back services, in-store circular hubs, and online platforms to ensure a second life for its pre-loved items. 

New Sustainable Living Shops

Today IKEA announces the launch of its new Sustainable Living Shops – another example of testing and trying a new solution to support customers in making sustainable living more affordable and convenient. The ‘shop-in-shop’ solutions, which have launched in IKEA stores across the UK ahead of COP26 showcase products from across their People and Planet Positive range, with a focus on five key areas where customers can take action, helping reduce their climate footprint as well as household costs: ‘Use less energy’, ‘create less waste’, ‘reduce single use’, ‘use less water’ and ‘care, repair, resell and recycle’. 

Clare Rodgers, Sustainability Retail Operations Manager, Ingka Group states: “Our homes and the way we live have a big impact on the planet. We want to show our customers that sustainable living can be affordable and convenient. We know from our research that many IKEA customers want to live sustainably, but don’t know how but they need support plus advice on what to do and they want it to be affordable. This shop is an opportunity to influence and enable more people to live a sustainable life and offer tips in how to reduce their climate footprint. With millions of IKEA store visits each year, we have the opportunity to reach a huge audience. The new shop will offer customers products, solutions, services, tips, and advice that support easy changes in everyday life.”