A “take back” program could be brought to Canada that would allow customers to trade items purchased from the Swedish furniture giant in exchange for store credit.
The initiative, mirrored after similar environmentally-friendly ventures in France and Belgium, would entail the retailer resell the second-hand item or recycle it.
“If we can have an impact on people’s lives at home, we could have a huge impact on the environment,” said Ikea Canada President Stefan Sjostrand.
Sjostrand was part of the team that helped bring the program to France and says the same could be done in Canada, although he admitted the program could still be years away. Once implemented, it would make a big difference for Ikea’s environmental footprint if even 10 per cent of its customers returned their old furniture, he said.
2015 Ikea Canada visitors:
- 25 million in-stores visitors
- 75 million online visitors
Steve Howard, the head of sustainability at Ikea, says that appetite for home furnishings in western countries has hit its peak, prompting the world’s largest furniture retailer to look at ways to encourage customers to repair and recycle Ikea products.
Ikea recycling programs:
- plastics, paper, light bulbs and mattresses in place in Canada
- the first retailer to phase out the sale of incandescent light bulbs in favour of the more energy-saving LED bulbs.
Although it is taking a more planet-friendly approach to commerce, Sjostrand says this does not slow down Ikea’s plan to open 12 more full-size stores over the next decade.
The next location was recently announced as Halifax. The company recorded $1.8 billion in sales in Canada in 2015.