Editor's choice
5 Mar 20

IKEA takes customers on a carbon-neutral ride

IKEA has already made impressive progress towards decarbonising its delivery operations, by moving towards a target of 100% electrification of last mile deliveries. Now head of sustainable mobility Angela Hultberg has set her sights on more ambitious targets for both employees and customers.

“In 2019 we doubled the volume of last mile deliveries made by electric vehicle, which is in line with our expectations. We are now using electric vehicles to make deliveries in 14 markets and we are keen to accelerate the pace of change.”

“What we’ve learned is that bringing the first few electric vehicles on board is the hardest part, but once you’ve done that and worked out your charging requirements, it becomes easier to bring more vehicles onto the fleet.”

100% electric

“We’ve gone 100% electric in Shanghai this year and we are looking forward to doing the same in Amsterdam this year. It’s been easier to achieve 100% electric deliveries in China because you have a lot more EV manufacturers and it’s a pretty mature market. In Shanghai, we started working with an EV sharing platform that allowed us to get access to vehicles and charging infrastructure much faster.”

“In Europe, for IKEA, our electrification programme is as much about mitigating risks to our business as it is about being a responsible retailer. The increase in online sales is unlikely to reverse and with it come more vehicles, more pollution and more congestion, which simply isn’t a sustainable situation and we have to find ways to avoid that. That’s the main reason why we started moving in this direction.”

“But as policy-makers begin to understand that things have to change, there is a business risk there as well. We think there will be more congestion charging zones and restrictions on vehicles entering city centres and we need to be ready for that.”

But IKEA’s sustainable transport policies extend much further than furniture deliveries.

“Electrification of last mile deliveries is only one of five goals we are currently focused on. We want to provide access to recharging stations at all our outlets for both customers and co-workers. Today, 82% of our stores worldwide have chargers and we want that to reach 100% by the end of 2020.”

Reduce business travel emissions

“Looking at our own fleet, we work with third parties to deliver products, but we want to lead by example, so we are committed to making 100% of the vehicles we own electric by 2025.”

“Business travel is actually quite a small part of our overall emissions, but we have 150,000 co-workers who need to get to work every day, so we are aiming to reduce relative emissions from co-worker travel by 50%.”

“We also want to halve our customers’ emissions when visiting a store by 2030. Most of our stores are in out-of-town locations which people have to drive to and most have offices attached or very nearby. So in terms of overall emissions, this is the big one and by addressing this, we will also be able to reduce our co-workers’ travel emissions.”

“By understanding how to enable our workers to adopt more sustainable travel habits, we think we will be better placed to make it easier for our customers to do the same. It’s not about telling people how to live their lives, it’s about finding the solutions to people’s mobility problems and making them so affordable and convenient that it becomes a no brainer – why would you take your car to a store when there are much easier ways of getting there?”

This is an extract from the full interview, published in Fleet Europe 114. Read the full interview online.

Author: Mark Sutcliffe

Image copyright: IKEA

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