Ikea purchases Scottish wind farm and backs solar energy

10 Aug 2011

Ikea has bought a 12.3MW wind farm in Huntly, Scotland, from Good Energies Capital, while it is now planning to install 39,000 solar panels on 11 of its stores.

As part of its sustainability strategy, the world’s largest furniture retailer has set out to source more of its energy from renewable sources, such as solar and wind.

According to Ikea’s chief sustainability officer Steve Howard, the Scottish wind farm now owned by the Scandinavian furniture giant will be able to cover 30pc of Ikea’s UK electricity usage.

Ikea purchased the farm from Good Energies Capital for an undisclosed sum.

Howard told Bloomberg that the solar panels, with a combined 2.1 megawatts, will be fitted onto 10 Ikea stores to provide an average of 5pc of each store’s power.

Ikea has been steadily diversifying into the wind energy space of late and already owns wind farms in Germany, Denmark and France.

Renewables – more cost-effective for Ikea

The company is revving up its sustainability focus, as it says it loses about US$1.7bn each year as a result of fluctuating energy prices.

In its Sustainability Report for 2010, released this past March, Ikea outlined its priorities for 2015 as part of its new ‘Sustainability Direction’.

As part of this direction, Ikea is hoping to influence its entire value chain – from product design and development to the end of a product’s life – via its sustainability strategies.

Some of Ikea’s key sustainability aims by 2015 include:

1. Offering products that are more sustainable

Ikea says that, by 2015, “90pc of its sales value shall come from home furnishing products classified as ‘more sustainable’ in the IKEA Sustainability Product Score Card.”

2. Taking a leading role towards a low-carbon society

“By being innovative, energy efficient and using more renewable energy, we shall significantly reduce CO2 emissions from our own operations, the supply chain and customers travelling to IKEA stores.”

3. Turning waste into resources

“We shall have zero waste to landfill from our own operations.”

4. Reducing its water footprint

“We shall significantly reduce our water footprint in our own operations, as well as throughout our supply chain.”

Ikea in Ireland

In its first full year in Ireland, Ikea achieved average sales of €2m per week at its Ballymun superstore, the company announced.

It said that in the 12 months to August 2010, sales were more than €110.7m. The Dublin Ikea’s store’s profit of €11.4m made it one of the firm’s most profitable stores in Europe.

However, at the time, Ikea said no new stores are planned for Ireland in the next 12 months. The company employs 452 people at its Dublin store.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic