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ECCT-MoFA Green Leadership Forum Series, Part 2

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On 21 April, Martin Lindstrom, Group Director of DFI Home Furnishings Taiwan Limited (IKEA), was the guest speaker in part 2 of the Green Leadership Forum's series of presentations arranged by the ECCT's Low Carbon Initiative (LCI) for Taiwan's young trainee diplomats. The event, co-hosted by the LCI and the Ministry of Economic Affairs' (MoFA) Institute of Diplomacy and International Affairs (IDIA) was the second in a series of events arranged for Taiwan's trainee diplomats to brief them on a range of sustainability issues and practices in Europe and by European companies. The events are part of the LCI's CSR & Education mission to raise awareness about low carbon solutions and educate the public about how to go about achieving a low carbon society.
In his presentation, Lindstom spoke about IKEA's drive to make everything about its operations sustainable...
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He believes that becoming green is not just good for the planet and people but also good for business. The world is already consuming resources at an unsustainable rate and if business continues as usual and no action is taken, we will destroy the planet. For this reason, business has to be transformed. Being less bad is not good enough anymore.

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The first aim is to do more with less. Saving energy and converting to renewable energy sources is one of the company's major initiatives. Solar panels are installed on half of its stores (including its new store in Taichung) and currently 27% of its stores' energy is derived from renewables. This is up from just 10% in 2005 and the company plans to increase this percentage to 100% by 2020. The long term ambition is to produce more energy than the company consumes.

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In terms of materials, IKEA is constantly looking for ways to use fewer materials and use recycled materials to make goods. As a retailer of furniture, IKEA is very much aware that wood is a precious and finite resource. The company is therefore taking a number of actions in recognition of this. For example, it only uses wood from well-managed and sustainable forests. The company is going even further by pledging to replace wood (ie plant more trees than it consumes for wood) by 2020. It is also looking for ways to reduce the use of water in the manufacturing process.

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Lindström concluded with a short introduction to the IKEA foundation and some of its activities which include working with refugees, empowering women in developing countries and working to end child labour.

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