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  • A chair, a book, a fork, or even a tie-dye pillowcase.

  • Whatever you want, they probably have it.

  • Although, some assembly is required.

  • Ikea, the blue and yellow furniture behemoth from Sweden has quickly become a mainstay

  • in many households.

  • Through their alternative approach to interior design, which champions cheap prices and a

  • do-it-yourself attitude, Ikea made roughly 42.7 billion dollars (38.8 billion euros)

  • in revenue during the 2018 fiscal year.

  • When you walk through one of Ikea's maze-like showrooms, however, it's hard to fathom

  • how they're able to make that much money.

  • But Ikea's low price points and slick designs are part of the reason why so many customers

  • continue to flock to their big-box stores.

  • So, to put it simply, I want to understand why IKEA is so cheap, and in addition to that,

  • I want to figure out whether their low prices means a weak commitment to mitigating their

  • environmental impact.

  • The story of IKEA's low prices can be tied back to the mindset of its recently deceased

  • owner: Ingvar Kamprad.

  • Kamprad was an extremely cost-conscious man.

  • According to an article in the New Yorker, he still drove an old Volvo and recycled tea-bags

  • despite his massive amount of wealth.

  • He championed the idea oflistaormaking do,” both in his own life but also in the

  • core values of the Ikea empire.

  • Essentially, IKEA seeks to create low-cost, minimalist and utilitarian solutions for everyday

  • life.

  • And it does that in several ways.

  • Similar to stores like Costco, IKEA leverages buying a large amount of material to drive

  • prices down.

  • All of those materials areflat-packedso that the maximum amount of product can

  • be shipped and stored in one place.

  • On top of that, they shift the assembly component of furniture onto the consumer, which means

  • they avoid a large amount of cost on the manufacturing end.

  • They push the time and effort needed to construct furniture onto people eager to buy their stuff.

  • So the key to IKEA's cheap products is a knowledge of where and how to cut corners,

  • whether that's in the manufacturing stage, shipping process, or up to the point of sale.

  • But Kamprad also has a very dark history.

  • He was involved in the Swedish fascist movement in the 1940s.

  • While Kamprad would later go on to write that it was the greatest mistake of his life, the

  • good and bad of his life also seems to parallel the dualistic nature of Ikea.

  • In the search for more profits and better margins, for example, Ikea has been criticized

  • heavily for avoiding potentially billions of euros in taxes by funneling money through

  • a web of subsidiaries and sub-companies.

  • In this regard, Ikea uses strategies from other corporations to circumvent accountability

  • to the law.

  • But does Ikea have the same disregard for their environmental initiatives?

  • In some cases, Ikea's low prices are thanks to the cost-saving effects of the business's

  • new environmental initiatives, but alongside these highly publicized sustainability efforts

  • lie some questionable practices that leave much to be desired.

  • Let's start with the good.

  • Ikea has made tremendous headway on the renewable energy front.

  • According to their 2018 sustainability report, Ikea has installed over 900,000 solar panels

  • across its warehouses and showrooms and owns and operates 441 wind turbines all in the

  • pursuit of becoming energy independent by 2020.

  • This is certainly admirable considering there are 424 Ikea stores worldwide that require

  • a massive amount of fuel and energy to run.

  • Alongside this rapid transition to renewable energy, Ikea committed to eliminating emissions

  • for all home deliveries by 2025, which means a fully electric home transportation fleet

  • within the next six years.

  • To top it all off, Ikea wants to reach a circular waste model by 2030.

  • With the elimination of single-use plastics in the store combined with the use of recycled

  • materials in their products, like their KUNGSBACKA line which uses recycled wood and plastic

  • bottles to create kitchen cabinets, Ikea has set out to redefine their relationship with

  • waste.

  • So in terms of climate change goals and ambitions, Ikea is doing better than most of the other

  • big-named brands in the field.

  • But, there's always a flip side to the coin.

  • We shouldn't just applaud Ikea for doing something everyone else should already be

  • doing.

  • It's our job as consumers and as people to consider the consequences of a brand that

  • decides on a shockingly low price for their furniture and then challenges the design team

  • and suppliers to meet that price at whatever the cost.

  • If fact, according to Ikea, the carbon footprint of the company grew from 23.3 million tonnes

  • of CO2 in 2016 to 24.6 million tonnes of CO2 in 2018, which is roughly 1.2 million tonnes

  • more CO2 in just 2 years.

  • Even though they installed hundreds of thousands of solar panels on their showroom roofs, they're

  • still a growing company.

  • Their suppliers, storage and shipment are making more furniture than ever and are not

  • all plugged into that clean grid.

  • And in terms of materials, Ikea consumes 1% of the world's logged wood for their furniture.

  • For just one company that is truly a massive amount.

  • According to the company, they seek to plant more trees than they consume, stating that

  • in the 2018 fiscal year they logged 700,000 trees and planted 3.6 million trees.

  • But Ikea's track record when it comes to which trees its forestry subsidiary Swedwood

  • cuts down hasn't been perfect.

  • In 2014, the Forest Stewardship Council banned Ikea for a month because Swedwood was cutting

  • down 600-year-old trees in Karelia, Russia.

  • In short, Ikea is doing good, but there are also negative ramifications to the growth

  • mindset of this massive fast-furniture company.

  • So, as we look towards Ikea's cheap cost, we can understand a couple of things.

  • Itscheapnessis the product of streamlined marketing and sales, strong control of their

  • supply chain, some unique approaches like flat-packing and DIY assembling, as well as

  • a little help from cheap renewable energy.

  • That being said, there is also a tension between the cheap first, everything else second mentality

  • that seems to ooze from all things Ikea and their environmental practices.

  • They've made strides in crafting more durable furniture, but Ikea is a business.

  • Mass consumption of their furniture is their reason to exist.

  • The more you buy, the better they do, but at the same time, the better they do, the

  • higher the environmental cost.

  • Ikea is ultimately interested in sustainability because that's what customers want and it's

  • good for business.

  • So the next time you're chowing down on those classic Ikea Swedish meatballs, look

  • around; appreciate the fact that Ikea has made itself into a strong leader in sustainability

  • for big companies, but also understand that buying Ikea will neversave the planet

  • or help mitigate climate change.

  • Buying that Tarva bed frame is certainly less bad than other options, but searching for

  • a different bed frame in a local antique or second-hand furniture store is the better

  • option for the environment.

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Why is IKEA so cheap?

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    joey joey に公開 2021 年 06 月 12 日
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