When you think IKEA, the first word that springs to mind probably isn't always sustainable.
In fact, for most of us, the very mention of the Swedish furniture brand has us wondering whatever happened to that lifetime supply of tiny Allen wrenches.
It may come as a surprise to learn the retailer plans to launch a sustainably driven rental program to make its key pieces easier to incorporate into your home than ever — and to feel good about it in the process.
Their revived business strategy is simple – offer quality goods that can be repaired, reused, recycled or resold, and actively participate in prolonging their lifespan. The idea is that in offering consumers a subscription-like service with the option to borrow goods, they'll not only drastically minimize their eco footprint, but encourage a cost-efficient, home solution.
The globe's largest furniture retailer is first scheduled to roll out the concept leasing office furniture, as part of a wider three-year business plan, starting in Switzerland later this month. In time, however, entire kitchens could soon be up for hire — sink and all — as part of the rental program.
Inter IKEA Group's Chief Executive, Torbjorn Lööf, told The Financial Times that the company had "a much bigger interest in not just selling a product, but seeing what happens with it and that the consumer takes care of it.”
“When that leasing period is over, you hand it back and you might lease something else," he said.
"Instead of throwing [furniture] away, we refurbish them a little and we could sell them, prolonging the lifecycle of the products.”
Lööf added that the Swedish brand was also considering launching its own "spare parts business" allowing customers to conveniently repair their own goods, no matter how old, in store.
The most recent news follows on from a string of green commitments from the global retailer. In 2012, the brand announced plans to source 100 percent of their wood and paper from more sustainable sources by 2020, as part of their People
and Planet Positive Strategy. IKEA also vowed to "contribute to FSC certification of 15 million hectares of forest in priority areas," more than double the total area needed to supply IKEA. To top it all off, IKEA promised to completely ditch all fossil fuels by the year 2030.
Ambitious? Sure — but we're here for it.