The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
IKEA Commits $1.13 Billion to Fight Climate Change and Invest in Renewable Energy
IKEA, a company known for its ready-to-assemble furniture, is also a leader in renewable energy and climate mitigation. The Swedish furniture giant today announced a massive $1.13 billion commitment to address the effects of global warming in developing countries.
According to an announcement, the generous measure was made to accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy and to support the communities most at risk. The massive $1.13 billion total is made up of combined pledges from the IKEA Group and the IKEA Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the group. The majority of the commitment (around $560 million) will be invested in wind energy and around $110 million is expected to be invested in solar up to 2020.
“Climate change is one of the world’s biggest challenges and we need bold commitments and action to find a solution," said Peter Agnefjäll, IKEA Group president and CEO. "That’s why we are going all in to transform our business, to ensure that it is fit for the future and we can have a positive impact. This includes going 100 percent for renewable energy, by investing in wind and solar, and converting all our lighting products to affordable LED bulbs, helping many millions of households to live a more sustainable life at home.”
IKEA said it's on track to become energy independent, producing as much renewable energy as it consumes in its buildings. The company, which has invested around $1.7 billion in wind and solar since 2009, has also committed to owning and operating 314 offsite wind turbines and has installed 700,000 solar panels on its buildings.
Agnefjall told Reuters that the newest investment would "absolutely not" increase prices at the stores, adding that the investments will be "good for customers, good for the climate and good for IKEA too."
The IKEA Foundation's funding will go towards helping vulnerable communities build resilience to the impacts of climate change such as floods, droughts and desertification, Reuters noted. The funding will also go towards helping these nations adopt renewable energy technologies in homes, schools and businesses, IKEA said.
“We’re working toward a world where children living in poverty have more opportunities to create a better future for themselves and their families. Tackling climate change is critical to achieving this goal,” said Per Heggenes, CEO of the IKEA Foundation.
The IKEA commitment coincides with the Bonn Climate Change Conference, where world governments are preparing on a global climate agreement to be negotiated at the United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP21) meeting in Paris this December.
IKEA's announcement makes it clear that the private sector is not waiting for world governments to act. On the contrary, companies like IKEA are committing now to real climate action, including industry-changing investments in solar and wind projects.
Hopefully, IKEA's investment in the health of our planet and in at-risk communities will encourage other companies and governments to do the same.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
A powerful volcano on Monday rocked an uninhabited island frequented by tourists about 30 miles off New Zealand's coast. Authorities have confirmed that five people died. They expect that number to rise as some are missing and police officials issued a statement that flights around the islands revealed "no signs of life had been seen at any point,", as The Guardian reported.
"Based on the information we have, we do not believe there are any survivors on the island," the police said in their official statement. "Police is working urgently to confirm the exact number of those who have died, further to the five confirmed deceased already."
The eruption happened on New Zealand's Whakaari/White Island, an islet jutting out of the Bay of Plenty, off the country's North Island. The island is privately owned and is typically visited for day-trips by thousands of tourists every year, according to The New York Times.
My god, White Island volcano in New Zealand erupted today for first time since 2001. My family and I had gotten off it 20 minutes before, were waiting at our boat about to leave when we saw it. Boat ride home tending to people our boat rescued was indescribable. #whiteisland pic.twitter.com/QJwWi12Tvt— Michael Schade (@sch) December 9, 2019
Michael Schade / Twitter
At the time of the eruption on Monday, about 50 passengers from the Ovation of Seas were on the island, including more than 30 who were part of a Royal Caribbean cruise trip, according to CNN. Twenty-three people, including the five dead, were evacuated from the island.
The eruption occurred at 2:11 pm local time on Monday, as footage from a crater camera owned and operated by GeoNet, New Zealand's geological hazards agency, shows. The camera also shows dozens of people walking near the rim as white smoke billows just before the eruption, according to Reuters.
Police were unable to reach the island because searing white ash posed imminent danger to rescue workers, said John Tims, New Zealand's deputy police commissioner, as he stood next to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in a press conference, as The New York Times reported. Tims said rescue workers would assess the safety of approaching the island on Tuesday morning. "We know the urgency to go back to the island," he told reporters.
"The physical environment is unsafe for us to return to the island," Tims added, as CNN reported. "It's important that we consider the health and safety of rescuers, so we're taking advice from experts going forward."
Authorities have had no communication with anyone on the island. They are frantically working to identify how many people remain and who they are, according to CNN.
Geologists said the eruption is not unexpected and some questioned why the island is open to tourism.
"The volcano has been restless for a few weeks, resulting in the raising of the alert level, so that this eruption is not really a surprise," said Bill McGuire, emeritus professor of geophysical and climate hazards at University College London, as The Guardian reported.
"White Island has been a disaster waiting to happen for many years," said Raymond Cas, emeritus professor at Monash University's school of earth, atmosphere and environment, as The Guardian reported. "Having visited it twice, I have always felt that it was too dangerous to allow the daily tour groups that visit the uninhabited island volcano by boat and helicopter."
The prime minister arrived Monday night in Whakatane, the town closest to the eruption, where day boats visiting the island are docked. Whakatane has a large Maori population.
Ardern met with local council leaders on Monday. She is scheduled to meet with search and rescue teams and will speak to the media at 7 a.m. local time (1 p.m. EST), after drones survey the island, as CNN reported.
- New Evidence Suggests Ancient Egypt Was Brought Down by ... ›
- Climate Change Could Set Off Volcanoes - EcoWatch ›
- U.S. Has 18 'Very High Threat' Volcanoes - EcoWatch ›
- Scientists Discover 91 Volcanoes Hidden Under Antarctic Ice Sheet ... ›