Amid criticism around its unsustainable practices, IKEA steps into Bengaluru with redesigned sustainable bookcase ‘Billy’

Amid criticism around its unsustainable practices, IKEA steps into Bengaluru with redesigned sustainable bookcase ‘Billy’
The sustainability of any business lies in its ability to innovate with time while reducing long-term risks. The Swedish-founded IKEA has been the world's largest furniture store since 2008 and has thrived for nearly eight decades in a highly competitive business environment. But can they embrace the modern requirements of sustainable practices in countries like India?
For the past 30 years, IKEA has been a member of the INGKA Group in India, expanding over time with 48 vendors and around 4 lakh people employed in its extended supply chain.
After successfully establishing itself in India, IKEA will now be opening its doors to the people of Karnataka at its Bengaluru store in Nagasandra.
The showroom aims to offer a wide selection of around 7500 goods for your home furnishing needs.

A bid for sustainability, one bookcase at a time!

Ikea's Billy Bookcase is one of the most famous pieces of furniture globally. Introduced in 1979, it has sold over 160 million units in the last 43 years.
Now, in line with its sustainability initiatives, the Billy Bookcase has been redesigned with more sustainable materials, with fewer amounts of plastic and wood. The mega furniture enterprise has revealed a significant makeover of its iconic bookshelf as part of its mission to become a circular firm by 2030. The goal is to make it more repairable and have a reduced material impact.
The significant changes in Billy will include its wood facade, as it has replaced its wood veneer with foil paper. Ikea claims that it will be a zero-waste process, and the paper will be more resistant to chipping and scratching than the existing wood veneer.
However, it is essential to note that foil paper is typically coated in polyurethane, a plastic, to achieve this durability. Even though the new Billy eliminates some plastic—by wrapping foil paper around the shelf fronts instead of the plastic guards that currently protect its edges—Ikea still wraps its entire wood product in plastic to do its job.

Ikea’s woes around the supply chain


In May, Jesper Brodin, CEO of Ingka Group, of which IKEA is a part, met Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai at the World Economic Forum Meet in Davos, Switzerland. The meeting involved discussions around the extensive use of bamboo and other locally available raw materials in the manufacture of furniture.
After years of being in the monopoly of the furnishing market, Ikea has seen its fair share of controversies, especially around unsustainable practices in its supply chain.
Ikea consumes over 20 million cubic meters of wood a year. The low-pricing policy of the company has also faced criticism for promoting excessive consumerism. But IKEA is making efforts to turn carbon positive by 2030 and make use of more sustainable sources. But the challenges continue to get stiffer!
Recently, investigative reports revealed that a Russian firm in the supply chain of Ikea and several other Western corporations were involved in illegal logging. As per Earthsight, the company named ExportLes group is managed by Evgeny Bakurov, a local lawmaker in Siberia's Irkutsk Oblast region.
According to the report, Earthsight did present its findings to Ikea before the report's release and Ikea reciprocated stating that the wood had been "lawfully obtained" and denied any wrongdoing. However, it notified Earthsight in June that it had dismissed Bakurov's enterprises as suppliers sometime in the spring but did not say when. The corporation noted "concerning practises" without further explanation.
Ikea also stated that it would keep working to promote responsible global forest management and enhance forestry practices. But the growing environment and sustainability challenges in India and around the world demand even more responsible behaviour from companies of such high statureand influence.