Idea

4 Important Lessons That Could Help Save Our Planet

Michelle Ahern Bevans

While the impact of the global climate crisis continues to be felt heavily here in Australia, some individuals and businesses refuse to just wait around and do nothing. In fact, businesses like IKEA Australia see it as their responsibility to act now and enable change for a sustainable future. “At IKEA, our vision is to create a better everyday life for our customers, co-workers and partners. We only have one planet with limited resources, so we choose to do things differently to ensure our future is brighter than ever before” says IKEA CEO and Chief Sustainability Officer Jan Gardberg.

Not afraid to lead on issues that impact society, IKEA recognises the role that businesses have in creating change and are engaging in this constructive and purposeful discussion through their ‘People and Planet Positive Strategy.’ The strategy aims to influence key priority areas of: Circular and Climate Positive, Healthy and Sustainable Living and Fair and Equal.

“All change in society begins at home. We know our customers care deeply about our planet, so we will enable and inspire them to take climate action in their own homes.”

Which is why IKEA Australia, with the proud support of TEDxSydney, is launching the “People, Planet and Purpose”™ mini-series which is a 4 part series showcasing Australian leaders discussing the biggest obstacles to saving the planet. 

So what can we learn from IKEA and the “People, Planet and Purpose”™ mini-series?

 

1: Trust is fragile

“Trust is fragile – It is easily won but even easier to lose, especially in crisis.” And with decades of research on who and why Australians trust, CEO of global communications firm Edelman – Michelle Hutton, should know. In the first episode of the mini-series, IKEA Australia CEO Jan Gardberg and Michelle Hutton discuss the role of trust in a crisis and in the future of our economy and climate. Hutton explains that there are only 2 key drivers of trust in business: Competence and Ethics, with most businesses typically focusing on one and not the other. Understanding the value of both and recognising that the ethics of an organisation are just as galvanising for customers as quality products and services is critical.

 

2: Young diverse voices are key to future-proofing Australia

At IKEA children are the most important people in the world. Young leaders have inspired an entire generation to speak up on issues and act for change and UNICEF Young Ambassador, Daphne Fong is a great example of this. As Fong discusses with IKEA Australia Country Sustainability Manager, Melissa Miller the critical role of young voices in key policy-making in Australia she urges that “we need to ensure that we are listening to a diverse range of young people – indigenous people, young people of colour, people from linguistically diverse backgrounds” to allow young voices to travel up through our communities and into the domain of politicians and key policy makers. 

 

3: Business need a ‘togetherness’ revolution

‘TILLSAMMANS’ – Swedish for ‘Togetherness’ is at the heat of the IKEA culture. This means trusting each other, moving in the same direction and of course having fun! CEO of Unilever Australia, Nicole Sparshott speaks to this with Unilever’s  Clean Future initiative which is a carbon revolution dedicated to removing all carbon in laundry products that is derived from fossil fuels and replacing it with renewable carbon over the next 10 years.

“Business needs to work cooperatively for a cleaner stronger economy.”

 

4: The future is circular

IKEA is transforming its operations to be 100% circular by 2030. It’s not just good business, but also necessary to support a climate positive future. 

The disruption to sustainability agenda in Australia due to COVID-19 is unprecedented. From sustainability experts who have caught the virus, to initiatives that have lost funding and businesses delaying decisions around sustainability during uncertain times. But the upshot is that we have had the opportunity to see into the future at what cities look like without as much air and noise pollution. So now is the perfect opportunity to start putting funding in for a cleaner economy. Being pro-active with sustainability prevention measures. “And by investing in that we create new jobs, create new innovation and create new opportunities that will minimise the impact of COVID and also minimise the impacts of climate change at the same time” says founder of Planet Ark and RE100, Jon Dee.

 

Find out more about IKEA’s journey to create a better – and more sustainable – everyday life. 

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