IKEA, the Sweden-based home furnishings giant, is upping its Green efforts in a major way. Yesterday, the company announced the launch of GreenTech, a €50 Million fund that will invest in Green technologies over the next five years. The ultimate goal is to get green technologies integrated into the IKEA retail model—giving customers a one-stop shopping experience when it comes to building and furnishing their homes.
The fund will focus investments in five key areas: solar panels, alternative light sources, eco-friendly materials, energy efficiency, and water saving and purification systems. IKEA plans to work with five or six different companies over the next few years to create offerings that will help consumers green their homes and workspaces. Ideally, IKEA aims to bring new offerings to market in the next three to four years.
In an interview with CleanTech, the fund’s managing director, Johan Stenebo said:
“We’re already talking to companies. That’s certainly our aim to make happen. [GreenTech products should follow the same guidelines as IKEA's other products. They will have] really low prices, and they should be of very good quality. That’s the only thing we look at, we would never look at anything else, we would discard anything else that doesn’t fall into those boundaries. Whether it’s home furnishings or it’s GreenTech products.”
IKEA plans to keep its portfolio of investments relatively small—limiting it to about ten companies—so as to maintain an active role in the development efforts of each investment company.
GreenTech is an exciting new way for the company to dive headfirst into the Green space. It’s an innovative way for the company to keep its finger on the pulse of green technologies, and will hopefully be a powerful force in making Green a little more mainstream and affordable around the world.
IKEA’s sheer presence and clout in the retail landscape (it operates about 270 stores in 35 countries) will help add cost efficiencies to the commercialization of nascent green technologies. Imagine walking into an IKEA a few years down the road and purchasing everything you need to furnish and power your home. Solar panels, water treatment options, sofas, cabinetry, and maybe even the house itself. Let’s not forget IKEA’s partnership with BoKlok, through which it designs, furnishes, and sell pre-fabricated homes in Sweden and the U.K.
GreenTech should help cement IKEA’s status as the world’s foremost home furnishings company, especially as the world becomes increasingly concerned with minimizing human impacts on the environment and reducing reliance on non-renewable energy sources.
Keep any eye out for some exciting updates and announcements in the months and years ahead. This is certainly one to watch.