Ikea is considering a ‘take back’ program that is equal parts environmental responsibility and customer retention for eternity.
The initiative would allow customers to return their IKEA furniture to the Swedish retailer in exchange for store credit. IKEA, in turn, would either re-sell the second-hand wares or recycle them.
“If we can have an impact on people’s lives at home, we could have a huge impact on the environment,” said IKEA Canada president Stefan Sjostrand at the opening of a order-and-pickup location in Whitby, Ont. Since Canadian stores don’t yet have the capacity to take items back, the program is still several years away from fruition.
Interest in such an effort follows an announcement by IKEA head of sustainability Steve Howard last month that claimed appetite for home furnishings in Western countries has hit its peak. In 2013, Howard remarked that “sustainability has gone from a nice-to-do to a must-do” in a TED Talk that called on manufacturing giants to exercise eco-friendly practices.
The program is inspired by similar green initiatives at IKEA locations in France and Belgium. IKEA currently operates 12 stores across Canada, which drew in 25 million visitors – responsible for $1.8 billion in sales – last year alone.
Twelve more IKEA stores are expected to open in Canada over the next decade.