IKEA addresses climate, public health impacts of maritime shipping

The Ship It Zero coalition commends IKEA for addressing maritime shipping, while prioritizing sustainability and public health as reflected in the company’s FY23 Sustainability and Climate reports released January 25. 

IKEA’s commitments include reducing the absolute greenhouse (GHG) emissions from logistics services by 80% (compared to baseline FY19) by 2030, building upon IKEA’s previous commitment to exclusively purchase zero-emission ocean transport services by calendar year 2040. 

IKEA also takes credit for being among the first members of the Zero Emission Maritime Buyers Alliance (ZEMBA), which aims to speed up the transformation of the ocean shipping industry towards zero-emission solutions. 

Last fall, IKEA earned 89/100 points and a grade of B+ in Ship It Zero coalition’s Shipping Decarbonization Report Card, making IKEA the highest-scoring retail company. 

Decarbonizing the shipping industry is urgent. The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a warning that the window to maintain the Paris Accord’s 1.5 degrees C (2.7 degrees F) global heating trajectory is closing. 

Global climate emissions must start declining by December 1, 2024, and be cut 43% from 2019 levels by 2030. This is why Ship It Zero is demanding major retailers lead the way by sailing their goods on zero-emission ships by 2030. 

In July 2023, the United Nation’s shipping regulator, the International Maritime Organization (IMO), passed a Revised Greenhouse Gas strategy for the shipping industry, including 30% and 80% emissions reduction targets for 2030 and 2040, respectively. These targets are not nearly aggressive enough to put the industry on track to stay within 1.5 degrees Celsius of global heating set by the Paris Accord. 

IKEA reported that one of the key movements included a 22% reduction of the total IKEA climate footprint in absolute terms compared to baseline year FY16. Inter IKEA Group announced a new goal to commit to reduce absolute greenhouse gas emissions (GHG emissions) the IKEA value chain (scope 1, 2 and 3) by at least 50% by FY30, from FY16 base year. This includes a reduction of at least 50% for scope 3 GHG emissions.

IKEA has made many commitments to addressing climate change and reducing climate emissions, including: 

  • Recognizing fossil fuels as the root causes of climate change and calling out for the complete phase-out of fossil fuels; committing to absolute greenhouse gas reductions versus “net zero”; and, avoiding carbon offsets to meet climate goals.
  • Reducing emissions from product transport and logistics by 70% in relative terms compared to FY17; committing only to purchase zero-emission ocean transport services by 2040; highlighting its commitments to the Zero Emission Maritime Buyers Alliance (ZEMBA) and to Cargo Owners for Zero Emission Vessels (coZEV); and, setting goals and strategies to reduce, replace and rethink decarbonization throughout the transport and logistics supply chain. 
  • IKEA provides data in its Climate Report F23 on its maritime shipping and landing shipping and on its air pollution.
An IKEA store at Portland, Oregon, United States. Photo credit: iStock/ artran

The global shipping industry accounts for 3% of global climate emissions, more than global air travel. If shipping were a country, it would be the world’s sixth largest climate polluter. But since maritime shipping negotiated itself out of the U.N. Paris Agreement, the effort to reduce emissions in the industry has been slower than in other sectors.

Approximately 90% of the world trade is transported by sea, and current business-as-usual scenarios project emissions will grow up to 50% over 2018 levels. While the IMO noted increased ship size and operational improvements aimed at creating better fuel efficiency have resulted in a decrease in emissions intensity, annual absolute emissions are still increasing.

Top photo credit: iStock/ Alexander Farnsworth

Make seafaring great again

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An overwhelming 80 percent of global goods are transported by ships and this fact places the maritime industry at the

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