The industry connects with every person in some way and to remain competitive and profitable the industry is constantly required to adapt to changing nature of global marketplace. Society expects more from companies on the social-environmental dimension than in the past. Corporations are considered responsible for social damages in areas such as health, safety and human rights. On a wide scale, social, environmental and economic needs are considered the three pillars of sustainability.
It is not an easy task as it involves a great deal of complexity related with the issues involved but it is to ensure responsible and ongoing success.
“Sustainable living has to be easy, and the most natural choice.” (Malin Pettersson-Beckeman, Sustainability Communication Manager, Inter IKEA Group)
IKEA’s invested in sustainability throughout its entire business history. Where possible, IKEA uses waste from one manufacturing process in the production of other items. Moreover, most IKEA stores provide collections points for customers to return waste, such as discarded packaging or spent batteries.
IKEA also tends to repair products rather than simply discarding them. Those parts can be found and bought separately for discounted prices in designated areas of the store. The Swedish company has sourced 100 per cent of its wood from sustainable foresters working closely with WWF and 100 per cent of its cotton from farms that meet the Better Cotton standards. More sustainable cotton means less water and chemicals usage, helping areas that are subject to erosion and water scarcity. Last but not least, IKEA has more than 1 million solar panels powering its stores and aims to convince the consumers to take the same path.
Their goal is to be climate positive by 2030.
Taking a look at Nike, they didn’t always have the best reputation when it comes to sustainability, but they have made a lot of changes.
According to them, reducing waste is best done by designing it out of products from the start. The company is using their own “Materials Sustainability Index” (MSI) which considers and scores the energy, water and chemicals used to make materials, as well as the waste generated. Together with the “Footwear Sustainability Index” (FSI) and the “Apparel Sustainability Index” (ASI), they receive an environmental profile which their teams can use throughout the design and development process.
Additionally, Nike introduced the option “Reuse-A-Shoe” at their stores; a sneaker recycling procedure where consumers can drop off their old footwear which then will be transformed into “Nike Grind material”, used in performance products and sports surfaces.
Another important key factor for Nike is their process of eliminating waste to landfill and incineration. More than half of their footwear factory waste is recycled by separating waste for recycling and using waste management centers that process and sell the material to other businesses.
When we talk about sustainability strategies, we can’t let Nestlé out of this. It is not hidden that Nestlé made one of their goals to protect nature, as their logo consists of a bird feeding her offspring. Nestlé published the “Nestlé Policy on the Environment” in 1991 to state its commitment on environmental issues. They started with reducing environmental footprints and costs, reduced energy consumption, fewer greenhouse gas emission and less water usage. Along with reducing the environmental impact of their packaging with a reduction of over 500 million kg to date, they promote recovery and recycling by always using recycled materials. This procedure is done by considering several indicators in their process: carbon footprint, water usage, non-renewable energy use and solid waste generation. In short, basic principles in Nestlé are in favor of long-term development over short-term profits.
In conclusion, Nestle, Ikea and Nike have implemented several methods and procedures to meet the needs of sustainability by reducing the impacts on the environment. Many actions done generate a multiplier effect: gaining sustainable development in the end as a whole. Therefore, an integration to sustainability as of those companies is an important and successful method of managing environmental and social risk.
Despite of them having the same goal, these companies have shown that sustainability can be involved in many different ways and without setbacks in profit – exactly the opposite: staying ahead of the curve over the long-term is the result.