Last Sunday (5th June 2011) I helped to run a WWF stand at Ikea Southampton. WWF is the world’s leading conservation body, working towards safeguarding the natural world. They have been working with Ikea for ten years on a number of ethical initiatives and wanted to set up an information stand to recognise World Environment Day. I hadn’t volunteered for WWF before, but I had a great time, although at times it felt like I was running a WWF themed crèche for busy shopping parents!
There were plenty of WWF resources available for customers to take away. Indeed it proved very successful to pull the kids in first with a colouring competition, and let the inquisitive adults follow. WWF and Ikea have been working together in three key areas –
Forests – The Ikea-WWF partnership has 7 forest conservation projects in China, Russia, Romania, Bulgaria, Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia. They aim to increase the availability of wood from forests certified as responsibly and sustainably managed and to combat illegal logging. So far they have increased the area of certified forest in Russia from 3.3 million hectares to 20 million hectares.
Cotton – The partnership has 2 cotton conservation projects in India and Pakistan, with the aim of developing farming methods that reduce farmers’ use of water, pesticides and fertiliser from growing cotton. So far their farmers have had their income increased by 26%, using 39% less fertiliser and 47% less pesticides.
Climate – They are working towards steps to become a more sustainable business with a lower carbon footprint by 2020.
Ikea have had charities and other organisations in all month, creating awareness of a number of social and environmental issues, whether local, national or international. Having met the Ikea sustainability manager, I was hugely impressed by his enthusiasm and Ikea taking genuine steps to be more sustainable and encourage their customers to be more sustainable also.