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Apr 042011

From Green Right Now Reports

When it comes to assessing its products with regard to sustainability, IKEA is about to start keeping score – literally.

The Sweden-based retailer plans to rate its merchandise with a scorecard, part of an emphasis on marketing more sustainable products. The IKEA Sustainability Product Score Card evaluates items based on 11 criteria, including use of less material, energy efficiency in the production phase, use of recycled content and improvements in transportation efficiency.

The goal: IKEA wants 90 percent of its sales of home items to be classified as “more sustainable” by 2015 (according to its own standards). To receive that distinction, products have to feature more sustainability aspects than previous versions or comparable goods.

“Today, we have little reliable data on the share of recycled and recyclable materials used for IKEA home furnishing products, but we know that the share of renewable materials remains fairly constant at around 70 percent as cotton and wood are our two most important raw materials,” the report states.

In 2010, the amount of wood certified by the Forest Stewardship Council that IKEA used rose from 16 percent to almost 24 percent, while the amount of cotton grown with sustainable practices more than doubled to 13 percent. IKEA plans to have 35 percent of its wood be FSC certified in 2012, and wants all of its cotton to meet the Better Cotton Initiative standards by 2015.

IKEA also aims to increase the efficiency of products that use energy or water by 50 percent, compared to products from 2008. For the moment, however, details are sketchy, since the company only says it wants to “significantly” reduce carbon dioxide emissions and water use.

Sending all waste anywhere but to landfills is another target for 2015, using a combination of recycling, composting, re-use and burning in facilities that turn waste into energy. IKEA claims its stores already keep 84 percent of trash out of landfills and its distribution operations are at 91 percent.