Ikea Foundation pledges 1 bn euros to reduce emissions

Stockholm, Sweden: The Ikea Foundation, part of the ownership structure of the Swedish furniture giant, pledged on Wednesday to donate one billion euros ($1.2 billion) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The funds, to be allocated as grants over five years, will target programs that can achieve results in the short term.

"The goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as quickly as possible," Per Heggenes, chief executive of the Ikea Foundation, told AFP.

"If you reduce a tonne of greenhouse gas emissions this year, it's much more efficient than if you do it in five years," Heggenes added.

The announcement came on the eve of a virtual climate summit hosted by US President Joe Biden that is meant to build momentum for action ahead of the UN climate meeting in November.

The Ikea Foundation's pledge of 1 billion comes in addition to the 500 million euros ($600 million) it has already committed to climate initiatives over the next five years, it said.

While no specific project had been singled out for the funds, Heggenes noted as an example the need to replace hundreds of thousands of diesel generators used in low-income communities in many developing countries and to create energy grids powered by renewable energy.

"We want organizations to come forward and say: 'This is what we wanted to do on a large scale but we never had the financing to do it," Heggenes said.

The foundation said it would also be interested in projects together with different partners to enable even more funds to flow into projects, in part by helping to "de-risk investments" struggling to get off the ground.

The Ikea Foundation is independent of Ikea's retail business but is funded by the INGKA Foundation, which in turn owns the majority of the furniture giant's stores.

Ikea has pledged to reduce its absolute emissions 15 percent from 2016 levels by 2030 despite its business growth, as well as striving to use 100 percent renewable energy.

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