On January 25th, 2018 Melissa Mirowski from IKEA shared the ways in which IKEA Canada practices holistic sustainability. These methods were shared with attendees from all professions in order to inspire and encourage a transition to holistic, sustainable practices within the workplace.
To start the presentation, Melissa reminded the audience that the Earth’s resources are under constant strain as our world’s cities, populations and global temperatures increase, emphasizing the importance of sustainability. As the presentation continued, the audience was intrigued to discover IKEA’s 3 main principles. The first principle described was their desire to encourage sustainable living in the homes of customers and employees through reduced waste, energy and water usage. Melissa explained that IKEA encourages sustainable living through the sale and creation of products such as LED light bulbs which accounts for 100% of light bulb sales. The second principle includes striving for resource and energy independence through take back programs and the use of biodegradable products. Melissa highlighted that IKEA uses 100% sustainable cotton for their products as a result of a partnerships with WWF. The third principle IKEA follows is helping to create a better life for people and communities through the IKEA Foundation and various donations.
After a brief question period, the audience listened closely as Melissa transitioned into a discussion revolving a circular economy at IKEA. Through intriguing videos and a detailed discussion, audience members learned how IKEA planned to “close the loop” through restyling, recycling and reusing products, building better relationships with customers and replacing resources that are taken. For the benefit of the audience, key concepts of circular design were outlined as follows; quality (life cycle of product/service), function, low price, sustainability and form.
Melissa concluded her presentation with a question period where attendees explored holistic sustainability and a circular economy further. It was evident that the audience was inspired by the work IKEA does to contribute to the planet and showed their consideration to Melissa after her closing to a powerful presentation. Overall, the presentation given by Melissa was both fascinating and motivating, leaving the audience excited to explore and transition towards a circular economy.