The electrification of transport provides a huge opportunity for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, limiting transport-related air and noise pollution, and creating a better environment for people and the planet. This is especially true in city centres, where transport pollution is particularly acute. As a result, governments and authorities are implementing legislation around air pollution. A number of cities have committed to creating zero-emission areas by 2030, and several cities across Europe already have low-emission or zero-emission zones.

But the rapid change required cannot just come from governments passing laws. We all need to take action. We know that nearly 90% of people are willing to change their behaviour to fight climate change. The biggest barriers to taking more climate action include not knowing what to do, and feeling that others, such as government, business and other people are not doing their part.

At Ingka Group we are fully committed to taking action for the climate and making it central to our business. We believe our actions can inspire other companies, partners, customers and co-workers - all driven by our commitment to become even more affordable, more convenient, and more people- and planet-positive.

Accelerating our transition to EVs

As we intend to explore city centre locations and explore a growing interest for services such as home delivery, we are increasingly conscious of our impact on the environment. We have ambitious plans to grow but this has to be done responsibly and sustainably.

In June 2018 we, Ingka Group, the largest IKEA franchisee with 367 IKEA stores in 30 markets and 160,000 co-workers, announced a commitment to 100% zero-emission home deliveries by 2025 across our all our markets. Later the same year, we committed to accelerate the transition in five major cities; Amsterdam, Los Angeles, New York, Paris and Shanghai will all offer 100% zero-emission home deliveries by 2020.

I’m delighted to share that we've already been able to achieve zero-emission home delivery in Shanghai - a full year ahead of our 2020 goal. All of our home deliveries in inner city Shanghai are now completed by electric vehicles (EV). The transition to EVs and the focus on home delivery has also enabled IKEA Retail China to speed up its digital transformation, creating an even better customer meeting with shorter lead times, lower costs and improved precision. Collaboration and partnership with the community and service providers is an essential part of this success.

For us, this was an obvious switch and it should be for others. It is not just good for the environment and our customers - it is good for business. With expanding zero-emission zones in cities, it will be increasingly difficult for polluting vehicles to access city centres, so businesses like us will not be able to deliver products to these locations, and will lose access to customers as well as turnover.

Collaborating to make a real impact

I’m excited to be a part of driving this change, knowing it’s just the first step of what we will achieve in the future. Sustainability has always been core to our business and our values, but the immediate and significant threat of climate change will challenge us to find new and better ways to do business.

We want like-minded players - both the ones we work with today, like service providers and manufactures of vehicles, as well as new types of partners such as start-ups and NGOs - and customers to test out solutions that will help to prevent the worst impacts of climate change, while meeting the needs of our customers in new ways.

Our membership of The Climate Group’s EV100 initiative is an example of the kind of collaboration that helps us connect with other businesses driving forwards an electric transport future. As one of the founding members, we’re excited by how EV100 is bringing together businesses from across sectors and geographies to send a powerful demand signal for electric cars to the market.

I want to encourage all of you to join us in accelerating the transition to a low-carbon economy to boost investment, employment and innovation, and support the planet. We can only deliver this taking action together. Not only will this be good for the planet, but we believe it will also help us better serve our customers, making sustainable living a desirable choice that is affordable, attractive and accessible to everyone.

IKEA’s founder Ingvar Kamprad once said, “most things remain to be done”. His quote has never been more relevant than today amid the ongoing work to tackle climate change.