Circular Economy

IKEA's digital chief on how tech can tackle COVID and the climate: Meet The Leader

Barbara Martin Coppola, Chief Digital Officer, IKEA

Barbara Martin Coppola, Chief Digital Officer, IKEA Image: IKEA

Linda Lacina
Digital Editor, World Economic Forum
Our Impact
What's the World Economic Forum doing to accelerate action on Circular Economy?
The Big Picture
Explore and monitor how SDG 13: Climate Action is affecting economies, industries and global issues
A hand holding a looking glass by a lake
Crowdsource Innovation
Get involved with our crowdsourced digital platform to deliver impact at scale
Stay up to date:

SDG 13: Climate Action

Listen to the article

  • Subscribe to Meet The Leader on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.
  • Meet the Leader is a fortnightly podcast from the World Economic Forum that features the world’s top changemakers, showcasing the habits and traits effective leaders can’t work without.
  • IKEA's first-ever Chief Digital Officer Barbara Martin Coppola discusses one of the biggest digital transitions in the company's history - one that was accelerated by the pandemic.

When most of IKEA’s global retail locations closed temporarily during the pandemic, e-commerce became the cornerstone for the company nearly overnight. Absorbing that surge was possible thanks in part to a digital transition already several years underway.


Barbara Martin Coppola, the company’s first-ever Chief Digital Officer, was hired to lead this transition, one of the biggest in the company's history. The data and tech investments being made by Coppola, a Samsung and Google alum, are modernizing everything from supply chains to stores and the way its staffers work.

More robust data even gave the company a special window into how the pandemic was changing life at home for people around the world. These capabilities helped them serve ever-changing needs during a time of massive disruption and will help enable a special sustainability goal: To help more than 1 billion people live more sustainably by 2030.

"Sustainability is the biggest challenge of the decade," Coppola told Meet The Leader, "and technology very much can work towards, accelerating sustainability for inhabitants of the whole world."

Have you read?

In this episode of Meet The Leader, Coppola shares the leadership lessons she’s learned from the past year and why she believes in the power of both resilience and “stubborn optimism.”

She also shares the experiences that have prepared her to tackle big challenges - including early music studies that gave her the toolkit for tackling large, complex problems.


Learn more about the habits Coppola depends on, the book she recommends, and why it's important to humanise tech on this week's Meet the Leader podcast.


Listen and subscribe:

Find all our podcasts here.

Join the World Economic Forum Podcast Club on Facebook.

Don't miss any update on this topic

Create a free account and access your personalized content collection with our latest publications and analyses.

Sign up for free

License and Republishing

World Economic Forum articles may be republished in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Public License, and in accordance with our Terms of Use.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

Related topics:
Circular EconomyLeadership
World Economic Forum logo
Global Agenda

The Agenda Weekly

A weekly update of the most important issues driving the global agenda

Subscribe today

You can unsubscribe at any time using the link in our emails. For more details, review our privacy policy.

Which technologies will enable a cleaner steel industry?

Daniel Boero Vargas and Mandy Chan

April 25, 2024

About Us



Partners & Members

  • Join Us

Language Editions

Privacy Policy & Terms of Service

© 2024 World Economic Forum