May 2014

IKEA, Sustainability and Measuring the Value of ‘Giving Back’ to Society

IKEA, Sustainability and Measuring the Value of ‘Giving Back’ to Society

“Sustainability will be a decisive factor in terms of which businesses will be here in 20 or 30 years time. It is the future of business,”

“Where once sustainability used to be about reducing waste and making more out of less, now, it is about understanding for better long term management.”

Both these statements come from a recent interview with Steve Howard, Chief Sustainability Officer of IKEA Group.  He is responsible for sustainability strategy, environmental and social performance and the impact of IKEA’s products. It is what IKEA calls its ‘People and Planet Positive Strategy’.

Steve’s thoughts sum up an increasingly common view that sustainable thinking is vital to an organisation’s long-term survival, as public, government and investor perceptions about business and its impact on society and the environment change.

Sustainability is no longer about ‘minimising the take’, but about increasing what a business gives back to its wider community.

For IKEA this ‘give back’ makes for impressive reading:  50,000 Euros of waste costs turned in to 40,000 Euros of net revenue; supporting customers to save 80m Euros in reduced energy consumption and creating 30 million hectares of responsibly managed forest worldwide.

As sustainability increases in importance, how well an organisation is perceived to be managing this aspect of its operations (in addition to its financial performance) is becoming vital to its overall reputation.

So how do organisations get a better understanding of how they rank in terms of their reputation for ESG (environmental, social and governance) in order to support their long-term management of reputation as an asset?

At Reputation Consultancy we use big data to evidence ‘Reputation Profile’, allowing organisations to see their reputation standing in each aspect of ESGF (environmental, social, governance and financial) performance.  We evidence the visibility, emotion and strength of association with those issues most important to you and your sector. We benchmark against competitors and show how perceptions change over time, even modeling the likely impact on reputation of future changes.

It’s our way of helping organisations to take care of their future, helping boards to understand the impact of their investment in sustainability. 

Get in touch to find out more.