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  • I've spent my life working on sustainability.

  • I set up a climate change NGO

  • called The Climate Group.

  • I worked on forestry issues in WWF.

  • I worked on development and agriculture issues

  • in the U.N. system.

  • About 25 years in total,

  • and then three years ago, I found myself talking to

  • IKEA's CEO about joining his team.

  • Like many people here, well,

  • I want to maximize my personal impact in the world,

  • so I'm going to explain why I joined the team there.

  • But first, let's just take three numbers.

  • The first number is three:

  • three billion people.

  • This is the number of people joining

  • the global middle class by 2030,

  • coming out of poverty.

  • It's fantastic for them and their families,

  • but we've got two billion people in the global middle class today,

  • and this swells that number to five,

  • a big challenge when we already have resource scarcity.

  • The second number is six:

  • This is six degrees centigrade,

  • what we're heading towards in terms of global warming.

  • We're not heading towards one degree or three degrees

  • or four degrees, we're heading toward six degrees.

  • And if you think about it, all of the weird weather

  • we've been having the last few years,

  • much of that is due to just one degree warming,

  • and we need CO2 emissions to peak

  • by the end of this decade globally

  • and then come down.

  • It's not inevitable, but we need to act decisively.

  • The third number is 12:

  • That's the number of cities in the world

  • that had a million or more people

  • when my grandmother was born.

  • You can see my grandmother there.

  • That was in the beginning of the last century.

  • So just 12 cities. She was born in Manchester, England,

  • the ninth largest city in the world.

  • Now there are 500 cities, nearly,

  • with a million people or more in them.

  • And if you look at the century from 1950 to 2050,

  • that's the century when we build all the world's cities,

  • the century that we're in the middle of right now.

  • Every other century was kind of practice,

  • and this lays down a blueprint for how we live.

  • So think about it.

  • We're building cities like never before,

  • bringing people out of poverty like never before,

  • and changing the climate like never before.

  • Sustainability has gone from a nice-to-do

  • to a must-do.

  • it's about what we do right here, right now,

  • and for the rest of our working lives.

  • So I'm going to talk a little bit about

  • what business can do

  • and what a business like IKEA can do,

  • and we have a sustainability strategy

  • called "people and planet positive"

  • to help guide our business to have a positive impact on the world.

  • Why would we not want to have a positive impact

  • on the world as a business?

  • Other companies have sustainability strategies.

  • I'm going to refer to some of those as well,

  • and I'm just going to mention a few

  • of the commitments as illustrations that we've got.

  • But first, let's think of customers.

  • We know from asking people from China to the U.S.

  • that the vast majority of people care about sustainability

  • after the day-to-day issues,

  • the day-to-day issues of, how do I get my kids to school?

  • Can I pay the bills at the end of the month?

  • Then they care about big issues like climate change.

  • But they want it to be easy, affordable and attractive,

  • and they expect business to help,

  • and they're a little bit disappointed today.

  • So take your mind back and think

  • of the first sustainable products.

  • We had detergents that could wash your whites grayer.

  • We had the early energy-efficient light bulbs

  • that took five minutes to warm up

  • and then you were left looking a kind of sickly color.

  • And we had the rough, recycled toilet paper.

  • So every time you pulled on a t-shirt,

  • or switched the light on, or went to the bathroom,

  • or sometimes all three together,

  • you were reminded sustainability was about compromise.

  • It wasn't a great start.

  • Today we have choices.

  • We can make products that are beautiful or ugly,

  • sustainable or unsustainable, affordable or expensive,

  • functional or useless.

  • So let's make beautiful, functional, affordable,

  • sustainable products.

  • Let's take the LED.

  • The LED is the next best thing to daylight.

  • The old-fashioned lightbulbs, the incandescent bulbs --

  • I'm not going to ask for a show of hands

  • of how many of you still have them in your homes,

  • wasting energy every time you switch them on --

  • change them after this --

  • or whether we have them on the stage here at TED or not --

  • but those old incandescent light bulbs

  • really should have been sold as heaters.

  • They were mis-sold for more than a hundred years.

  • They produced heat and a little bit of light on the side.

  • Now we have lights that produce light

  • and a little bit of heat on the side.

  • You save 85 percent of the electricity with an LED

  • that you would have done in an old incandescent.

  • And the best thing is, they'll also last

  • for more than 20 years.

  • So think about that.

  • You'll change your smartphone seven or eight times,

  • probably more if you're in this audience.

  • You'll change your car, if you have one, three or four times.

  • Your kids could go to school, go to college,

  • go away and have kids of their own, come back,

  • bring the grandkids,

  • you'll have the same lightbulb saving you energy.

  • So LEDs are fantastic.

  • What we decided to do

  • was not to sell LEDs on the side marked up high

  • and continue to push all the old bulbs,

  • the halogens and the CFLs.

  • We decided, over the next two years,

  • we will ban the halogens and the CFLs ourselves.

  • We will go all in.

  • And this is what business needs to do: go all-in,

  • go 100 percent,

  • because then you stop investing in the old stuff,

  • you invest in the new stuff, you lower costs,

  • you use your supply chain and your creativity

  • and you get the prices down so everybody can afford

  • the best lights so they can save energy.

  • (Applause)

  • It's not just about products in people's homes.

  • We've got to think about the raw materials

  • that produce our products.

  • Obviously there's fantastic opportunities

  • with recycled materials,

  • and we can and will go zero waste.

  • And there's opportunities in a circular economy.

  • But we're still dependent on natural, raw materials.

  • Let's take cotton.

  • Cotton's brilliant. Probably many people

  • are wearing cotton right now.

  • It's a brilliant textile in use.

  • It's really dirty in production.

  • It uses lots of pesticides, lots of fertilizer, lots of water.

  • So we've worked with others,

  • with other businesses and NGOs,

  • on the Better Cotton Initiative,

  • working right back down to the farm,

  • and there you can halve the amount of water

  • and halve the chemical inputs,

  • the yields increase, and 60 percent of the costs

  • of running many of these farms

  • with farmers with low incomes

  • can be chemical imports.

  • Yields increase, and you halve the input costs.

  • Farmers are coming out of poverty. They love it.

  • Already hundreds of thousands of farmers

  • have been reached,

  • and now we've got 60 percent better cotton in our business.

  • Again, we're going all-in.

  • By 2015, we'll be 100 percent Better Cotton.

  • Take the topic of 100 percent targets, actually.

  • People sometimes think that

  • 100 percent's going to be hard,

  • and we've had the conversation in the business.

  • Actually, we found 100 percent is easier to do

  • than 90 percent or 50 percent.

  • If you have a 90 percent target,

  • everyone in the business finds a reason

  • to be in the 10 percent.

  • When it's 100 percent, it's kind of clear,

  • and businesspeople like clarity,

  • because then you just get the job done.

  • So, wood. We know with forestry, it's a choice.

  • You've got illegal logging

  • and deforestation still on a very large scale,

  • or you can have fantastic, responsible forestry

  • that we can be proud of.

  • It's a simple choice, so we've worked

  • for many years with the Forest Stewardship Council,

  • with literally hundreds of other organizations,

  • and there's a point here about collaboration.

  • So hundreds of others, of NGOs,

  • of forest workers' unions, and of businesses,

  • have helped create the Forest Stewardship Council,

  • which sets standards for forestry

  • and then checks the forestry's good on the ground.

  • Now together, through our supply chain,

  • with partners, we've managed to certify

  • 35 million hectares of forestry.

  • That's about the size of Germany.

  • And we've decided in the next three years,

  • we will double the volume of certified material

  • we put through our business.

  • So be decisive on these issues.

  • Use your supply chain to drive good.

  • But then it comes to your operations.

  • Some things are certain, I think.

  • We know we'll use electricity in 20 or 30 years' time.

  • We know the sun will be shining somewhere,

  • and the wind will still be blowing in 20 or 30 years' time.

  • So why not make our energy out of the sun and the wind?

  • And why not take control of it ourselves?

  • So we're going 100 percent renewable.

  • By 2020, we'll produce more renewable energy

  • than the energy we consume as a business.

  • For all of our stores, our own factories,

  • our distribution centers,

  • we've installed 300,000 solar panels so far,

  • and we've got 14 wind farms we own and operate

  • in six countries, and we're not done yet.

  • But think of a solar panel.

  • A solar panel pays for itself in seven or eight years.

  • The electricity is free.

  • Every time the sun comes out after that,

  • the electricity is free.

  • So this is a good thing for the CFO,

  • not just the sustainability guy.

  • Every business can do things like this.

  • But then we've got to look beyond our operations,

  • and I think everybody would agree

  • that now business has to take full responsibility

  • for the impacts of your supply chain.

  • Many businesses now, fortunately,

  • have codes of conduct and audit their supply chains,

  • but not every business. Far from it.

  • And this came in IKEA actually in the '90s.

  • We found there was a risk

  • of child labor in the supply chain,

  • and people in the business were shocked.

  • And it was clearly totally unacceptable, so then you have to act.

  • So a code of conduct was developed,

  • and now we have 80 auditors out in the world

  • every day making sure all our factories

  • secure good working conditions

  • and protect human rights

  • and make sure there is no child labor.

  • But it's not just as simple as making sure

  • there's no child labor.

  • You've got to say that's not enough today.

  • I think we'd all agree that children

  • are the most important people in the world

  • and the most vulnerable.

  • So what can a business do today

  • to actually use your total value chain

  • to support a better quality of life

  • and protect child rights?

  • We've worked with UNICEF and Save the Children

  • on developing some new business principles