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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

IKEA’s CEO reveals he started with the company in Pakistan

In an interview with Bloomberg, Ikea CEO Jesper Brodin reveals how he started his career with Ikea in Pakistan as a Purchasing Manager for the company. With a career spanning over 20 years, Jesper Brodin also talks about Ikea's aim to go climate positive by 2030.

In an interview with Bloomberg, IKEA’s CEO Jesper Brodin speaks on ‘Leaders with Lacqua’ about how his career progressed and his love of design.

With a career spanning over 20 years, Jesper Brodin started out at IKEA as a Purchasing Manager in Pakistan, and also reveals that he was the only applicant for the job. According to Jesper Brodin, the political turbulence in Karachi made it difficult for foreigners to seek employment opportunities in Pakistan; hence he was the sole applicant.

Upon being questioned about sustainability, Jesper Brodin stated that he realized while working in Pakistan, the company had a greater ethical responsibility beyond the stores’ four walls and came to the conclusion that the company needs to take responsibility for all the outcomes of its productions, including the well-being of its employees.

Read more: Op-ed: Ikea makes better cabinets than Trump

It still took the company 10 years to implement policies that would ensure the safety of the environment and its employees. Jesper Brodin further states that it was not an easy decision for the company as such an initiative was costly. However, he believes that sustainability is actually cost-effective.

“People assume (sustainability) should come at a premium, when it’s actually the opposite,” said Jesper Brodin, IKEA Group CEO.

As per Jesper Brodin, going green benefitted IKEA as the company reduced its prices and improved its quality, making it the popular choice for home furnishings.

He also asserted that IKEA would never hire a climate change denier.

Read more: Op-ed: Climate change cannot be denied

Going climate positive

In 2020, IKEA became the world’s 4th most valuable retailer, valued at $48 billion. IKEA has 445 stores all over the world and employees a workforce of more than 210,000 people. Annually, it publishes 200 million copies of its catalog, making it the world’s most distributed book.

Despite such a huge global reach, by 2030, IKEA aims to become completely climate positive by reducing more greenhouse gas emissions than the IKEA value chain emits, while still growing the IKEA business.

Currently, IKEA generates 0.1 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. The world’s largest furniture retailer also revealed in its latest sustainability report that its global carbon footprint across all scopes decreased 4.3% in absolute terms during the 2019 fiscal year.


Read more: Climate change: six positive news stories from 2019