Energy independence by 2020?
The idea has been touted on the U.S. presidential campaign trail, but global home furnishings retailer Ikea is announcing plans Today to achieve that goal with solar and wind power.
As more U.S. businesses go solar, the Swedish retailer says it will rely on the sun and wind to produce all the power it uses at its stores and buildings worldwide within a decade. It plans to install more rooftop solar panels, erect wind farms and reduce its energy usage by replacing 1.2 million incandescent light bulbs with 85%-more-efficient LEDs (light-emitting diodes.)
"Each roof is a power station in the making," says Steve Howard, Ikea Group's chief sustainability officer, adding that the United States has "fantastic sun ... as good as anywhere in the world." Ikea already has solar panels atop 34 of its 38 U.S. stores and distribution centers.
Ikea, which announced earlier this month that it will sell only LED light bulbs in its stores by 2016, is not the first retailer to shoot for 100% renewable energy. Walmart has also set that goal (without specifying a timeline), and it ranks first among U.S. companies for solar power generation.
It's great a company is trying to get its own house in order, but its house is more than its buildings, more than 90% of the total energy that retailers use is embedded in the supply chain — the making of and delivering of parts and products.
It's about mitigating risks,referring to the uncertainties of energy prices and supplies.
Howard believes energy independence is "the right thing to do," not only because it's concerned about climate change but also because it wants to protect itself against higher energy prices in the future.
"Sustainability will decide the winners and losers in the business community," Howard says.