Mission impossible? Making the IKEA catalogue production more sustainable and FSC certified

Inter IKEA Systems shows how their sustainability specialist orchestrated the world’s largest FSC print run.

Shortlisted in the 2degrees Champions Awards 2015

The background

Two years ago, Inter IKEA Systems' sustainability specialist, Matthieu Leroy, faced the daunting challenge of achieving full FSC certification for world’s largest annual print run, the IKEA catalogue, in less than three years.

To encourage paper and print suppliers to engage in the sustainability journey, IKEA designed an advanced bi-annual supplier reporting process and supporting tools. These have been the primary means to engage, encourage and communicate with suppliers, as well as to get critical buy-in from key internal stakeholders, such as IKEA paper and print purchasers.

The IKEA catalogue’s supply chain management has gone beyond “in depth” supply chain mapping to true engagement with paper and print suppliers, to incentivize and help them become more sustainable. Many paper and print suppliers globally want IKEA as a client. IKEA uses their strong position in these industries to motivate companies to walk further down the sustainability path.

What did we do

IKEA has designed a comprehensive sustainability reporting process where all catalogue suppliers have to report their compliance against:

  • IKEA’s code of conduct, IWAY, which sets out minimum social and environmental requirements that all suppliers must comply with;

  • Industry-specific requirements for the pulp, paper, print and digital suppliers.

Additionally, before being allowed to enter discussions with purchasers, suppliers also must report on many environmental KPIs (energy, water, waste, emissions) from the pulp, paper and print productions, as well as all transportation involved.

These data create a sustainability performance profile for each supplier. IKEA purchasers then use this profile to inform their purchasing decisions and select suppliers whose sustainability performance will contribute to IKEA’s own sustainability goals.

Matthieu engaged sustainability, reporting and industry experts as well as the suppliers themselves to develop the industry specific requirements and environmental standards as well as the processes and tools to capture and use the information.

We follow up compliance of all our suppliers towards our sustainability requirements and gather a broad range of environmental data from our supply chain. The dashboard helps our purchasers to select suppliers that support our sustainability goals.

The result

Because of these requirements, standards, processes and tools, the IKEA catalogue is now the largest print production ever to be printed on 100% Forest Stewardship Council™ certified paper (FSC™ Mix Credit) and to carry the FSC™ logo. This means the entire IKEA catalogue production chain, from forest to printer, is FSC certified to ensure more sustainable origins of the wood.

The original goal was to reach 100% with catalogue 2016 but, by building a thorough supplier selection process and working with the most responsible paper and print suppliers, this goal has already been met – one year ahead of schedule.

The personal pitch

Initially, the reaction to the plan was scepticism. IKEA’s ambition was seen as impossible.

The main objections were: 1) There is not enough FSC paper to fulfil our ambition. 2) It would be too costly. 3) Regardless of one and two, three years is too short.

However, all the objections turned out to be wrong. There was indeed enough FSC paper, the cost has not risen, and IKEA achieved the goal one year ahead of schedule. IKEA moved from 23% FSC certified paper to 68 % in the first year, and to 100 % the following year.

The impact of IKEA’s actions are global. There is no question that many suppliers are only sourcing FSC certified paper and improving the environmental KPIs because IKEA has asked them to. IKEA has proven themselves a leader in this space. Additionally, IKEA’s success can act as motivation to other companies and printing processes.

This year we reached a major milestone on our long term and strong commitment to sustainable forestry. The IKEA catalogue is now the largest print production ever to be printed on 100% Forest Stewardship Council™ certified paper (FSC™ Mix Credit).

Suppliers, contractors and solutions providers used

Deloitte is supporting IKEA in the supply chain engagement initiatives, including the improvement of the reporting process and engaging the supplier to help them develop corrective action plans to help suppliers improve their sustainability performance.

Except Integrated Sustainability developed the IKEA catalogue supply chain DataProbe to quickly and easily compare suppliers’ sustainability profiles.

Links to relevant supporting materials

Embedded content: https://ic.fsc.org/newsroom.9.866.htm
Embedded content: http://www.nepcon.net/newsroom/how-orchestrate-world%E2%80%99s-largest-fsc-print-run
Embedded content: http://gftn.panda.org/?230291/Worlds-largest-print-run-now-carries-FSC-label

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