After initial environmental issues like the highly publicized formaldehyde scandals in the early 1980s and 1992, IKEA took a proactive stance on environmental issues and tried to prevent future incidents through a variety of measures. In 1990, IKEA invited Karl-Henrik Robèrt, founder of the Natural Step, to address its board of directors. Robert's system conditions for sustainability provided a strategic approach to improving the company's environmental performance. In 1990, IKEA adopted the Natural Step framework as the basis for its environmental plan. This led to the development of an Environmental Action Plan, which was adopted in 1992. The plan focused on structural change, allowing IKEA to "maximize the impact of resources invested and reduce the energy necessary to address isolated issues." The environmental measures taken, include the following:
Replacing polyvinylchloride (PVC) in wallpapers, home textiles, shower curtains, lampshades and furniture—PVC has been eliminated from packaging and is being phased out in electric cables;
minimizing the use of formaldehyde in its products, including textiles;
eliminating acid-curing lacquers;
producing a model of chair (OGLA) made from 100% post-consumer plastic waste;
introducing a series of air-inflatable furniture products into the product line. Such products reduce the use of raw materials for framing and stuffing and reduce transportation weight and volume to about 15% of that of conventional furniture;
reducing the use of chromium for metal surface treatment;
limiting the use of substances such as cadmium, lead, PCB, PCP, and Azo pigments;
using wood from responsibly managed forests that replant and maintain biological diversity;
using only recyclable materials for flat packaging and "pure" (non-mixed) materials for packaging to assist in recycling.
introducing rental bicycles with...