IKEA hires Climate Group founder as sustainability chief

IKEA has appointed the founder and chief executive of international NGO The Climate Group as its new chief sustainability officer. Steve Howard founded The Climate Group in 2003 and since […]

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By Kelvin Ross

IKEA has appointed the founder and chief executive of international NGO The Climate Group as its new chief sustainability officer.

Steve Howard founded The Climate Group in 2003 and since then has advised business leaders and governments worldwide on sustainability.

He was named Ernst & Young UK Social Entrepreneur of the Year in 2009 and was listed among the Independent on Sunday’s top 100 UK environmentalists in 2008.

Mr Howard will start work with the Swedish furniture giant in January and report to IKEA group president Mikael Ohlsson, who this week said: “Sustainability is a cornerstone in our strategic direction, highly prioritized and serves as a catalyst for further innovation and development within IKEA. Steve brings passion and impressive competence within the field of sustainability paired with strong leadership skills. We look forward to take new important steps the coming years.”

IKEA has a track record of sustainably sourcing materials and is also making significant strides with renewable energy.

This year it bought six German wind farms with a total capacity of 45MW, enough to power around 17 of its stores, and in 2009 it acquired four wind farms in France.

The company now operates 52 wind turbines generating 93MW of capacity – enough energy to cover 10% of the group’s electricity needs.