IKEA store facade

IKEA launches "accessible and affordable" subscription for renewable energy in Sweden

Furniture retailer IKEA is branching out to become a renewable energy supplier with its Strömma subscription service, which is set to bring wind and solar power to Swedish households from September.

Launched in partnership with Svea Solar, the scheme will see the companies purchase electricity on the European power exchange Nord Pool before selling it on without a surcharge in order to reduce the cost to the end-user.

IKEA is already in partnership with Svea Solar for its solar panels, which are sold in 11 markets.

Strömma scheme to be rolled out globally

IKEA says it aims to expand the Strömma scheme globally and create the world's "biggest renewable energy movement", in a bid to cut down the 10 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) that are generated by lighting, heating and cooling our buildings every year.

"We believe the future of energy is renewable and we want to make electricity from sustainable sources more accessible and affordable for all," explained Jan Gardberg, new retail business manager at IKEA's parent company Ingka Group.

As part of a Strömma subscription, households will pay a fixed monthly fee alongside a variable rate, both of which are as yet undisclosed.

An accompanying app will allow users to track their electricity usage as well as offering those who own IKEA solar panels the option to sell their excess energy back to the grid.

The initiative forms part of IKEA's wider mission to halve emissions from its value chain by 2030 and becoming net-zero by 2050, in line with the objectives set out in the Paris Agreement.

Emissions generated by customers while using IKEA products will also factor into this, according to IKEA Sweden's head of sustainability Jonas Carlehed.

"Our customers' use of our products account for around 20 per cent of IKEA's total climate footprint – from appliances, lighting and electronics such as speakers and so on," he told Reuters.

This was equivalent to 4.7 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) in 2020, making it the second-largest contributor to the company's carbon footprint after the extraction and processing of raw materials for its products.

Solar panels to eventually be offered in all markets 

To mitigate the customers' use impact on IKEA's climate footprint, the company hopes to offer solar panels in all of its markets by 2025, as well as eventually introducing the Strömma scheme across the board.

In the UK, climate activist group Architects Climate Action Network (ACAN) recently launched its Households Declare initiative, which hopes to tackle household emissions by lobbying the government to invest in retrofitting the country's existing housing stock.

Equipping buildings with solar panels and better insulation is vital if the country is to meet Paris Agreement goals, ACAN's Sara Edmonds told Dezeen.

"There are 29 million homes in the UK, and these contribute almost 20 per cent of total UK emissions," she said.

"That is a huge chunk of emissions that won't change without large amounts of financial and organisational investment."

IKEA was recently criticised by investigative research organisation Earthsight, which released a report claiming that pine used in some of its products comes from trees illegally felled in protected Russian forests.