IKEA stores owner Ingka plans recycling expansion

Furniture brand IKEA flags are seen next to a shopping mall owned by IKEA's malls arm Ingka Centres, on the outskirts of Stockholm

Furniture brand IKEA flags are seen next to a shopping mall owned by IKEA’s malls arm Ingka Centres, on the outskirts of Stockholm, Sweden August 23, 2020. Picture taken August 23, 2020. REUTERS/Anna Ringstrom Acquire Licensing Rights

LONDON, Sept 6 (Reuters) – The largest owner of IKEA stores is planning to expand its mattress recycling across Europe, but without changes to incentives it will remain cheaper to incinerate in many markets, the managing director of its investment arm said on Wednesday.

Ingka Investments’ Peter van der Poel told a panel at the Reuters IMPACT conference in London that a recycling initiative in the Netherlands would be expanded to markets including France, Belgium and Scandinavia.

“The thing here is to understand in many markets in Europe, still incineration is incentivised (over) recycling. So, we need to make sure that we also work together with the regulators and the governments to get the right incentives to do this, because we are ready to scale out,” he said.

Van der Poel said as it often remains cheaper to incinerate, without changes to incentives there would be no investment, which would be “totally destructive” for shifting to a society where recycling is widespread.

Ingka Investments is the investment arm of Ingka Group, which owns and operates the majority of IKEA stores.

Investing in what it calls the circular economy, which includes recycling, is part of Ingka’s sustainable investment portfolio, alongside renewable energy and forests.

Ingka has invested 4 billion euros ($4.30 billion) in renewable projects such as wind and solar farms out of 6.5 billion euros planned by 2030, and says it currently produces more electricity than it consumes.

It also owns large tracts of forest in Europe and North America, which will take decades to produce a financial return. Van der Poel says this is viable because Ingka has an investment horizon of “generations”, out to 100 years.

Van der Poel also told the conference that vast public subsidies for fossil fuels globally continued to impede investment into renewable energy, and that policymakers needed to “level the playing field” to allow the likes of Ingka to scale up faster.

($1 = 0.9309 euros)

To view the live broadcast of the Road to COP Stage, go to the Reuters IMPACT news page: https://www.reuters.com/sustainability/reuters-impact/

Reporting by Tommy Reggiori Wilkes and Emma Rumney; Editing by Simon Jessop and Jan Harvey

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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