Ikea's journey towards sustainability on Sustainability Day2019-12-09
This year's Sustainability Day at the Business School centred to a great extent on the art of moving from talking to acting, turning ideas and plans into speed and action, since knowledge means nothing without the ability to use it. A case in point is Ikea, a company that tests different climate-friendly and lifecycle solutions for all products, from the book shelf Billy to the salad served in the restaurant.
It was the fourth Sustainability Day arranged by the Business School. Samuel Petros Sebhatu, senior lecturer in business administration and researcher at CTF–Service Research Center, was the project organiser of the event. He has worked on sustainability issues for a long time and leads the project PRME–Principles for Responsible Management Education at the Business School. The event started with a video of Greta Thunberg's emotional speech at the UN, which emphasised the urgent need for action.
"The Business School's strategic efforts include a clear ambition to educate our students to act responsibly in their future professional lives, both in terms of knowledge and to act and influence. I'm proud that Sustainability Day has become a tradition and a meeting-place for students, industry and teaching staff," says Martin Grimberg Löfgren, head of the Business school.
Fix, reuse and produce in a smart way
The programme included international perspectives as well as concrete examples. Daniel Haltia, circular business designer, Anny Edenvik, customer relations and Julia Bergman, recovery co-worker, who represented various parts of Ikea, presented the giant furniture company's efforts towards circular and sustainable operations.
"Like all others, Ikea is both a part of the problem and a part of the solution. We are optimistic and believe that we can contribute to change. We want to take the lead and cooperate with others on sustainable development – from "mass consumption to mass circularity". It's also about social sustainability and in Sweden we work with the Swedish Church to support financially vulnerable families," says Daniel Haltia.
His colleague Julia Bergman works hands on with sustainability and reuse at the department store in Karlstad:
"It's about fixing broken things in the store, for example, and ensuring that products can be completely recycled or are preferably totally produced from recyclable materials.
Lectures were also given by Marie Stenseke, vice dean of Gothenburg Business School and co-chair of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity & Ecosystem Services (IPBES), and by Marie-Therese Christiansson, vice dean of Karlstad Business School, together with the student Salman Yousaf-Grocer. The event was concluded with a panel discussion between Malin Lindquist Skogar, head of the sustainability unit at the Consumer Agency, Maria Hollander, CEO of The Paper Province, and Johan Sterte, vice-chancellor of Karlstad University and Bo Edvardsson, professor at CTF, Service Research Center at Karlstad University.
Sustainability Day is part of the Master's level course Sustainable Business and Management, but is open to anyone interested in such issues. The event takes place on the first Monday in December every year and the conference language is English.
Global goals conection
Sustainability Day is part of the project PRME. The Business School is a member of PRME's "The Nordic Chapter" together with Copenhagen School of Business, among others. The first Business School report was submitted in April 2019. The project is based on the UN Global Goals and Agenda 2030 and part of the quality assurance for the AACSB accreditation. At the Sustainability Day event in 2018, the participants were involved in selecting 4 out of the 17 global goals for the Business School to focus on in the next two years, namely no 4 Quality Education, no 5 Gender Equality, no 12 Responsible Consumption and Production and no 13 Climate Action.