September 01, 2007

IKEA Austria joins WWF climate group

Vienna | Ikea Austria wants to commit to cutting down on their CO2 emissions by 15 percent by 2010, and the World Wide Fund for Nature is willing to help. To set this out in writing Ikea Austria CEO Helen Duphorn signed a a three-year contract with WWF Austria CEO Hildegard Aichberger last week in Vienna.

Ikea is hereby the first company to join the newly founded WWF Climate Group in Austria. The WWF will monitor Ikea, which doesn't only want to save up on CO2 emissions by changing all company vehicles to environment-friendly cars, but is also promising to influence its customers to become more eco-conscious themselves. "We want to make use of the dialogue we already have with our customers to give them ideas as to how to consider the environment in their everyday lives", says Duphorn. For instance today only 6% of all Ikea Austria customers take public transport to Ikea. The furniture giant wants to double that number in the next three years, by encouraging buyers to take public transport where it's available and sponsor the erection of bus stops, etc. where Ikea warehouses aren't connected to the public transport network. Duphorn says she could even imagine reimbursing customers for the fares through vouchers or reductions, to award those that leave their car at home. Duphorn also mentions the possibility for those who come without a car to rent a (hybrid) Ikea van for a sensible price if they happen to have bought something big. "We've been working on this for years", explains Duphorn, "now we're intensifying our efforts in this area". Official plans don't exists yet, but Duphorn says the circumstances of public transport differ from city to city, unfortunately as does the willingness for cooperation by municipalities.

WWF expects to set an example for other companies. "We want to show that environmental-friendly behaviour is not opposed to making a profit", says Aichberger. According to her the WWF is already in talks with other companies, though contracts have not been signed yet, which is why Aichberger won't name any at this point. But she's "confident, that come January 2008 we will be able to present a couple more companies that have joined the Climate Group".

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