Interview with Malin Pettersson-Beckeman, Head of Sustainability Communications & Engagement at IKEA

Malin Pettersson-Beckeman is Head of Sustainability Communications & Engagement at the Inter IKEA Group in Sweden. She was a speaker during parallel session 9: Sustainable lifestyles for the resource efficient and circular economy.

In your talk you have demonstrated a lot of improvements that IKEA was already able to implement like substituting meat balls with a vegetarian alternative and using more and more recycled polyester. Is IKEA still currently facing any challenges in offering sustainable products to their users? If so, which are those? Which strategies would/do help IKEA to overcome them?

Pettersson-Beckeman: Some of the areas that are key to support the IKEA transformation into a circular and climate positive business include increased availability of clean recycled materials and more harmonised legislation and common definitions supporting a circular society – such as making sure waste is considered a resource. We would also like to see an infrastructure that makes it easy for customers to repair, recycle and prolong the life of their products. In all these areas we are committed to working closely with decision makers across society. Within IKEA, we have created material roadmaps and circular design principles to help us reach our goals and have done a detailed assessment across the value chain and set ambitious goals to drastically reduce our climate footprint in absolute terms. Overall, we actively advocate climate action and the transition to a circular society.

Is there a topic you miss in the ERF forum’s agenda or in current political discussions about resource use?

Pettersson-Beckeman: It was a really good event, and a good agenda. We would say that in future the Forum could consider inviting even more businesses to join. In key related topics such as the biodiversity crisis and the role of nature in tackling climate change, businesses have a key role to play and are more actively taking part in the policy debate. These topics go hand in hand with the climate agenda and circularity, where the business community is already very active. Companies like IKEA recognise that now is the time to act and are helping to shape the strong momentum on these topics.

Which is your take-home message for the ERF audience?

Pettersson-Beckeman: Collaboration across sectors is needed to make sustainable living accessible, affordable and attractive to the many people. Sustainable living shouldn’t be a luxury for the few. By working together, we can make it the default option. It is a huge opportunity for the future.

Thank you for your time, Ms. Pettersson-Beckeman!

Conducted by Miriam Thiemann, University of Bayreuth, Germany