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Ikea Launches GreenTech Investment Group to Develop Product Line

Ikea GreenTech investment for solar panels, alternative light sources, product materials, energy efficiency, and water saving and purification.

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Ikea moves toward selling solar panels, smart meters and other technology in its stores.

Sweden's global furnishings retailer, Ikea has launched an investment group to put €50 million into cleantech startups over the next five years, with the eventual goal of seeing solar panels and other clean technologies on sale in its stores or used by Ikea suppliers.

Ikea GreenTech plans to focus on five areas — solar panels, alternative light sources, product materials, energy efficiency, and water saving and purification. The group said the investments will be made in companies that offer commercial prospects within a four to five year horizon.

"We're already talking to companies," Johan Stenebo, managing director of Ikea GreenTech, told the Cleantech Group. He said Ikea is likely to make its first investments this year.

Ikea will look for really low prices, and they should be of very good quality. That's the only thing we look at, we would never look at anything else, we would discard anything else that doesn't fall into those boundaries," Johan Stenebo, managing director of Ikea GreenTech, said.

Over the next two years, Ikea plans to work with five or six companies, with a target of bringing the first products to market within three to four years, helping the startups reduce their prices and develop better products.

Ikea has more than 260 stores in 35 countries, and half a billion customers per year. The company designs its own furniture, and created the concept of flat packing its products to cut down on transportation costs. They work with 1,300 suppliers in more than 50 countries.

In 2007, Ikea introduced pre-fab homes sold along with a plot of land in the U.K. aimed at first time, low income buyers. Ikea's pre-fabs were started in Sweden in the 1990s. The U.K. houses have already been designed to be ecologically friendly, using renewable materials in the construction, and solar and geothermal for power and heat.


Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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