Why Global Citizens Should Care
The UN’s Global Goal 12 for responsible consumption and production includes a commitment to cut down on waste and improve sustainability in supply chains. And some businesses, including Ikea — the world’s largest furniture chain — are already stepping up. Join our movement to protect the environment and take action here.

Ikea is a magical place.

Every visit prompts mild hallucinations: jaunts through living rooms give way to visions of roaring fireplaces; you see a Christmas banquet in every kitchen; and pine after fridges that dispense ice without having to put a knife to the roof of the freezer.

But a dreams factory must be filled with dreamers. While shoppers get lost in worlds of malm, pax, and trysil, Ikea ponders the future: switching its packaging to biodegradable material made of mushrooms, growing gardens in community rooms, rolling out rugs made by Syrian refugees, and building giant bath toys to clean up plastic pollution in London’s River Thames.

And its latest brainwave is all about sustainability.

The world’s largest furniture company will buy back certain furniture that you no longer want with Ikea vouchers worth up to half of the product’s original price; in an initiative that will run in 27 countries starting from Black Friday, on Nov. 27.

“By making sustainable living more simple and accessible, Ikea hopes that the initiative will help its customers take a stand against excessive consumption this Black Friday and in the years to come," the chain said.

The amount you get back will depend on the condition of the item. All you have to do is fill out a form, take them to the returns desk at any Ikea store, and the products will be evaluated for wear and tear.

Bookcases, desks, chairs, and dining tables — basically, all furniture without upholstery — will be included in the scheme.

Ikea hopes to have a dedicated section in all its stores for its second-hand venture after a successful pilot in Glasgow and Edinburgh, in Scotland. 

Anything that cannot be repaired and resold will be recycled.

It’s part of the company’s attempts to create a truly circular business model by 2030, meaning that everything made will be built from recyclable materials, creating furniture that lasts from high quality materials. At the same time, Ikea is updating its supply chain with a focus on repairing and reusing products.

The sustainability push is linked to Ikea’s mission to become completely carbon neutral across its business operations by 2030. It’s invested £2.9 billion into the initiative — including £171 million specifically for renewable energy and reforestation.

And the trend is catching on: furniture competitor John Lewis has brought forward its carbon neutral deadline to 2035, while guaranteeing that all its products will have a similar “buy back” or “take back” solution by 2025, according to its new 5-year manifesto published on Monday.

“Sustainability is the defining issue of our time and Ikea is committed to being part of the solution to promote sustainable consumption and combat climate change,” Peter Jelkeby, Ikea’s country retail manager in the UK and Ireland. 

“With the launch of Buy Back we are giving a second life to many more Ikea products and creating more easy and affordable solutions to help people live more sustainably,” he added. “It is an exciting step forward in our journey towards becoming a fully circular and climate positive business by 2030.”

Furniture that helps make waste and carbon emissions disappear — see? Just like magic.


Defend the Planet

Ikea Will Buy Back the Furniture You No Longer Want and Recycle or Resell It

By James Hitchings-Hales