As a company with a strong ambition towards a better future, IKEA has integrated sustainability into every aspect of its business, sourcing many of its raw materials from certified farms. All of its coffee is UTZ certified and the company is committed to sourcing 100% UTZ certified cocoa in the IKEA chocolate range by 2015 and will be adding tea. IKEA engages consumers with its sustainability efforts by clearly communicating its choice for sustainable sourcing.

UTZ caught up with Anders Lennartsson, Sustainability Manager for IKEA Food Services, to talk about why traceability matters and how being transparent has had a positive effect on business.

IKEA, like UTZ, has a strong ambition towards a better future. Can you tell us a bit about why you decided to embark on that journey, and how it’s going?

“IKEA has, for a long time, been committed to creating positive impact for people and planet. Based on our vision of creating a better everyday life for the many, we think sustainable and healthy food should not be a luxury but affordable for the many. We have already taken many good steps in that direction but have now decided to substantially increase our efforts in the years to come.”

IKEA cocoa tracer

How is UTZ helping IKEA to achieve its sustainability goals?

“Already in 2008 IKEA decided to only serve coffee that is responsibly produced and UTZ certified coffee was chosen. Since then we have also added UTZ certified cocoa in our chocolate bars and currently we are working towards UTZ certified tea.

UTZ certified helps us offer affordable coffee and chocolate which have been responsibly produced with care for people and the environment. Besides, the UTZ traceability system gives us and our customers added value.”

Both the coffee served and sold at IKEA and the cocoa in your chocolate bars is traceable. Why is that important to you?

“Consumers have an interest in knowing how and where the products have been produced. The IKEA/UTZ online tracer for coffee and chocolates provides information on where and who have grown the coffee or cocoa beans in the specific product the customer has purchased. We think it is important to be able to provide this information.”

IKEA has invested a lot of time in employee and consumer communication about your choice for sustainable sourcing. Being transparent about what you are doing must have a positive effect on the company. Can you provide some insight into how that’s been for you?

“Being transparent about progress as well as challenges is important to us. Besides our customers, co-workers and other stakeholders expect companies like IKEA to be open with what we are doing. We are well aware of that many things remain to be done and being open about it creates understanding.”

To learn more about IKEA’s sustainability journey, click here.