The Birmingham Post Business Awards is back and bigger than ever this month. Here, sponsor IKEA explains why it is supporting the environmental award

At IKEA, sustainability is a partof our roots.

Our company comes from the farmlands of Sweden where thin soil and harsh conditions meant people had to be innovative and strong-willed to make the most of limited resources.

We've grown a lot since our humble beginning in 1943, but our values haven't changed.

We believe that through our strategy "People and Planet Positive", we can build on our many years of working with environmental and social issues and play our part in meeting the world's biggest challenges, while growing our business.

Our strategy focuses on three areas:

* Inspire and enable our customers to live a more sustainable life at home – taking the lead in developing and promoting products that help customers save or generate energy, reduce or sort waste, use less or recycle water – at the lowest possible price.

* Strive for resource and energy independence – securing long-term access to sustainable raw materials, promoting recycling and using resources within the limits of the planet, producing more renewable energy than we consume.

* Take a lead in creating a better life for the people and communities impacted by our business – extending our code of conduct, ‘IWAY', throughout our value chain, being a good neighbour, acting in the best interest of children and supporting human rights.

This strategy is ambitious and far-reaching, covering all aspects of our business and value chain.

Our strong values and belief in innovation, togetherness and enthusiasm will ensure we can continue to meet future customer needs and People and Planet Positive will help us to drive innovation, transform our business, steer our investments and unleash new business opportunities.


Why we are proud to be sponsoring the 2014 Birmingham Post Business award:

Sustainable life at home: Residential solar panels are now on sale in all stores to customers, starting price from £3,700 or as little as £100 with a solar finance package, SolarLoan.

This investment can give homeowners a possible 12 per cent (£15,000) return over the lifetime of the system.

In 2012 IKEA introduced a national take-back service where we take an existing bed, mattress, sofa or appliance away and give it to a local charity or it will be disassembled and recycled with the lowest environment impact for a non-profit fee from £7.

We also sold over 1.2 million LED bulbs, helping reduce customers' energy bills by £8.5 million.

By 2016 all lighting sold by IKEA will be LED.

Resources and energy independence:

IKEA is the first major retailer to have installed free electric rapid charging points for electric vehicles in all 18 UK stores, which form part of Britain's Electric Highway.

IKEA invested over £10 million to install LED lighting.

We have 39,000 solar panels on 10 of the UK stores and four more IKEA sites will have solar panels this year.

We invested in 12 wind turbines in the UK and Ireland.

Together with our roof-mounted PVs, these generate energy to match over 30 per cent of our UK and Ireland operational energy requirements.

Since 2010 we have reduced our electricity consumption by 16 per cent and our target is a 30 per cent by 2020.

Average store recycling is at 86 per cent, with our target to reach zero waste to landfill by 2015.

People and Communities:

More than £2 million has been donated by IKEA to the Woodland Trust over a six-year partnership, with 330 hectares of new

Woodland planted and 1,800 tree packs issued for community groups to plant their own trees in urban settings.

Through our annual Soft Toy campaign, last year 612,000 euros were donated to UNICEF and Save the Children for education and children's rights projects around the world.