Ikea will no longer sell halogen and ‘energy-saving’ compact fluorescent bulbs from September, when it switches all its lighting sold globally to super efficient light-emitting diodes (LEDs).
The move affects over 2.3 million bulbs sold by the Swedish furniture chain each year in the UK and an undisclosed number in its markets elsewhere in Europe, North America, Asia, Africa and Oceania.
The EU was expected to ban certain halogen bulbs from sale from September 2016 but earlier this year delayed the ban until 2018, saying LED technology would not be ready in time.
Steve Howard, Ikea’s chief sustainability officer, said that three years ago, shoppers experienced ‘price tag shock’ with LEDs, but now their quality and cost had reached a tipping point, and the time was right for the switch.
“If it’s right for the customer, it’ll be right for Ikea. If you can produce a product that can last 25-30 times longer and save you 85% of the energy and have fantastic light quality, then that’s the right thing for the customer.”
He said the company’s scale had enabled it to reduce the cost of the plastics and other components of the bulbs. It becomes the first retailer in the UK to sell only LEDs for lighting.
As well as using much less energy than halogens – around 85% – and even less than CFLs, LEDs last longer, with an average lifespan of around 25,000 hours. Ikea estimated that a household switching from 10 incandescent bulbs – which were banned from sale in Europe in 2012 – would save £300 a year on energy costs by switching to LEDs.
“If you can help customers save energy and help do something towards climate change, that’s the right thing to do,” Howard said.
He said that while households and businesses had to be engaged in tackling climate change, they could only do so much and that governments had to act too.
“We’ll keep going with our direction regardless. But we recognise not every business is responding [to climate change], so at a national level we need strong regulation.
Howard said it was important that government agreed a strong climate change deal at the later this year. “Business can do a lot, but we need good policy frameworks from governments, so Paris is important,” he said.
In June, Ikea said it would spend €1bn ($1.13bn) on renewable energy and measures to help poorer countries adapt to climate change. The company has said that it will generate all of the energy used in its shops and factories from clean sources by 2020.
Excerpt from The Guardian