IKEA’s current journey towards more responsibly sourced food began in 2015, when the company introduced a vegetarian alternative to their famous meatballs, then moved its focus to responsible sourcing of fish and seafood.
With more than 680 million customers around the world, Ola Nyrinder, Sustainability Developer for the IKEA Food business, says that the company has both an opportunity as well as a responsibility to encourage more sustainable practices.
Assurance for customers around the world
“At IKEA we want to have a positive impact. We know that customers are becoming more and more interested in sustainability topics, and this includes knowing where their food comes from and if it was responsibly produced,” said Ola. “Seafood, particularly salmon, is an important part of Swedish and Scandinavian culture and heritage, it was a natural step to make sure that the seafood we serve and sell to our customers is sourced responsibly.”
But IKEA needed to be assured that its seafood was coming from responsible producers, and to provide the same assurance to its customers. This was not an easy task with over 430 IKEA restaurants operating in 52 markets around the world.
The ASC programme was able to help provide this assurance for farmed seafood, while also covering a diverse range of potential impacts from aquaculture.
“The most robust and credible programme”
“ASC seemed to be the most robust and credible programme for aquaculture,” said Ola. “Its standard has requirements covering both environmental and social issues, and Chain of Custody (CoC) certification also allows transparency and traceability to follow on along the supply chain.”
As a result, IKEA committed to only sourcing seafood that was either ASC or MSC certified. With so many stores and so much demand for salmon, meeting this commitment has required hard work and collaboration.
“We worked closely together with ASC to identify producers in different regions who were either certified or in the process of becoming certified,” said Ola. “The ongoing success of this commitment is thanks to the strong collaboration between IKEA, ASC, suppliers and business partners.”
The ASC logo is also important for IKEA, allowing it to communicate its seafood commitment to customers in an honest and credible way.
“Everyone at IKEA is fully committed to certified seafood, and the ASC logo helps us demonstrate to our customers that our seafood is responsibly produced,” said Ola.
Not just sustainability
“A big part of our commitment is that our individual stores should achieve MSC and ASC Chain of Custody certification so they can use the logos on their local menus. This is a big undertaking with so many stores, and one that is ongoing – we have recently certified stores in Morocco, Jordan and Kuwait, for example.” CoC certification requires that anyone selling ASC selling ASC seafood and using the ASC logo is doing so properly, with full traceability and transparency. This maintains the credibility of the ASC logo, which in turn helps companies like IKEA to demonstrate their own commitments to responsibly sourced seafood.
Work on achieving this CoC certification is ongoing, as is the IKEA Food Health and Sustainability plan. The ASC programme fits in well with this plan, according to Ola. “Our wider food strategy is not just about sustainability, it is also about promoting healthy living, being climate positive, and creating a positive social impact across our value chain. ASC certified seafood is an important contribution to achieving the ambitions set out in our plan.”