IKEA pushes sustainable transport with bike giveaway

Swedish company gifts bikes to 12,400 US employees

IKEA US recently gifted 12,400 of its employees with a supremely practical holiday bonus — a bicycle. News of the event has spread throughout the world, but it’s only one example of the Swedish company’s compass of global stewardship.

The Swedish company’s gift is part of an effort to promote active transportation internally, which is part of a larger directive of environmentally friendly strategies to help create a better employees and customers life on an international scale.

"It's been a good year for IKEA, so what better way to celebrate our success than to thank our IKEA co-workers who made this happen,” said Mike Ward, IKEA's US president in a recent press release.

“We hope this bike will be taken in the spirit of the season while supporting a healthy lifestyle and everyday sustainable transport,” he added.

IKEA gave a nod to cycling as a sustainable form of transportation, and a way to reduce emissions and save money.

IKEA’s green movement does not stop with cycling. Stores in some countries offer a free shuttle service from surrounding urban areas, discounts on home delivery rates to customers who use public transit and a 15 percent rebate to employees for using public transit.

The company’s official list of environmental stewardship includes 77 solutions starting with bettering the life cycle of its own products, using recyclable flat packs designed to optimize loads during transport to reduce emissions. The introduction of The IKEA Way on Purchasing Products, Materials and Services (IWAY) ten years ago instills values within company workers that includes respecting the environment.

The list also includes minimizing the use of resources, not accepting illegally harvested woods and an IKEA Goes Renewable campaign, a movement toward creating 100 percent renewable energy buildings.

IKEA hosts an abundance of other environmentally friendly initiatives that include offering organic foods at its cafeteria-style restaurants, wasted food is reused as biogas for buses, the company offers a waste management manual, minimizes its use of chemicals, uses recycled plastic for some of its product lines, designs water-saving taps, low energy light bulbs and solar powered lamps.

The company also has a plan to improve life for people associated with its stores by offering education to cotton farmers about how to use less water and handle pesticides in safer ways, annual scholarships to students who study sustainable forestry at the Swedish University of Agricultural Science. And the Soft Toy Fund project that allows customers to contribute to the education of children in Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe.

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