New Delhi: Swedish home furnishing company IKEA has set itself a goal of using only renewable and recycled materials by 2030. IKEA is planning to get Indian farmers to sell them the straw that’s left after they harvest rice, instead of burning it. The MNC has proposed to turn rice straw into a new renewable material source for IKEA products. The ‘Better Air Now’ campaign was launched by IKEA with the aim to tackle the grave environmental issues facing citizens of northern India. India is one of the most polluted countries with 9 out of the 10 most polluted cities in the world are in North India. The burning of rice straw, a residue from rice harvesting that is traditionally burned, is considered as one of the major contributors to air pollution and smog in National Capital Region.
As the first step, the initiative will focus on the northern parts of India and the Delhi-NCR region, one of the world’s most air polluted areas with cities like New Delhi, Gurugram and Faridabad. Their goal is to expand the initiative to other areas of the country and to create a model for reducing air pollution in other mega cities of the world.
The health effects of air pollution are severe and we are determined to contribute to a solution. We know that burning of rice crop residue is a major pollution source and with this initiative we hope that will change. If we can find a way to make use of rice straw it would become a valuable source for the farmers instead of being burnt, which in the end also would contribute to better air for people, says Helene Davidsson, Sustainability Manager South Asia at IKEA Purchasing.
Ms. Davidsson says that IKEA is working closely with central and state governments in India, private companies, innovators, NGOs the UN, universities, suppliers and farmers as their long term ambition is to contribute to villages reaching zero stubble burning.
IKEA has been working on reducing air pollution from its own operations by phasing out hazardous chemicals and tackling air emissions. Earlier this year, IKEA also announced that they are developing air purifying curtains and air purifiers.
IKEA works continuously to contribute and enable healthy and sustainable living. One of our main priorities is clean air and the ‘Better Air Now’ initiative is an important step on this journey, says Lena Pripp-Kovac, Sustainability Manager, Inter IKEA Group.
The first IKEA product prototypes based on rice straw will be ready by the end of 2018 and the ambition is to start selling the products in IKEA India during the financial year 2019-2020, and gradually include more markets.
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