The Companies Bringing Sustainability to Their Customers

Businesses can play a huge role in making sustainability more accessible to consumers. This week’s news shows how three major companies are making an impact and helping others do the same.

IKEA Plans to Sell Solar Panels to Customers

This month, IKEA US partnered with residential solar panel manufacturer SunPower to launch a new programme called Home Solar with IKEA.

Through this collaboration, members of the IKEA Family customer loyalty programme will be able to shop for SunPower’s solar panels at IKEA “with a goal of reaching other markets over time”.

The goal of the programme is to make clean energy available to as many people as possible by selling low-cost solar panels that not only reduce the buyers’ environmental impact but their energy bills too.

While initially the launch will be concentrated to just one state in the US but if all goes well it seems likely this will be expanded to other regions as well.

Javier Quiñones, IKEA U.S.’s CEO & Chief Sustainability Officer, said:

“The launch of Home Solar with IKEA will allow more people to take greater control of their energy needs, and our goal is to offer the clean energy service at additional IKEA locations in the future.”

SunPower CEO Peter Faricy added:

 “We are thrilled to deliver exceptional solar products to IKEA customers through a unique and simplified buying experience. Together with IKEA, we can help introduce the incredible benefits of solar to more people and deliver on our shared value of making a positive impact on the planet.”

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Lidl Launches ‘Smart’ Refill Station for Laundry Detergent

This week Lidl launched their innovative laundry detergent refill station in a bid to reduce the enormous amounts of plastic waste associated with retail.

The station was made in partnership with start-up Algramo who make the refillable bottles and fit them all with smart chips. The chip allows the refill machine to register and recognize the bottle and once it’s filled, the machine prints a ticket with a barcode letting them pay at the till.

Lidl said in a statement that the innovation should make refilling “simple and fast” without “any awkward spills created by manual refill machines”. Customers will also be able to save money, with refills costing 20p less than buying a new bottle.

The refill station will be trialled for six months at its supermarket in Kingswinford and dispense four products from Lidl’s ‘Formil’ laundry line, with plans to expand if the trial goes well.

Starbucks and Hubbub To Fund Innovative Reusable Packaging Schemes

In summer 2018, Starbucks UK started charging 5p to use single-use takeaway drink cups. The money raised through this scheme was then used in 2019 to create a ‘Cup Fund’ in partnership with environmental charity Hubbub, designed to invest in cup reuse and recycling innovations.

Now, the two organisations have announced their next big project: the ‘Bring it Back Fund’.

Again using money raised from the 5p cup levy, the fund will support pilot projects that help increase the uptake of reusable packaging in the food- and beverage-to-go sectors. Up to five projects will receive funding, with each set to receive between £150,000 and £300,000.

Starbucks UK’s general manager Alex Rayner said:

“As we work to make reusability the only option, long-term the fund will provide solutions that will benefit the entire food and beverage industry The launch of the fund will work in conjunction with Starbucks existing reusables work, including the 25p reusable cup discount, 5p cup charge, in-store recycling and new returnable cup program  to advance widespread adoption of reusables as we work to become resource-positive and reduce waste by 50% by 2030.”

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