During a recent interview I was asked about notable achievements of which I felt proud and it caused a moment of pause; I am not often lost for words!

But I realised that my recent involvement with IKEA as part of the work I delivered for Premier Sustain (now Crown Workspace) had made me reflect on what a small team had achieved to get this international recognition.

You know you are doing something right when the world’s largest manufacturer of furniture pays you a visit…

In 2018, IKEA asked if it would be possible to send over a team from Sweden to visit The Renew Centre. They wanted to find out more about what we had been doing in terms of office furniture repair, refurbishment and remanufacturing. We were excited to find out how we could inspire and teach this icon of household design.

The team that are helping to lead IKEA’s circular mission were enthused to hear our story of developing circular services, questioning and challenging what we do and why we do it.

The Renew Centre team was asked to look at some IKEA furniture to learn how they would approach the remanufacturing and refurbishing of each item. The upholstery team showed the visitors how this process could be made easier and more efficient, relishing the opportunity and challenge of reviewing the refurbishment capability of IKEA products with those responsible for designing them.

Such was the success of the visit that a reciprocal trip was organised.

Presenting an ‘IKEA Talk

In January 2019, I travelled to Sweden with Director Phil Oram to share the Renew Centre’s findings with the wider IKEA team and to learn more about the design and development process that sits behind the brand’s success.

As part of the visit, I presented an ‘IKEA Talk’, sharing the Premier Sustain story and explaining the lessons we have learnt on our circular services journey. In the spirit of sharing, we reflected on what had gone right – and not so right – on this journey, in the hopes of inspiring this global organisation to perfect the details in their designs and ensure that their furniture is built to last.


Changing Attitudes

Resource consumption must change: it’s up to business to accelerate this change so that consumers on all levels can move towards a more circular economy.

Businesses of all sizes have a role to play in the movement because innovation can – and does – come from all sources.

Global giants have real power to expedite this change and sharing and communicating with innovators is key to success, benefitting us all. Meeting IKEA was an inspiration on both sides and it is highly rewarding to see such a huge player making a positive step forward.

So being involved with this was something that I considered a notable achievement, we all have our role to play in helping deliver more sustainable business models and I hope through this work I have helped have a meaningful impact.

If you are interested in understanding about how your organisation could change business models to become more responsible and deliver profitable socially and environmentally sound outcomes then please get in touch.