Climate activists are demanding Dutch-headquartered furniture designer and retailer Ikea rethink its emissions reduction targets and transition to using zero-emissions vessels for its shipments by 2030.
Representatives from the Ship It Zero coalition and local community members handed in a petition signed by about 20,000 shoppers at Ikea Delft head office in the Netherlands on Thursday.
Nicole Caodie, who is the action coordinator for Pacific Environment, one of two environmental organisations leading Ship It Zero, said: "We are demanding Ikea invest in wind, batteries and 100% renewable hydrogen-based fuels for its shipping. These are 100% carbon zero and expected to become available by 2024.
"For prompt emissions reduction they can demand ships slow their speed immediately," she added.
Caodie told TradeWinds that Ikea can work to put pressure on the shipping companies that it is working with to slow down their vessels and then make the transition to other technologies.
She said most Ikea customers have not considered how their products get to them.
Caodie said that with the combination of new technologies it is "plausible and very doable" for these big companies to choose to invest in sustainable shipping and go carbon neutral by 2030.
"That is not out of the question," she said. "But it will take a multi-disciplinary approach in terms of using the battery, the sail and hydrogen shipping."
She said Ikea is welcoming their action, wants to "move in the right direction" and is open to Ship It Zero coming to speak to its employees.
But the coalition is adamant that Ikea's ambition for a 70% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions for transport by 2030 does not go far enough.
"We need it to be 100% by 2030 and Ikea needs to send out the market signal and 70% is not a good enough market signal," Caodie said.
Kendra Ulrich, who is shipping campaigns director for Stand.earth, which is also spearheading the coalition, described Ikea and other major retail brands as "the lynchpin in the massive, fossil-fuelled ocean shipping industry, which can wield enormous power to transform this sector".
"The false climate solutions touted by the maritime industry, like carbon credits, biofuels, and LNG, are going to sink our liveable future before we’ve even set sail," Ulrich said.
Ship It Zero campaign lead Dawny’all Heydari of Pacific Environment added: "It’s time to set sail on zero-emissions cargo ships and break retailers' dependence on ships that pollute our ports, harm our health and obstruct our opportunity to meet our climate objectives."