IKEA to pivot to bio-based glue for reduced climate footprint

Bio-based glue that IKEA will use for board materials (Image: IKEA)

To reduce the climate footprint of board production, IKEA is switching from fossil-based to bio-based glues.

According to IKEA, 5% of the climate footprint of the total IKEA value chain today is connected to the use of glue in board materials. With this change, the goal is to reduce fossil-based glue use by 40% and greenhouse gas emissions from glue by 30% by FY2030.

“This is a big and important movement for IKEA, which we have been working to enable for more than 10 years. This confirms the need for more glues with much lower climate footprints and that small changes can have big impacts,” said Venla Hemmilä, material and technology engineer at IKEA of Sweden. “We hope this will inspire others to follow.”

Switching from fossil-based to bio-based glue solutions will be a step-wise approach, and the goal is to have most board-producing factories in the IKEA supply chain using glues that have lower climate footprints by 2030.

In Kazlu Ruda, Lithuania, the first IKEA Industry factory is now using a glue system made of technical starch from corn in large-scale production. This results from 10 years of efforts to find alternatives to fossil-based glues. In parallel, multiple trials with other glue systems are being conducted.

”As glue in board materials stands for 5% of the climate footprint of the IKEA value chain, this makes a big impact and a key step towards contributing to limiting global warming to 1.5°C,” said Andreas Rangel Ahrens, head of climate at Inter IKEA Group.

“Together with increasing recycled wood use and striving towards 100% renewable energy in production, this is a milestone in our journey of making our wood-based products more sustainable.”

Finding new glue solutions is one of the main approaches to further reduce the climate footprint linked to particle board production, together with striving towards 100% renewable energy consumption. To enable a transition to 100% bio-based glue use, IKEA has recently launched an accelerator programme to pilot new glue solutions with external partners.