IKEA previews new guide to unlock business action on air pollution at COP26

by CCAC secretariat - 4 November, 2021
The CCAC and Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) are working with IKEA to develop the guide.

IKEA and partners intorduced a practical guide for businesses on how to measure air pollution across value chains at two events at COP26. The guide will support companies to understand their impact on air quality and to take necessary actions to reduce their emissions. The guide is being developed by the Climate and Clean Air Coalition and Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), in co-operation with IKEA with the ambition to contribute to better health for people and the planet.

Reducing air pollution is more important now than ever before. Today, air pollution is shortening the lives of billions of people globally, by up to six years. According to a recent survey, one out of three consumers say they are greatly impacted by air pollution. 

The guide provides methods to quantify emissions that lead to health-damaging particulate matter and surface ozone (O3) from all sources across a company’s value chain. The guide is based on existing information to quantify greenhouse gas emissions, adding an extra element to also estimate air pollutant emissions. The guide aims to help companies create efficiencies across their climate and clean air agendas.

“Clean air should not be a luxury for the few. Companies have a large impact on air pollution but lack the tools to measure and take action across the value chain. This air pollution guide fills that gap and enables companies to take joint action on air pollution and limiting climate change to 1.5°C. The guide is designed to be easy to use for businesses, including those with complex supply chains,” says Andreas Ahrens, Head of Climate, Inter IKEA Group.

The guide will be formally published in 2022. It was released COP26 for consultation and to encourage as many companies as possible to join IKEA in testing out the guidance during the coming year for their value chain. This will enable companies to immediately start measuring their air pollution and take necessary actions to begin reductions in areas with the most impact. 

“Air pollution is a major threat to human health and fuels the climate crisis. This new approach to look beyond direct emissions and reduce air pollution along and across value chains is necessary for businesses to drive down their emissions at scale,” said Martina Otto, acting Head of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition Secretariat. “This guide is an important first step that companies can take to identify where reductions can be made so they can act.”

Many companies now estimate their impact on greenhouse gas emissions and climate change, but many of the same sources also emit air pollutants.

“It is relatively straightforward for companies to estimate the air pollutant emissions along their value chains by adding the methods we will be presenting in the guide and building upon the efforts businesses have developed to address their responsibility to help combat climate change. With limited extra effort they can start to address their responsibility to cut air pollution as well and reduce health impacts”, Johan Kuylenstierna of SEI said.

At COP26 IKEA also joined the Alliance for Clean Air, hosted by the World Economic Forum, the first global corporate initiative to bring together top businesses to tackle air pollution. The Members are committing to measuring their air pollution footprint and creating clear, actionable plans to decrease their impact.