‘I will’ sustainable home campaign launches

Environmental campaigning charity Hubbub has announced a three-year partnership with fast-furniture retailer IKEA that will promote sustainable living at home.

The scheme aims to determine how far companies should go in encouraging customers to live more sustainably and will examine what changes need to be made to encourage environmentally-friendly customer behaviours – producing less waste, using less energy and waster, and living more active lifestyles.

The University of Surrey will independently assess the impact of the campaign and will explore the motives behind the barriers and opportunities for businesses to help households live more sustainably.

Details of the three-year campaign

The three years of the partnership will each have a different theme.

The first year, titled ‘I will’, will see 150 IKEA customers, split evenly over the retailer’s 19 UK stores, given £500 of vouchers to spend on products highlighted as IKEA’s ‘most sustainable goods’ – those alleged to cut down on waste, save water, save energy and encourage healthier lifestyles.

Participants will be chosen by the University of Surrey based on their location and lifestyle. The project is specifically looking for households experiencing ‘change of life’ moments, such as those with a new baby, recent retirement, or those moving home.

Hubbub states that behaviour change research suggests that ‘change of life’ moments are when people are most receptive to changes to their habits and routines.

The store will pick out 500 products from its range, and will produce a catalogue available to the public highlighting their sustainable criteria.

Each of the households will have a home visit to discuss what they are trying to achieve in terms of sustainability and will be given tips on how to cut bills and lead a more sustainable lifestyle.

Following the purchase of products, the University of Surrey will monitor how the participants’ purchases are influencing the households’ resource use and lifestyles.

Following assessment of the results, Trewin Restorick, founder of Hubbub, says IKEA “will think about how they can change design or use lessons learnt from design”.

This will then, Hubbub says, inform how the further two years progress. However, the second year – ‘I have, will you’ – will feature the initial households getting their neighbours and communities involved and spreading message of sustainability to their communities.

Activities will also take place in stores promoting environmental messages.

The partnership then plans to take the message to other companies and governments in the third year to prompt a discussion about products and policies and will reportedly try to implement what has been learnt.

A ‘leap into the unknown’

Acknowledging that the “first year will be a slight leap into the unknown”, Restorick explained: “The campaign is designed to build a growing momentum of change. The overall intention to build a movement of people who are actively living a more sustainable lifestyle and to create a body of evidence that will persuade other people to take part and companies and governments to shift thinking on a policy level.

“For IKEA, this information will be used to understand what new products and services can be developed to help customers live more sustainably. For Hubbub, the information will refine the behaviour change advice we provide and help to create more impactful community campaigns.”

IKEA, the world’s largest furniture retailer, which has often been criticised for selling cheap furniture destined for landfill, has been increasingly active in sustainability in recent years. In June, for instance, it pledged €1 billion (£730 million) to tackling climate change through wind and solar power installations, as well as working with nations vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

Read more about Hubbub.

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