Better Cotton Initiative at IKEA: Bringing Sustainability into the Textile Supply Chain

Case Details Case Introduction 1 Case Introduction 2 Case Excerpts

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Why Better Cotton?

Cotton was one of the most important and extensively cultivated crops in the world. It was one of the world’s most important natural fibers and supported the livelihood of 250 million people. Nearly 35 million hectares of cotton were actively cultivated, representing about 2.5% of the world’s cultivated land. However, cotton cultivation and manufacturing were responsible for several environmental and social problems.

Conventional cotton production involved the intensive use of water and chemical pesticides and fertilizers. Cotton production accounted for up to 10% of the global use of pesticides and nearly 25% of insecticides used worldwide. Many of the most hazardous pesticides including broad spectrum organophosphates and carbamate pesticides, were sprayed on cotton fields......

Operations Case Studies | Case Study in Management, Operations, Strategies, Operations, Case Studies
Operations Case Studies | Case Study in Management, Operations, Strategies, Operations, Case Studies
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The Better Cotton Strategy

Cotton was the second most important raw material after wood for IKEA. As conventional cotton production and manufacturing involved intensive use of water and chemical pesticides and fertilizers, IKEA actively promoted sustainable cotton growing methods......

Creating Demand For Better Cotton

IKEA continued to support projects run by a number of organizations to reach a larger number of farmers and teach them Better Management Practices. In FY10, three cotton farming projects with local partners were started in India, which brought the total to 15 projects in six states in India. In FY10, the production of more sustainable cotton reached 160,000 tonnes and 62,000 farmers used better management practices. One IKEA textile supplier in India even independently launched similar projects involving neighborhood farmers.....

The Road Ahead

IKEA’s People & Planet Positive strategy set an ambitious goal for itself. By FY15, all cotton used in IKEA products was to be sourced from more sustainable sources. Furthermore, the company would continuously work to develop fibers to reduce the usage of cotton. “What we are doing with cotton is a great example of market transformation. We have an amazing opportunity to tip an entire market to becoming more sustainable,” said Simon Henzell-Thomas, IKEA Sustainability Policy & Partnerships Manager.......


Exhibit I: IKEA Facts and Figures
Exhibit II: IKEA’s Financial Highlights
Exhibit III: A Note on the Natural Step
Exhibit IV: A Note on IWAY
Exhibit V: Key Performance Indicators of People & Planet Positive
Exhibit VI: IKEA’s Sustainability Milestones
Exhibit VII: Major Impacts of Cotton Production on Freshwater Ecosystems and Freshwater Biodiversity
Exhibit VIII: Share of Different Countries in Sourcing Cotton by IKEA
Exhibit IX: Share of Preferred Cotton used in IKEA Products