IKEA’s Latest Climate Target: Glue | Kanebridge News
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IKEA’s Latest Climate Target: Glue

The furniture group has spent more than a decade working to replace a fossil-based glue that represents 5% of its global carbon footprint

Fri, Mar 3, 2023 8:26amGrey Clock 3 min

Swedish furniture brand IKEA is switching to a new glue to help meet its climate goals, underscoring how small changes can make a measurable impact.

Inter IKEA—which owns the IKEA brand, develops its products and manages its supply chain—said around 5% of its value chain’s carbon footprint comes from fossil-based glue in its particle-and-fiber boards, used in products such as cupboards, wardrobes and shelves. It said Wednesday that it is aiming to eliminate 40% of its fossil-based glue in the boards by fiscal 2030, which could cut its greenhouse-gas emissions by 1.5 percentage points, depending on future business growth.

A factory in Kazlu Ruda, Lithuania will be the first to use a biobased glue made from corn in industrial plants rather than the food chain. IKEA is also trialing other biobased glues. The changes are part of IKEA’s efforts to meet its goal to use only renewable or recycled materials by fiscal 2030.

“It’s not an easy transformation. We are talking about the industry using the same glues for 60 years and that glue has been optimized for performance and cost for 60 years,” said Venla Hemmilä, material and technology engineer at IKEA of Sweden.

IKEA began searching for alternatives to fossil-based glue more than a decade ago, but found lower carbon, biobasedoptions were too expensive and the industry wasn’t well prepared to supplythem. Today, there is still a premium for biobased glues but it isn’t expected to be passed onto shoppers and should come down as production scales up.

The company expects biomaterials to become more cost competitive with fossil-based materials in the coming years. IKEA hopes its manufacturing footprint will accelerate that cost reduction of greener alternatives and that other companies will follow its lead. It declined to provide the names of the green glue suppliers for competitive reasons.

Glue became a focus for the group after 2016. That year IKEA examined how its climate goals aligned with the Paris Agreement and charted how they could expand the business while cutting their emissions, said Andreas Rangel Ahrens, head of climate at Inter IKEA Group.

“It is so easy to set goals, but how do you actually understand the impact and what to drive?,” Mr. Rangel Ahrens said.

To address that challenge, Mr. Rangel Ahrens said IKEA carried out a breakdown analysis of the sources of its carbon footprint, including production, materials and food. It also enlisted consultants to conduct life-cycle assessments of certain materials. In the 2022 financial year, IKEA said 52% of its emissions came from the materials in its products, the next highest contribution was 14% from people using its products at home, followed by production, which was responsible for around 8%.

Companies often use spending metrics, such as purchased goods, to calculate the carbon footprint of their materials. Instead, Mr. Rangel Ahrens said IKEA uses weight because it allows them to measure changes in a material, such as recycled and renewable content.

For example, when IKEA looked at its particle-and-fiber boards, it estimated the emissions coming from transport, forestry and energy, among other areas. It discovered around half of the material’s emissions were from the glue used to bind the wood chips and fibers together, meaning that fossil-based glue was responsible for about 5% of IKEA’s carbon footprint, Mr. Rangel Ahrens said.

This detailed approach to break down a product’s footprint allows sustainability teams to identify specific areas for other parts of the business to work on. “We are not just telling them you should reduce emissions from suppliers by 80% and go fish,” Mr. Rangel Ahrens said. We tell them where to focus and then they actually know what to do rather than just getting a very ambitious goal dropped on their laps, he said.

The company has also reduced emissionswith other targeted changes, including plant-based meatballs, a bookcase that uses paper foil instead of veneer, and switching to LED lightbulbs. It is also exploring how to add biobased content into coatings.

“It’s very important for us that sustainability is not a luxury for the few. It needs to be available also for people with thin wallets,” Mr. Rangel Ahrens said.


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The Strongest Protection for Your Online Accounts? This Little Key

Passwords aren’t enough to fend off hackers; these dongles are the best defense

Mon, Mar 27, 2023 4 min

Strong passwords are very important, but they’re not enough to protect you from cybercriminals.

Passwords can be leaked or guessed. The key to online security is protecting your account with a strong secondary measure, typically a single-use code. This is referred to as “two-factor authentication,” or 2FA, as the nerds know it.

I’ve written about all the different types of 2FA, such as getting those codes sent via text message or generated in an authenticator app. Having any kind of second factor is better than none at all, but physical security keys—little dongles that you plug into a USB port or tap on your phone during account logins—offer the highest level of protection.

Security keys have been around for over a decade, but now they’re in the spotlight: Apple recently introduced support for them as an optional, added protection for Apple ID accounts. Last month, Twitter removed text-message-based authentication as an option for nonpaying users, recommending instead an authenticator app or security key.

Some people are hesitant to use security keys because carrying around a physical object seems burdensome and they come with a $30-and-up added cost. Plus, what happens if they get lost?

I’ve used security keys since 2016 and think they are actually easier to manage than codes—especially with accounts that don’t require frequent logins. They’re not only convenient, but they can’t be copied or faked by hackers, so they’re safer, too.

Here’s how to weigh the benefits and common concerns of adding one or two of these to your keychain.

Which security key should I use?

Many internet services support the use of security keys, and you can use the same security key to unlock accounts on many different services. I recommend two from industry leader Yubico:

  • YubiKey 5C NFC ($US55) if you have a USB-C laptop or tablet
  • YubiKey 5 NFC ($US50) for devices with older USB ports

Other options include Google’s Titan security keys ($30 and up). In addition to working with laptops and tablets with USB ports, these keys are compatible with smartphones that have NFC wireless. Most smartphones these days have that, since it’s the technology behind wireless payments such as Apple Pay.

Adam Marrè, chief information security officer at cybersecurity firm Arctic Wolf, recommends that your chosen key is certified by the FIDO Alliance, which governs the standards of these devices.

How do security keys work?

To add a key, look in the security settings of your major accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc.). During setup, it will prompt you to insert the key into your laptop or tablet’s port or hold the key close to your phone for wireless contact.

Apple requires you to add two security keys to your Apple ID account, in case you lose one.

Typically, when you log in, you just go to the app or website where you’ve set up a key, enter your username and password as usual, then once again insert the key into the device or hold it close. (Some keys have a metal tab you have to press to activate.) At that point, the service should let you right in.

Why are they so secure?

Getting those two-factor login codes via text message is convenient, but if you are someone criminals are targeting, you could be the victim of SIM swapping. That’s where thieves convince carriers to port your number to a new phone in their possession, and they use it along with your stolen password to hack your accounts.

Even if they don’t go to all that trouble, criminals might try to trick you to hand them your codes, by calling you or spoofing a website you typically visit. At that point they can use the code for about 60 seconds to try to break in, said Ryan Noon, chief executive at security firm Material Security.

Security keys protect you in two ways: First, there’s no code to steal, and second, they use a security protocol to verify the website’s domain during login, so they won’t work on fake sites.

You can also add an authenticator app such as Authy to your most important accounts, to use only as a backup. But once you add these secure methods, you should consider removing the text-message code option.

In the rare case that someone snoops your passcode then steals your iPhone, beware: The perpetrator could still make Apple ID account changes using only the passcode, and even remove security keys from your account.

What happens if you lose your key?

The most important rule of security keys is to buy an extra one (or two).

“Think of your security key as you would a house or car key,” said Derek Hanson, Yubico’s vice president of solutions architecture. “It’s always recommended that you have a spare.”

If you lose a security key, remove it from your accounts immediately. You should have already registered your spare or an authenticator app as a backup to use in the meantime.

Where can you use a security key?

Start with your most valuable accounts: Google, Apple, Microsoft, your password manager, your social–media accounts and your government accounts.

When it comes to financial institutions, many banks don’t offer security-key protection as an option, though most leading crypto exchanges do.

What comes after security keys?

Security professionals and tech companies widely agree that passkeys are the future. They’re a new type of software option that combines the high security of a physical key with the convenience of biometrics such as your face or fingerprints. Passkeys are supported across the Android, iOS, Mac and Windows platforms, and some of your favourite sites already let you use them.

You can create a passkey on Facebook in security settings by following the app’s instructions under the security-key option. Dropbox has a similar passkey setup. Once you’re done, you’ll use your face or fingerprint as a second factor, instead of a code or key.

Eventually, physical security keys could be what we keep safe in strong boxes, as backups for our biometric-enabled passkeys. Even then, you’re probably going to want to have spares.

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