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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

By DIETER HOLGER
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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There are Corvette fans for whom the base US$68,300 car is plenty powerful enough. After all, it produces 495 horsepower and can reach 60 miles per hour in 2.9 seconds. But hold on, there’s also the approximately US$115,000 Z06—with 670 horsepower and able to reach 60 in 2.6 seconds. These split seconds are important for busy people—and for marketing claims. And if that’s not enough go power, there’s the even more formidable 900-horsepower ZR1 version of the Corvette, starting around US$150,000. The hybrid E-Ray, at US$104,900, is pretty potent, too.

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That world title is much sought after, and is currently held by the Sweden-built 1,600-horsepower Koenigsegg Jesko Absolut, with a two-way average top speed of 277.8 mph. But Hennessey is still very much a contender. The company is hoping the 1,817-horsepower F5 (with 1,192 pound-feet of torque) can exceed 300 mph on the track this year.

The Hennessey Venom F5 coupe is sold out, despite a more than $2 million price tag.
Hennessey photo

Hennessey’s previous Venom GT model (introduced in 2010) was based on the Lotus Exige, with a GM LS-based engine, and was built by partner Delta Motorsport. Spokesman Jon Visscher tells Penta , “The new Venom F5, revealed in 2020, is a 100%bespoke creation—unique to Hennessey and featuring a Hennessey-designed 6.6-litre twin-turbo V8 engine boasting 1,817 horsepower, making it the world’s most powerful combustion-engine production car.” Leaps in performance like this tend to be pricey.

This is a very exclusive automobile, priced around US$2.5 million for the coupe, and US$3 million for the F5 Roadster announced in 2023. Only 30 Roadsters will be built, with a removable carbon-fiber roof. The 24 F5 coupes were spoken for in 2021, but if you really want one you could find a used example—or go topless. In a statement to Penta , company founder and CEO John Hennessey said that while the coupe “is now sold out, a handful of build slots remain for our Roadster and [track-focused] Revolution models.”

Only 24 Revolutions will be built in coupe form, priced at US$2.7 million. There’s also a rarefied roadster version of the Revolution, with just 12 to be built.

The Venom F5 Roadster has a removable carbon-fibre roof.
Hennessey photo

The Venom F5 coupe weighs only 3,000 pounds, and it’s not surprising that insane speeds are possible when combined with a hand-built motor (nicknamed “Fury”) created with power uppermost. The V8 in the F5, installed in a rear mid-engine configuration, has a custom engine block and lightweight forged aluminium pistons, billet-steel crankshaft, and forged-steel connecting rods. Twin turbochargers are featured. The F5 can reach 62 mph in less than three seconds, but top speed seems to be its claim to fame.

The driver shifts the rear-wheel-drive car via a seven-speed, single-clutch transmission with paddle shifters. The interior is not as spartan or as tight as in many other supercars, and is able to handle very tall people. The butterfly doors lift up for access.

“With 22 customer Venom F5 hypercars already delivered to customers around the world, and a newly expanded engineering team, we’re focusing the Venom F5 on delivering on its potential,” Hennessey says. “Breaking 300 mph in two directions is the goal we aim to achieve toward the end of this year to claim the ‘world’s fastest production car’ title.”

Hennessey says the car and team are ready. “Now the search is on for a runway or public road with a sufficiently long straight to allow our 1,817-horsepower, twin-turbo V8 monster to accelerate beyond 300 mph and return to zero safely.” The very competitive Hennessey said the track-focused Revolution version of the F5 set a fastest production car lap around Texas’ 3.41-mile Circuit of the Americas track in March, going almost seven seconds faster than a McLaren P1.

The Revolution features a roof-mounted central air scoop (to deliver cool air to the engine bay), a full-width rear carbon wing, larger front splitter and rear diffuser, tweaked suspension, and engine cooling. It’s got the same powertrain as the standard cars, but is enhanced to stay planted at otherworldly speeds.

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