International business and the ecological imperative

Published: 2019-08-30 18:46:25
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Environmental concern and coming up with efficient measures of achieving sustainability are vital tools for human adaptation. Designers and planners depend upon expertise, craftsmanship, as well as environmental data to form most well-liked futures. Ecological sustainability achievement enhances a design of coming up with a look and planning of designed properly designed environments. Ideas as such as resilience and ecosystem provide opportunities for collaboration between ecologists and practitioners within the process and aid in coming up with disciplines. Urban resilience to natural disasters and coastal green infrastructure represent areas wherever style and coming up with supported ecological principles ought to be applied. The IKEA initiative may serve as a proper example in the study of ecological imperativeness and sustainability (Esty & Winston, 2009). The reason is because a study of IKEA gives a basis of knowledge collaboration in handling this discipline. IKEA is an international retailer of household goods and furniture. The company has a reputation for innovative design and availing of the descent designs to consumers at low prices. Additionally, the company is also keen in developing reputation for sensitivity to social issues and environmental stewardship. IKEA has about 150 stores which are in spread to a tune of 22 countries ("Ikea case study", 2016). The company was founded in 1943 by Ingvar Kamprad, who was17-year-old then. The company is popularly known for modern architectural designs for different appliances and furniture. Their interior design is usually associated with eco-friendly simplicity.

Also, the firm is well known for its cost control attention, continuous product development, and operational details. All these corporate attributes have assisted IKEA to lower their prices during the period of global expansion. In 2001 IKEA had a turnover of 11.3 billion euros and more than 70,000 employees ("Ikea case study", 2016). IKEA Company purchases its raw materials from over 50 countries: mainly Sweden, China, Poland, Italy and Germany. The company is also keen on ensuring that its low costs are never realized at the expense of citizens or their immediate environment, which forms a credible basis for conducting ethical business. The company makes sure that their customers at all times believe that all the products they purchase are safe. All the IKEA products are factory-made below acceptable operating conditions by the suppliers who usually take responsibility for the environment with ecological facts and factors at hand. Additionally this company has a reputation of settling for child labor. The IKEA cluster supports productions of great biological science and they have a long goal of supplying all the wood from only certified forests. At the same time, they have a tendency to work vigorously to cut back on the impact of their activities on the temperature change

To facilitate collection of the above and other relevant information, several methods of data collection were utilized. Majorly, the use of interviews and filling of questionnaires dominated the data collection exercise. However, some materials like newspapers, magazines, lecture notes, textbooks, and geographical maps, also had a good share in the contribution of important material towards this research. It was established that IKEA Company needs to liaise with and work closely with relevant authorities in their goal of achieving sustainability. Also, citizens had a vital role in ensuring that their environment is properly utilized to avoid pollution and depletion of natural resources.

Introduction

In response to the increasing environmental pollution that has been caused by companies as they try to meet their financial needs, a clear guideline has to be developed on how firms can carry out their production and take care of the environmental factors simultaneously (Dryglas, 2012). There are several ways through which firms can achieve the above condition effectively. Practically, this is possible as highlighted in the next parts of this paper with reference to the IKEA Company.

Methodology

For this research, the method for collection of data was interviewing as well as use of questionnaires. Questions that were to assist in understanding international businesses and its relations to ecological imperativeness were prepared prior to the research. The questions were obtained from concepts that were obtained from lecture notes, text books, as well as all other materials that were of significant relevance during the preparation. The questions were later scrutinized and sampled out and organized logically to form questionnaires. Later on, choosing of the parties to interview as well as the respondents of the questionnaires was the issue that followed. The respondents were chosen through strategic sampling technique. At least a balance was made to ensure that all the parties at their different designations from the institution were involved. A total of 7 respondents was chosen, from which 2 were top officials from the company, 2 were heads of departments, while the other two were junior servants from the company. All the parties were interviewed and latter served with questionnaires for them to fill. The results from the research were analyzed and summarized as seen in the findings section.

Findings

It was clearly established that IKEA Company has done a lot in trying to achieve sustainability ("FAQ - Social & Environmental Responsibility - IKEA", 2016). However, findings revealed that there were still some tasks ahead of the company if it had to fully attain a green environment and at the same time meet the requirements of their customers. A top official from the company revealed the value that the company holds for forests. The member said that the Company believe wood is a good material in the environmental and practical point of view. He further stated that for wood to become a good environmental choice, people should only get it from dutifully managed forests. IKEA has a goal to source all their wood only from certified forests, which are responsibly managed. IKEA actively works with WWF and other partners in order to increase the accessibility of certified timber. The company requires their suppliers provide clear documentation so as to confirm the source of their wood. They conduct select audits, and they have their foresters who trace the wood back to the forest in and checks if IKEA requirements are met. For external verification of auditing routines, the company works with third-party organization Smartwood (Kelly, 2012)

One strategy that was found to be a creative and innovative move by this company is the shift from reliance on wood to dependence on other resources. This was discovered at a point where plastic tables, chairs, and hand bags were found among the goods displayed for sale at the companys show room. The move particularly caught the attention of ecologists as the company majorly recycled wastes and made value out of the same. By so doing, the company is able to handle two crucial issues simultaneously. The company reduces on the utilization of trees hence maintaining the environment and also minimizes waste disposal by recycling plastics. This is seen as a major boost to ecologists in their mission of saving the environment.

However, the research also showed that the company is facing serious opposition from groups, individuals as well as non governmental organizations. As much as the company has received numerous endorsements from groups such as WWF for its commitment to sustainable forest practices, the company too receives cold welcome from some environmental groups that claim that the company is deceiving its customers. The most vocal of these groups is a Swedish NGO by the name Protect the Forest. Among the other institutions that seem unhappy with the practices if IKEA are Greenpeace Russia, the Karelia Regional Conservancy, and Friends of the Earth.

Discussion

From the research findings, it is clear that the process of going green is not a simple task for any company. Like any other company, IKEA has undergone and is still undergoing various challenges as they strive to achieve their mission and hence realize their vision. To make their vision a reality, IKEA have been facing serious challenges (Williams, 2015). Apparently, the company entirely depends on Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), which is a global certification scheme to realize its forests positive strategy. For instance, in 2012, IKEA increased the quantity of solid wood obtained from forests certified by the FCS from 16.2% to 22.6% and managed to support thirteen WWF projects that aim at improving management of forests through the FSC certification. However, by so doing the company was unable to beet its target of 35% of all solid wood being acquired from preferred sources the very year. The management had a clarification that this was due to the shortage of FSC certified wood on the global markets. Currently, only 7% of the worlds forests have met the FSC certification standards, and this is a clear indication of supply challenges in the wood sector. Therefore, meeting of the right supply quantities has turned out to be risky as there are many other quarters with opposing views. Consequently, the biggest challenges IKEA and the relevant authorities face, is verifying and making sure that the wood does not come from conserved, natural forests, or from illegal logging. They have to develop tools and procedures necessary for identifying, map for managing the forests with high conservation values. As a result, it is of essence that the environmental stakeholders and forestry industry, organize routines for agreements and dialogue with regards to management of the forest. This is crucial in areas that are sensitive or valuable from social or ecological point of view. IKEA calls on the government and scientific community to provide credible information concerning the forest conservation and restoration (Mager & Sibilia, 2010).

In mid 1980s, IKEA encountered an environmental problem, which caused significant implications on their furniture line. According to (Kelly, 2012), the tests carried on some IKEA particle-board furniture products revealed that formaldehyde emissions was above the standards indicated by Danish environmental law . This situation created a big problem for the company, given the wide use of particle boards by IKEAs furniture products. This showed because the particle boards from a single product violated the standards, obviously all the other products that used the same particle board could be deemed hazardous. Consequently, this negative publicity required quick response, in order to avoid negative impacts. While IKEA was looking for the solutions, German introduced new environmental law, which required formaldehyde emissions from the particle board, to be below .01 parts per million. This was one of the strictest laws in the world, and IKEA advised all their particle-board suppliers, to meet the standard.

In the late 1980s, European furniture retailers, IKEA included, received a lot of pressure, and boycotts from environmental groups, requiring them not to use tropical rain forest wood in making furniture ("FAQ - Social & Environmental Responsibility - IKEA", 2016). The pressures mounted up, and IKEA realized the call could negatively impact their future credibility. Therefore, their CEO, Mr Anders Moberg was personally concerned about the extent of environmental deterioration and appointed a manager, who was to be responsible for environmental issues. In the year 1990, an environment-friendly business plan was developed. In the same year, a series of group management meetings were held, and lastly, they produced...

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