Swedish furniture giant Ikea aims to experiment with furniture rentals and buy-backs, in an attempt to meet customers’ sustainability demands. It would also allow Ikea to process the used furniture in a sustainable way.
There is already a pilot in Japan, where Ikea buys back customers’ used sofas. It then recycles the material and prohibits the sofas from ending up at the dump. In other cases, Ikea is examining the opportunities furniture rental may entail: “So in London, for example, there are a lot of people who commute and they are not interested, with passion, in building a second home, so rental there is more interesting”, CEO Jesper Brodin said at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
The company’s goal is to provide customers with a wider range of options that may meet their demands and also to create a circular economy with fewer discarded materials. “If the last decades were about mass consumerism, now we are getting towards mass circularity”, Brodin added.
Dutch group DSM has developed a carpet made from a material that can be recycled over and over again. Whenever customers want a new carpet, they can simply exchange their old one for a new one instantly. “When the manufacturer can use your carpet as a base material, then you can simply rent it. You will no longer have to buy a carpet, simply rent”, CEO Feike Sybesma said during the same panel.