Ikea Plans to Sell Only LED Lights Worldwide to Cut Emissions

Ikea Group, the world’s biggest home-furnishings retailer, said it will sell only light-emitting diode lamps and bulbs in its stores by 2016 to help its customers save energy and cut carbon emissions.

Replacing the world’s 12 billion traditional light bulbs with LEDs would cut emissions equivalent to those of the Netherlands, IKEA Chief Sustainability Officer Steve Howard said today in a webcast and teleconference. The Swedish company will also convert all the lighting in its stores, factories and distribution centers to LEDs, he said.

“The reason why we’re going 100 percent behind LEDs is because we can see the technology is already there,” Howard said. “It’s not just about energy-efficiency; it’s the whole functionality from color temperature through to strength and durability.”

By switching to LEDs, Ikea is picking a winner out of technologies jostling to replace incandescent light bulbs, whose sale the 27-nation European Union phased out on Sept. 1. LEDs are more efficient and longer-lasting than compact-fluorescent and halogen bulbs, and are the “next best thing” to natural light, Howard said.

“This is a ground-breaking step towards sustainability by one of the world’s largest retailers of household goods,” Samantha Smith, who heads the environmental group WWF’s global climate and energy program, said on the conference call. “Anything that helps us save energy at scale is a great step towards the future.”