Ubiquitous big-box colossus IKEA has shown some great green developments lately, from flat-pack bike trailers to eco-friendly lines of housewares. Now the patent purveyor of all things flat-pack has announced plans to invest $77 million into its GreenTech energy fund with the goal of eventually producing solar panels, efficiency meters, and energy efficient lighting. Granted its massive distribution network, IKEA’s uptake of green tech could pose a monumental shift in the accessibility and affordability of these technologies.
As far as big-box retailers go, it’s hard to dispute the sphere of influence that IKEA casts over the world market. Striking a golden balance between quality and affordability has allowed the furniture giant to build an extensive network of 270 stores in 35 countries, attracting half a billion customers every year. IKEA’s recent investment is exciting because it stands to mobilize these massive distribution channels towards the proliferation of green technology.
IKEA’s GreenTech fund was established eight months ago and is looking to invest in up to ten startups over the next five years. These investments will focus in five key areas: solar panels, alternative light sources, product materials, energy efficiency, and water saving and purification. IKEA hopes to bring its first wave of green tech products to market within three to four years.
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