Swedish home furnishings mega-presence IKEA translated the pop culture DIY theme into the furniture industry, with light, easy-to-assemble furniture and modern, playful ? designs affordable for someone on any budget. Leave it to them to introduce Do-it-yourself concepts to the green movement. Recently, IKEA launched their own GreenTech fund, with plans to invest $77 million into clean technology startups over the next five years. Start looking for “clean green” products appearing on IKEA’s shelves soon, like solar panels, and lighting and efficiency meters.

By this fall, IKEA plans to have completely stopped using plastic bags within its stores, to aid in reducing the over 380-billion trashed every year in the US. IKEA stopped using formaldehyde and PVC in it’s plastics years ago, pledged to only use wood certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. All of their Swedish stores operate largely on renewable energy.

IKEA? GreenTech’s? new efforts will? focus on five areas — solar panels, alternative light sources, product materials, energy efficiency, and water saving and purification. The group said the investments will be made in companies that offer commercial prospects within a four to five year horizon.

Currently IKEA has about 270 stores in 35 countries, and half a billion customers per year. The company designs its own furniture, and created the concept of flat packing for its products to cut down on transportation costs. IKEA employees are also encouraged to write on both sides of their paper supplies. Not to mention, the founder himself, affluent Ingvar Kamprad, estimated by some to be the fourth wealthiest man in the world, flies economy and drives an old Volvo. When asked why he did this, he responded,

“Why not? If there is such a thing as good leadership, it is to give a good example. I have to do so for all the Ikea employees.” -IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad

Wow. If only American celebrities and politicians could follow up their eco-speak by actually driving Smartcars and parking their private jets, imagine where we’d be? Ingvar, you rock the jungle, baby.

We think its an awesome move on? IKEA’s part, as a leader. They have earned the trust of millions of Americans, who never thought they could purchase, transport and assemble complicated items like desks and bedframes. What better brand to make going sustainable doable by breaking it into baby steps, than the company that accompanied you on your first move into a tiny college dorm?

We applaud you,? IKEA. Authority and opportunity put to good use is a very developed? ? consciousness. And here at? jungle [8]? we are all about conscious action. We raise our wine-filled $1.99 IRVIG glasses and make a toast to the blue and yellow!

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