Agricultural Livelihoods Climate Action Employment & Entrepreneurship Refugee Livelihoods Renewable Energy

23 Reasons to be hopeful for 2023

Heavy lifting by our partners let us enter 2023 with slightly lighter hearts. The IKEA Foundation is proud to spotlight their hard work. Read about 23 of their positive breakthroughs so far and the many ways they continue to be sources of hope.

Reason 1: City Action

Barcelona began 2023 with a new commitment to become a Zero Waste City, thanks to the Urban Movement Innovation Fund’s (UMIF) work with Zero Waste Europe and its partners.

In Colombia, UMIF’s partners have persuaded the country’s new president to include zero carbon transport high on his political agenda. Colombia’s move could signal the beginning of a new influential block of countries phasing out fossil fuels. And in Kolkata – which is home to 14 million people – UMIF’s partners have supported city leaders to develop their first climate action plan.

Reason 2: Easier access to renewable energy

In 2022, we brought solar-powered tools to communities in Africa and Asia with partners including CLASP, SELCO Foundation, SustainPlus, the Powering Renewable Energy Opportunities (PREO) programme and Verasol.

Thanks to our partners’ efforts, access to renewable energy will become easier, quicker, more affordable and more inclusive in 2023, helping even more people gain access to sustainable livelihoods.

Credits: Ritesh Uttamchandani
Credits: Ritesh Uttamchandani
Coteaux Barber + Copy Shop

Reason 3: Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet

Since its launch at COP26, the Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet has accelerated renewable energy solutions to support economic development and climate priorities in 12 countries across Latin America, Asia and Africa. In 2023 the Alliance plans to expand to seven more countries.

It will help them advance their national agendas for better energy access, faster decarbonisation, jobs growth and economic development.

Reason 4: Refugee-led research boosts self-reliance

People who have been forced to flee are using their unique experiences to find pathways towards economic self-reliance to support themselves and their families.

The Refugee Studies Centre at the University of Oxford launched their first report from the Refugee-Led Research Hub in Nairobi. This was led from start to finish by researchers with lived experience of displacement and will inform our work with our partners in the coming year.

Reason 5: Low Emission Zones expanded in UK and Poland

The Clean Air Fund and their partners have worked with leaders in Krakow and London to tackle pollution by implementing low emission zones (LEZ). Krakow’s LEZ will lead to a 50% reduction in health-harming nitrogen dioxide emissions from 2026. It’s the first substantive LEZ in central and eastern Europe and sends a positive signal to other Polish cities.

In London, Mayor Sadiq Khan announced the expansion of the city’s existing ultra-low emission zone (ULEZ) from August 2023 to cover all parts of the city. The ULEZ has already succeeded in getting the most polluting vehicles off the road. It has reduced roadside pollution by 44% in central London and 20% in inner London. Expanding the zone London-wide will save 27,000 tonnes of CO2 in outer London.

It also means the air around an additional 145 schools will meet the World Health Organization’s interim target for nitrogen dioxide levels.


© UK100

Reason 6: More demand for green jobs and skills
UK100’s Skills for Net Zero Insight Briefing research has revealed a growing demand and ambition to create green jobs. According to a survey of UK100 members, more than 97% of climate-ambitious UK local authorities see green jobs and skills as the key to reaching net zero.

The briefing supports UK100’s End the wait. Insulate. campaign, which calls on the government to implement an “oven-ready” energy efficiency plan to upgrade over 550,000 social housing properties, support 40,000 jobs and kick-start a nationwide domestic energy efficiency drive. Up to 2028, the plan won’t cost a penny more than has already been pledged to social housing energy efficiency spending. And it could be a popular option for the government, with recent YouGov polling for UK100 showing that 69% of people would back such a plan.”

Reason 7: Keeping 1.5 alive

Progress at COP27 was mixed. So, while we recognise that the climate conferences are the best bet we have for multilateral climate action, in 2023 the climate community has its work cut out.

Climate Analytics and the Climate Emergency Collaboration Group (CECG) are two of our partners working hard to keep 1.5 degrees alive.

Climate Analytics’ excellent data and vigorous scientific research, seen in projects such as the Climate Action Tracker, is highlighting where governments and sectors need to make progress to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees.

CECG will support organisations that are advocating for a just transition and keeping 1.5 degrees alive.

Reason 8: Organic fertilisers and pesticides on the rise

Nature-based solutions that provide organic fertiliser and organic alternatives for pesticides are gaining traction. This year, our partner, the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) will continue to provide evidence that sustainable farming methods can improve livelihoods and ensure a steady source of nutritious food for smallholder farming communities.

Reason 9: Big climate policy wins

IKEA Foundation partners including the We Mean Business CoalitionEuropean Climate Foundation and ClimateWorks Foundation have contributed to recent efforts to shape climate policy for 2023 and beyond.

This includes mobilising business support to help pass landmark policy wins such as the Inflation Reduction Act in the US and the Fitfor55 package in the EU. Crucial elements of Fit for 55 were approved last year and it was sharpened at COP27 from a 55% to 57% emissions reduction target by 2030.

© Enviu

Reason 10: Innovative technology for new green jobs

Our partner Enviu has developed new waste models in the textile and food sectors that are creating jobs and will save millions of litres of water and divert waste from landfills in the coming year.

Reason 11: IKEA ambassadors spread the word

The IKEA Foundation ambassador programme connects IKEA co-workers with our partners. During 2022, we trained more than 100 ambassadors so they were ready to communicate about the work of the IKEA Foundation and our partners across 27 different countries. The ambassadors use their skills to spread the word to their fellow IKEA co-workers, customers and their wider community.
By the end of 2023 we aim to have over 200 ambassadors, creating a movement of highly motivated and engaged people across the IKEA business.

Reason 12: Our partnership with SELCO goes from strength to strength

We renewed our partnership with SELCO Foundation with a €15 million over 5 years.

We are working in partnership with them to help 100,000 families in India improve their livelihoods through renewable energy innovations.

Credits: Selco Foundation
Credits: GiveDirectly

Reason 13: New support to refugees

We’re finding new ways to support refugees towards economic self-reliance. In 2022, we tested an innovative new solution with our partner GiveDirectly – giving direct cash transfers to refugees in Uganda – and saw strong positive outcomes for refugee families.

We will share these learnings with the wider humanitarian community to build support and increase impact.

Reason 14: Progress on clean cooling

Today, more than 1.2 billion people face heat-related threats due to a lack of cooling access. The demand for cooling is expected to more than triple by 2050 and a main driver in the global growth of electricity consumption in buildings. In 2022 the IKEA Foundation funded the Clean Cooling Collaborative (CCC) with a $25 million grant. This global initiative led by ClimateWorks Foundation aims to reduce 100 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) emissions in the cooling sector by 2050. Success in this ambitious project will shift industry and consumer practice in food systems, healthcare, and the built environment towards meeting Paris targets while improving billions of lives.

Reason 15: Combined action on food and climate

There are untapped opportunities to combine food systems change and climate action. Our partners, including the Global Alliance for the Future of Food, are leading the way in developing these opportunities.

For the first time ever, food was on the agenda at COP27.

We sponsored the COP27 Food Systems Pavilion in 2022 to highlight how a large-scale shift in food systems will benefit people, nature and the climate.

And we partnered with Regen10, who will continue to work in 2023 to establish how 50% of the world’s food can be produced in a way that delivers positive outcomes for people, nature and climate – within a decade.

Reason 16: Africa takes centre stage

COP27 was dubbed “the African COP” as countries from both sub-Saharan and North Africa showed a new level of solidarity. The conference shone a spotlight on issues of importance for lower-income countries and emerging economies, which were at the forefront of the climate negotiations. Our partner, the African Climate Foundation, was an essential player at COP27 because of its research, technical assistance and grant support promoted and positioned an African narrative on COP27, supported policy knowledge generation by African actors and the participation and engagement of African civil society at COP27.  African countries and organisations plan to build on this momentum in the run up to COP28 in Dubai in 2023 and the Global Stocktake in 2024.

Reason 17: Green entrepreneurship creates livelihoods

In 2023, our new partnerships with TechnoServe and BOMA will work towards demonstrating that green entrepreneurship is a viable pathway to create sustainable livelihoods.

In this way, people and planet can thrive together.

Reason 18: Methane matters
Our partner, the Global Methane Hub, is on a mission to dramatically reduce methane emissions by 2030. Coupled with rapidly decreasing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions, this is essential to keep global warming under 1.5 degrees.

The Global Methane Hub was set up in November 2021 and formally began operations in March of 2022.  Since then, it has supported the increase of number of signatories to the Global Methane Pledge from 105 to 150 countries. Critically, China has signalled that it has finalised its methane reduction plan. This means that 67% of global methane emissions are covered by mitigation commitments. On top of this, major importers and exporters of coal, natural gas and oil, covering 50% of the global import market, have made a joint declaration to reduce emissions through their value chain. The Global Methane Hub also helped stand up the Methane Alert and Response System (MARS), an important tool in detection, response, and accountability of methane emissions. These achievements in such a short time bode well for the future of methane reduction work. We will watch this space closely in 2023 as the Global Methane Hub ramps up its work in emerging economies where methane emissions are highest and are projected to increase.

The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI). Research on methane emission from rice paddies.

Credits: WASTE

Reason 19: Better future for waste pickers

We are helping improve the livelihoods of waste pickers in India and Kenya with our partners WASTE and VSO Nederland.

In 2023, we will support them to establish and grow waste enterprises, working together with city authorities and large private sector waste recyclers.

Reason 20: The SBTi expands scope from ambition to performance.

The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) is expanding the scope of its corporate climate action framework from ambition (target setting) to performance (target delivery). In 2023, it is working towards developing a Progress Framework. This will advance its work on the measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) of science-based targets, and provide standardised mechanism increase transparency and accountability of corporate climate action.

Credits: Enviu

Reason 21: Circular agriculture common practice
In 2023, our partners will continue to turn food waste and pollution into food gains and sustainability solutions, one business at a time.

Enviu is paving the way towards a regenerative and 0% food loss chain with their Regenerative FoodFlow Project in Kenya. Bopinc, through its O’Farms programme, is supporting businesses in Kenya and Uganda to make circular agriculture common practice. And  the World Resources Institute and the Platform for Accelerating a Circular Economy (PACE) are working towards a circular economy for food in Rwanda by providing SMEs access to business development assistance and creating an enabling policy environment.

Reason 22: Accelerating Road transport emissions reduction
2022 was a year of positive signals for road transport decarbonisation. IKEA Foundation partners in the Drive Electric Campaign, including ClimateWorks Foundation, European Climate Foundation, We Mean Business Coalition and Clean Air Fund all contributed to significant policies. In the EU, legislation was adopted that means new cars and vans must be zero-emission from 2035, effectively banning new diesel and petrol cars from this date.  The U.S. government signaled a commitment to 100% zero-emission vehicles for new trucks and buses by 2040 through the Global Drive to Zero MOU, and 2023 includes key regulatory windows for ambitious standards to meet this goal. In California, the Air Resources Board agreed to move forward with plans to require an increasing share of zero-emission trucks, shuttle buses and certain other buses beginning in 2024. California will make a final decision on the Advanced Clean Fleet regulation in spring 2023. New York State and 4 others are following California’s lead by mandating that all passenger cars, pickup trucks and SUVs sold in the state must be zero-emission by 2035.

Credits: Access to Energy Institute 

Reason 23: Solar replaces fossil fuel generators

Our partner Access to Energy Institute replaced more than 1,000 diesel generators with solar alternatives in 2022. They will continue this work in the coming year. We have also launched the Zero Emission Generators (ZE-Gen) initiative with our partner Carbon Trust, to replace fossil fuel generators with renewable energy-based alternatives across Africa and Asia Pacific.

This will help people to power their livelihoods with renewable energy-based solutions and accelerate the transition to thriving economies based on net-zero greenhouse gas emissions.