Swedish company IKEA, has announced a sustainable “Better Chicken Programme” for all the chicken products sold at their stores. The initiative involves a set of rules in regards to the production of their chicken, including space requirements for the birds, lighting, the use of antibiotics and the overall environmental impact of their production facilities and farms.
The new program aims to ensure that chickens used for the production of IKEA’s meat products are ethically treated and healthy. The maximum space requirements for broiler chickens at their plants is now 30 kilograms per square meter . They will also provide better lighting for the animals at their facilities along with healthier feed for the birds. The company plans on investing in healthier chicken breeds and maintaining their health through enrichment. They will also work on reducing antibiotic use and addressing environmental impacts such as deforestation and pollution from their animal manure.
The new Better Chicken Programme has two deadlines. The most feasible criteria have a 2020 deadline for all their manufacturing facilities globally and all sustainability goals are expected to be finalized by 2025.
“Following two years of research and development, I’m delighted we now are sharing the Better Chicken Programme, the first of our sustainable agriculture initiatives for farm animals, which demonstrates our commitment to driving positive change in the food industry.” says Jacqueline Macalister, Health & Sustainability Manager, IKEA Food Services AB.
According to their recent press release, the company plans on establishing the IKEA Food Better Programmes globally with input from NGOs, experts and suppliers. The retailer hopes to incorporate such sustainability efforts in sourcing all their meat products – including chickens, laying hens, pigs, salmon, beef and dairy cattle – by 2025.
“IKEA’s Better Programmes represent holistic and ambitious improvement plans for all species in their food supply chain, designed to promote animal-centered and regenerative farming systems. FAI is proud to have been working alongside IKEA the last two years to ensure the programmes are routed in science and agricultural best practice, while also being shaped by key stakeholder’s views. By focusing on the whole challenge we face, we believe this approach can help enable the shift toward a more sustainable food system.” says Øistein Thorsen, Director of the Food Animal Initiative (FAI).
This is not the only initiative IKEA has recently introduced. Last summer the company announced the launch of their food waste reduction program. By the end of August 2020, all IKEA restaurants and bistros will cut their food waste by 50 percent. By incorporating a digital scale in waste bins, employees will be able to record the weight of food that has been thrown away. This will help the company measure their carbon footprint and make changes in their recycling habits in order to reduce it.
Such efforts are indicative of the growing consumer interest in environmental sustainability and animal welfare. These new programs are likely to increase consumer interest in IKEA stores.