International students' blog – LTH

Engineering, Architecture and Industrial Design students write about life at the Faculty of Engineering LTH

My Master’s Thesis at IKEA of Sweden

Hej Everybody,

Long time no see! Well, in my defence, a master’s thesis can really take a toll on your social life. First time consuming step was to find a master’s thesis and then comes the big monster – The thesis itself.

My thesis at IKEA has been nothing but one step forward in working on a 6 month project of my dreams – A thesis on reducing the environmental footprint of IKEA’s raw materials. People, Planet & Profit has always been a motivation for me to work towards anything and it was an opportunity of a life time to follow this motivation along with the biggest player in the furniture and home furnishing business – IKEA.

IKEA has always been at the forefront of sustainability. Their sustainability strategy is called – ‘People and Planet positive’. One essential element of that strategy is aiming to become ‘climate positive’ by the year 2030. What climate positive essentially means is that IKEA aims to reduce more greenhouse gases than it emits throughout its value chain. In layman terms, IKEA wants to grow its business and while doing so, they aim to make this world environmentally safer. I get to contribute in this noble initiative by mapping the current carbon footprint of their raw materials and identifying the hotspots of that environmental burden throughout the value chain of that material. One might ask – ‘Palash, why specifically raw materials ?’. Well, the answer lies in the fact that, out of the total organisational carbon footprint of IKEA, raw materials account for 42 % of it.

Conventionally, IKEA has worked to reduce this footprint with its first tier suppliers by setting targets for them to switch from fossil based energy and electricity to renewable based energy and electricity. Well, I believe that it has not been enough. Hence, IKEA decided to step up its environmental game and go backwards in the supply chain towards the second tier suppliers. Throughout all the time that I have spent, I have just had fun, excitement and the proud feeling of making this world a better place. The amazingly beautiful office, my own laptop, flexible seating, amazing food, sophisticated softwares and most importantly the spirit with which every IKEA employee work towards sustainability is commendable.

I have never done ANYTHING related to mapping environmental footprint of a material before as I am a pursuing a master’s degree in logistics & supply chain management and not a master’s in sustainable design. But what got me through this is my zeal to work with innovation which can contribute to this world in which we live in positively. Hence, my advice is to look for a company and a thesis which suits your interests best and even if it doesn’t, fight like a pro and get through it because one thing is for certain – You are going to contribute something or the other for someone and you get a chance to inspire.

That’s all folks! Have a lovely day ahead!

Adios Amigos and Namaste!

Palash

23 March, 2020

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