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Episode 10: In conversation with IKEA’s Former Head of Sustainability Innovation, Håkan Nordkvist


24 January 2023

In this episode of ‘Sustainability Talks’ our managing partner Rob Genieser talks to Håkan Nordkvist, former Head of Sustainability Innovation at IKEA. With 25 years experience across supply chain and sustainability, Håkan was one of the early champions of the need to build a leading sustainable corporation. He led sustainable innovation to transform IKEA and create value for its customers by identifying positive sustainably driven business solutions.

Håkan discusses his experiences and insight as the leading visionary in transforming global retail through innovation and how retailers can embed sustainability throughout their business around the world.

About Håkan

Håkan Nordkvist is the Former Head of Sustainability Innovation for the IKEA Group. An exceptionally talented leader with a human-centric vision, he is known for his innovative solutions and has played an integral role in developing many of IKEA’s sustainability services. Talented and courageous, Håkan is gifted at setting bold futuristic goals and ambitions and then successfully implementing those goals through innovative initiatives, road maps and creative businesses and solutions for a better future.
Holding an MSc in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Lulea Tekniska, Håkan joined IKEA as a Quality Manager in 2001. Over the course of his career, he has been heavily involved in many innovative projects for IKEA. Leading the sustainability and innovation team for 11 years, Håkan combined cutting-edge innovation with sustainability to build new businesses for IKEA. His team was responsible for building IKEA’s clean energy service which now operates in 13 countries around the globe. Today it is one of the largest clean energy businesses.
Another project Håkan directed was food innovation. He introduced plant-based protein and new dishes to the IKEA restaurant and utilised urban/vertical farming to locally produce lettuce and herbs, in addition to creating efficient food waste initiatives. Håkan played a fundamental role in implementing IKEA’s circular business agenda. This involved developing new innovative business models like Furniture as A Service, IKEA Second Hand and IKEA Take Back and Repair. This was followed by a local production set-up with 3D printing, collaborative robotics, and generative design.
Outside IKEA, Håkan is one of the founders and chairman of Launch Nordic, a creative platform which was created with Nike, NASA, USAID and Novozymes. Moreover, Håkan served on the board of BoKlok a company which specialises in building affordable sustainable housing. As a speaker, Håkan is highly articulate on the topics of innovation, sustainability, entrepreneurship, circularity and leadership.

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