IKEA Foundation Donates $25m to transform cooling sector and improve billions of lives

18 July 2022 by Elisabeth van Ebbenhorst Tengbergen
blog author

This week has been an eye-opener for the dramatic and devastating effects caused by the climate crisis with record temperatures, raging fires and the inevitable deaths among the more vulnerable.

As the mercury soared right across Europe to more than 40 degrees for the first time ever in some countries, it was evidential that climate change is a stark reality and collectively, the world needs to take immediate action to produce sustainable and scalable solutions.

IKEA’s charitable arm has given a $25million grant to the Clean Cooling Collaborative, which improves cooling solutions for the vulnerable global communities facing the risk of extreme heat.

Demand has rocketed for cooling systems as the planet continues to warm and it has been estimated that 10 air conditioners will be sold every second for the next 30 years.

The IKEA Foundation is supporting the Clean Cooling Collaborative, a leading global philanthropic program focused on curbing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions caused by cooling. The donation will help support the program’s work in providing more efficient, climate-friendly cooling technologies in alignment with the Paris Agreement to help reduce GHGs.

The Clean Cooling Collaborative is hoping to shift governments, industries and consumers towards better technologies which it believes will improve billion of lives.

Air conditioners, refrigerators and other cooling appliances were designed to protect people, food and medicine from heat, but increased use is problematic due to the GHG emissions caused by the energy used to operate them and by refrigerants leaking fluorinated gases into the atmosphere.

Cooling is responsible for more than seven per cent of global annual GHGs which is expected to double unless there can be a complete overhaul to implement a full range of sustainable cooling systems.

Edgar van de Brug, programme manager Climate Action at IKEA Foundation, said: “Climate change is fueling record-setting heat waves around the globe, which put the lives and livelihoods of over 1.2 billion people at risk due to a lack of access to cooling.

“We’re proud to join the Clean Cooling Collaborative and support their ambitious plan to promote efficient, climate-friendly cooling solutions to reduce emissions and create a healthy planet for people worldwide.”

Noah Horowitz, director of the Clean Cooling Collaborative, said: “We believe cooling should be a human right, and the sector must be on a more sustainable and accessible path as demand for air conditioning explodes worldwide.

“We welcome the IKEA Foundation to the Clean Cooling Collaborative. Their generous support will help supercharge our collective efforts to boost appliance efficiency and the use of climate-friendly refrigerants, expand global access to more sustainable cooling, and use these solutions to reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions for decades to come.”

Ricardo Pengel, Principal Consultant Sustainable Business EMEA, at Acre Europe, said:“With the current temperatures we are experiencing at the moment, many people are seeking refuge at the seaside, swimming pools, terraces etc. or when working from home people are putting their air conditioning and cooling fans on full blast.

“These are all short-term solutions to a very serious long-term problem that requires immediate action! Great to see that influential organisations like the IKEA Foundation have partnered up with the Clean Cooling Collaborative in an effort to tackle this global emergency. Hopefully more companies will take their responsibility and will focus on initiatives such as the Clean Cooling Collaborative.”

Elisabeth van Ebbenhorst Tengbergen, Principal Consultant at Acre Europe (Sustainable Business), said: “Cooling (alongside lighting, heating and embodied carbon) is an increasingly important concern for the built environment across the globe.

“The effects of the climate crisis are becoming more tangible by the day. We’re not doing enough yet to curb the problem, so accelerated innovation and many initiatives will be needed to tackle this. Wonderful to see that the IKEA Foundation and the Clean Cooling Collaborative are partnering to do exactly that!”

The Clean Cooling Collaborative is an initiative of ClimateWorks Foundation which launched as the Kigali Cooling Efficiency Program (K-CEP) in 2017.

The program, the largest of its kind, has launched a new set of strategies that aim to avoid 100 gigatons of CO2e emissions globally by 2050. The Collaborative aims to achieve this by:

1.Reducing the need for mechanical cooling through improved building design and urban planning

2.Optimizing mechanical cooling technologies and their use to be more efficient, climate-friendly and grid-friendly

3.Increasing access to efficient, climate-friendly cooling for people at risk from the threats of extreme heat.

The program will focus on the regions projected to be responsible for 75 percent of all global cooling-related emissions over the next three decades: India, China, Southeast Asia and the United States.

The IKEA Foundation, headquartered in Leiden, Netherlands, currently donates more than €200million per year to help improve family incomes and quality of life while protecting the planet from the devastations that climate change is inflicting.

Last year the Foundation decided to make an additional €1billion available over the next five years to accelerate the reduction of GHG emissions.

Ricardo Pengel is a Principal Consultant within Acre Benelux's Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability team.

Ricardo has recruited across various sectors for national, regional and international organizations. Prior to joining Acre, Ricardo worked for a renowned global executive search firm where he was part of the firm’s Procurement, Supply Chain & Operations Centre of Excellence and was responsible for retained searches across the Benelux region. Prior to this, he worked for a reputable global recruitment firm for five years where he was part of the firm’s Procurement & Supply Chain practice where he led a team focusing on senior management searches.

Elisabeth is a Senior Consultant within Acre's Sustainable Business team Europe, based in Amsterdam. Elisabeth leads senior searches for Acre across the Real Estate, Professional Services, FMCG, Retail and Agriculture sectors and supports Acre’s mission to further build out its practice across Europe. In the past 20 years, her own work experience spans Management, Consultant and Research roles in B2B services (International Tax, Global Mobility, Executive Search).