The burning of rice straw – a residue from harvesting rice – is a major contributor to air pollution and smog in India. With the ‘Better Air Now’ initiative, IKEA wants to act on this issue by turning rice straw into a new renewable raw material source for its products. IKEA is working closely with central and state governments in India, private companies, innovators, NGOs, the UN, universities, suppliers and farmers to contribute to villages achieving the goal of zero rice straw burning. Initially, the initiative will focus on the northern parts of India and cities like New Delhi, Gurgaon and Faridabad. The aim is to expand the initiative to other areas of the country and to create a model for how to reduce air pollution in other mega cities of the world.
“The health effects of air pollution are severe and at IKEA, we are determined to contribute to a solution. If we can find a way to make use of rice straw, it would become a valuable income source for farmers instead of being burnt, which in the end will also contribute to better air for people,” says Helene Davidsson, Sustainability Manager (South Asia) at IKEA Purchasing.