IKEA to launch $1bn clean energy charity

A huge new initiative to empower 1 billion people with access to renewable energy is being launched by The Rockefeller Foundation and Ikea Foundation.

Striving to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 1 billion tons, the primary aim is to deliver clean and reliable power to the 800 million people worldwide who are currently without access to electricity, plus tackling the additional 2.8 billion whose connection is unreliable.

Launching later this year, the new $1 billion global platform will be run as a public charity, enabling investors and governments to pool resources in order to widen their philanthropic impact. As part of the ‘single largest distributed renewable energy initiative’, the funds will be channeled into development projects, with a focus on fighting climate change and energy poverty at the forefront. 

“We have the responsibility and the opportunity to keep global warming below the 1.5ºC ceiling,” said Per Heggenes, CEO of the Ikea Foundation. 

“Through this initiative, replacing diesel generators and coal-fired grids with renewable alternatives, we can achieve a double impact: cutting greenhouse gas emissions now and preventing further increase in the future. By doing so, and working closely together with governments, development finance institutions, private sector and others, we hope to cut 1 billion tons of CO2 emissions and positively impact the lives of 1 billion people.”

The renewable energy will come from decentralised sources, such as mini-grid and off-grid solutions close to the point of use, rather than relying on centralised supplies such as those from power plants. The project will further endeavour to encourage emerging economies to switch over to renewable power sources. 

The timing of the platform launch is also intended to help kick-start recoveries from the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, which has impaired the progress towards widening energy access internationally. 

“Millions of lives and trillions of dollars have been lost to Covid-19, forcing people back into poverty after decades of progress. The effects of the climate crisis will make this even worse, which is why we must invest now to reverse this downward spiral,” said Dr. Rajiv J. Shah, President of The Rockefeller Foundation. 

“Big, bold, and pioneering collaboration and investment is required not only for the short term, but also the long term, to galvanize a better future. That is why we are announcing our latest commitment to date and joining forces with Ikea Foundation to double that investment. Our partnership will unlock the financing and resources that are essential to provide clean, reliable electricity that improves the lives and livelihoods of people everywhere.”

The Ikea Foundation is dedicated to tackling inequalities at their roots. For more information on their work, visit ikeafoundation.org. 

The Rockefeller Foundation works to promote global wellbeing and make opportunities universal, with a focus on renewable energy, economic mobility and access to nutritious food. For additional information on their work and aims, visit rockefellerfoundation.org.