So here’s a new situation – We find that a certain corporation is not tooting their horn nearly enough about their sustainability initiatives. Weird eh? We live in a world heavily laden with misleading corporate greenwashing, where a mining company may strip the land bare, follow that with a commercial about planting a tree, and then wait for accolades. Yes, I exaggerate, but it really gets under my skin to see things like that, or an oil company building a double-hull tanker then making a commercial showing dolphins and whales seemingly rejoicing at such a selfless gesture. 

That’s the world we’re used to seeing, and let’s face it – they do it because it works. It’s just simple marketing. Big companies must cultivate a socially and environmentally progressive image, if for no other reason than the fact that their competitors likely do it. Spend a thousand bucks planting trees and a hundred thousand bucks telling us about it. Is that cynical? Okay, maybe just a little...

Corporate Sustainability

So with that mini-rant out of the way and my cynicism curbed - we know there are a lot of large companies that truly are stepping up. Ikea we are increasingly finding, is one such company. But the funny thing is, they seem to go far beyond what most companies do yet they hardly say a word about it. Is that an oversight? Humility? Doin’ the right thing…just because? It's something we find a little curious is all. They really don't make it obvious, and we’ve had to dig to find out that they sell furniture with non-toxic, formaldehyde-free materials, or non-toxic zero-VOC finishes.

Here is a non-toxic natural wood finishing oil we found and used, and it can be easy to overlook since it isn't wrapped in a splashy ‘eco-friendly’ logo, we had to read the fine print to learn this -

"The main ingredients in the wood treatment oil are tung oil and linseed oil. It contains no solvents that can harm the environment and doesn't give off any strong odors while being applied."

Now that is the kind of product I can comfortably give to my kid to do home repairs and not feel guilty while I watch him work. 

Applying SKYDD food safe natural mineral oil wood finish to a table
Applying SKYDD food safe natural mineral oil wood finish to a table

Without realizing it or paying a premium for it, Ikea customers are often going home with healthier and more sustainable products anyway. So, Kudos to you Ikea we are suitably impressed, though not with your marketing department though - some of your stuff looks more dangerous than the dangerous stuff ;)

Usually the fine print is where you go when you want to learn about all the nasty chemicals you'll be shortening your life by coming in contact with, but in Ikea’s fine print you learn that you can make your kids lunches on it. Still amused : ) 

Natural non-toxic food safe mineral-based wood finishing oil
Natural non-toxic food safe mineral-based wood finishing oil

FSC certified wood products from IKEA

Another little fact we like is that Ikea sources wood from sustainably managed FSC Certified forests. We can’t all afford hand made solid wood furniture, so we’re always happy to see sustainable materials and home furnishings becoming more accessible.

So if anyone wants greener options for kitchen and bathroom cabinets, or any other wood and cabinetry furnishings from a big box store, it seems they have some really healthiest stuff. 

Below is their latest initiative, and we thought it was worth sharing - 


IKEA Canada has announced the launch of a national Sell-Back Program to create a more sustainable and affordable shopping experience for Canadians. The new service enables customers to apply to sell their gently-used IKEA products back to the retailer, in exchange for store credit. 

IKEA will in turn give the product a second-life through resale or donation – one of the many ways the company is supporting its commitment to be a fully circular business by 2030. A benefit of the IKEA Family loyalty program – the new service has seen an enthusiastic response from customers looking to capture value for their existing products, with more than 7,600 sell-back submissions online in less than two months.

“IKEA is transforming its business to become ever more accessible, affordable, and sustainable – having a positive impact on people and the planet,” said Brendan Seale, Head of Sustainability, IKEA Canada. “The Sell-Back program offers a straight-forward solution to our customers who have finished with an IKEA product, helping them to capture some value for it, but also to maximize the value of the product by giving it another life.”

As part of its People + Planet positive strategy, IKEA has committed to becoming a fully circular business by 2030. This means transforming the current linear business model and designing products with re-use, repair, repurposing and recycling in mind from the beginning, using only renewable, recycled and recyclable materials, eliminating waste, and introducing services like Sell-Back which connect with customers in new ways to extend the life of product.

Ikea Sell-back furniture program
IKEA Sell-Back program allows buyers to return lightly used furniture

“At this time of year, we know many of our customers are decluttering their spaces and organizing their goods,” said Seale. “We are thrilled at the response to the Sell-Back program which enables us to establish a longer-term relationship with these customers, supporting them to live more sustainably, while adding convenience and value for their next shopping trip at IKEA.”

How to “Sell-Back” at IKEA Canada:

1. Visit and login (current member) or sign-up for a free membership (new member).
2. Click on the Sell-back tab, select your local store, applicable product category and fill out a simple online form with a minimum of three photos of the product.
3. You will then receive a confirmation email with a reference code. Once processed, an IKEA co-worker from the selected store will respond with an in-store credit offer or decline.
4. If you receive an offer, bring the product, reference code and IKEA Family card to the Returns & Exchanges desk at the selected store within 30 days and receive your IKEA in-store credit.

Note: Products must be gently-used, fully assembled and fall into one of the listed product categories, including:

•Dressers, office drawer cabinets, small structures with drawers, shoe storage, sideboards
•Bookcases and shelf units
•Chairs and stools
•Chests of drawers
•Dining tables and desks
•Multimedia furniture
•Small tables

Since the program softly launched, the most popular product categories for sell-back have included: Chairs and stools, Dressers and Bookcases.
IKEA Canada continues its journey to become the leading multichannel home furnishings retailer, delivering a convenient, affordable and sustainable customer experience whenever and wherever Canadians want to shop.

To create a more flexible shopping experience, IKEA Canada recently launched TaskRabbit in-home assembly and mounting service in select markets, as well as a new 365 return policy nationwide.

Read more here about Ikea Canada here and find their email address.

Now you know about the Ikea Sell-back program and how easy it is to exchange lightly used items. Learn more about sustainable construction and how to create healthy indoor spaces, all in the Ecohome Building Guide pages

Find more pages about sustainable and resilient green building techniques here : 

Find more about green home construction in the Ecohome Green Building Guide pages - and learn more about the benefits of a free Ecohome Network Membership here.