Ethical flatpack furniture in my thoughts and my sitting room
My mind has been on IKEA. The family recently spent a hugely enjoyable day browsing its aspirational room settings and making a dent in its tea-light supplies, followed by a very satisfying meal of meatballs and chips (only at IKEA)! Since then, everything I read seems to have an IKEA theme.
For a start there is their new series of ads, which use the Big Brother House theme to take a group of Gen Zs back to life in the 90s – before IKEA’s dominance of simple design ideas and clutter free living.
Then there is their declaration that they will pay people for their old IKEA furniture and repair and recycle it. Well done IKEA!
And today, I have been looking at a new conference called Progressive Retail, that has Pia Heidenmark Cook, Senior Advisor, Ingka Group and former Chief Sustainability Officer, IKEA as a headline speaker.
In such a crowded online event space, it is easy to ignore yet another crowded agenda, but this one resonated, because of the following. It states: “Businesses that embrace progressive values, champion change, promote diversity and embrace technology will succeed and define the modern retail world.
The suggestion therefore is that those brands that don’t embrace what are becoming aspirational values will have trouble surviving. It is an interesting suggestion that could probably only happen in a post-covid, imminent-global warming apocalyptic 2021.
Chatting to co-founder and CEO Gary Thatcher, he explained that he wanted to do something ‘different, risky and uncomfortable’. “The idea for a conference that had a sustainability day, an all women speaker day and that examined ethical business propositions seemed all those things, so we decided we were onto something,” he said.
The remit of the Progressive Retail conference is that it will take place virtually every quarter, because as Gary says, retail is changing far too fast for an annual event to be sufficient, and the subjects will be swapped out to ensure each event addresses the most pressing subjects at that time.
Explained Gary: “I am in my forties, I have a black business partner, the company is run by a woman, and yet our event programmes were filled 80% to 90% by white men in their sixties and seventies. Something wasn’t right. Now it feels more honest and truthful. It is not possible to just give lip service to sustainability and ethics. Customers are too well informed. Companies must do this properly.”
The line-up for Progressive Retail resonates because of its parallel themes of sustainability, inclusion and technology which seem poles apart but are deeply reliant, one on the other.
Gone are the days when eco-warriors could only be found in remote valleys in Wales. Today they live in every town and city in the world, and are deeply passionate about the state of the planet and what it means to their future. These are our future best customers, they are our employees, our influencers and our families.
So Loyalty Magazine has become a media partner with Progressive Retail, and editor Annich McIntosh will be chairing the sustainability panel on day 1.
Good luck to Progressive Retail and well done for raising the bar for online events.
International Loyalty Awards 2022
Additionally we ask you to look out for the launch of the newly named International Loyalty Awards – formerly The Loyalty Magazine Awards. We have been global now for a few years, and so we are taking the opportunity of the Covid lull to re-launch in style – sometime in October. We will be tweaking the categories too, making sure they are fully relevant in our fast changing world.
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