Bengaluru: Around 20% of Ikea India’s customer delivery fleet for its first store in the country, due to be opened in mid-2018 in Hyderabad, will comprise of electric vehicles in the first year of its operations, the company said.

That number is expected to increase to 40% in the second year and 60% in the third year of the store’s operations, according to the Swedish furniture maker’s sustainability report published in India on Thursday.

The company plans to create electric vehicle charging infrastructure too at its Hyderabad store.

Globally, Ikea follows sustainable practices across all aspects of its business and has already established targets for its India operations across divisions, including ensuring 50% of its workforce in the country are women by 2025.

“Globally, 54% of our workforce are women, and 43% of that are female managers. So it’s quite exciting because it’s not just on a co-worker level but also on a manager level we’ve achieved quite an equal workforce," Derya Völlings, sustainability matrix manager for the Asia Pacific retail region at Ikea (China) Investment Co. Ltd said in an interview.

About 45% of Ikea’s India total workforce—currently 400 employees, and expected to increase to 15,000 by 2025—are women, and they also account for 42% of people in managerial roles.

Last November, Ikea’s philanthropic arm launched a retail training programme for women in Telangana called Project Disha with the long-term aim of training around a million women for the retail sector. Under that programme, the company planned to hire 150 women for various positions at its Hyderabad store and the first of those have already started to join, said Susanne Pulverer, store manager (New Delhi) and India sustainability lead at Ikea.

Only 27% of Ikea’s India workforce was women when the company launched Project Disha, according to a story by the Times of India last November quoting Ikea India’s former chief executive officer Juvencio Maetzu.

On Monday, the company had announced that Peter Betzel will take over as the new India CEO as Maetzu moves into the global role of chief financial officer and deputy CEO of Ikea Group.

“We’ve already brought it (percentage of women) up to 45%. You can make a big difference when you recruit. To change something that’s already set takes longer but we were committed all through and that is what I think we see the result of," Ikea’s Pulverer said on Thursday.

Ikea also plans to increase its sourcing from India, currently around 2-3% of global sourcing, especially for its local stores. While the company’s India sourcing is mostly for textiles, it has now opened up for sofa and mattress sourcing too for its domestic stores.

Wood is another raw material Ikea would like to source from India, although that will be more challenging considering the country does not have an abundant supply of sustainably-sourced wood, Pulverer said.

Last August, PTI reported that Ikea is in talks with a number of state governments including Telangana, Karnataka, Maharashtra and states in the north-eastern part of the country to source wood.

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