September 22, 2014 / 3:06 PM / 5 years ago

IKEA to widen solar panel sales to eight new nations from UK

General view of IKEA's first city centre store in Hamburg June 25, 2014. REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - IKEA Group, the world’s biggest furniture retailer, said on Monday that it will widen sales of home rooftop solar panels from Britain to eight other nations including the Netherlands and Switzerland.

The Swedish company also said that plastic in its home furnishing products - which it said range from washing up brushes to garden chairs - would be made from recycled materials or from renewable sources such as wood by 2020.

“We are determined to make sustainability both affordable and attractive to as many people as possible,” IKEA Chief Executive Peter Agnefjall said in a statement on the eve of a U.N. climate summit in New York.

Agnefjall will attend the summit, at which U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon wants “bold” commitments to combat global warming by everyone from governments to companies.

IKEA said that it would expand its offer of residential solar panels, sold in its British stores since 2013, in partnership with the British unit of Chinese clean energy generator Hanergy Holding Group Ltd.

The solar offer would expand to the Netherlands in October and Switzerland in December, and to stores in another six nations within 18 months. IKEA did not name those countries.

IKEA also said it was making “strong progress” on a set of commitments to invest $1.5 billion (918.27 million pounds) in wind and solar power for its own operations as part of a goal of getting all of its energy from renewables by 2020.

It said it had installed 700,000 solar panels on its own buildings and committed to own and operate 224 wind turbines.

The company said that its commitment to use recycled plastics would save an estimated 700,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions a year, equivalent to the annual emissions from electricity use in 100,000 U.S. homes.

Writing by Alister Doyle in Oslo; editing by Susan Thomas

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