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It’s that time again, when we look back at the agencies, the brands, the organizations, movements and trends that have shaped the past year. In 2020 – a year so many of us would like to forget – our industry of problem solvers proved time and again that they have what it takes to muck in, help out, ask questions, shape cultures and change the world. It is them that we celebrate in our New Year Honors.

The home of small pencils and hot dogs, a trip to everyone’s favorite flat-pack retailer feels like a grand day out. Given it’s such a popular destination, how did Ikea cope this year, with 75% of its shops shut for seven weeks over lockdown?  

Pretty well, actually. With Ikea lovers unable to leisurely proceed around its bright showrooms, it shifted its focus towards e-commerce and smaller inner-city formats. A fortuitous move that resulted in a growth of 600% online over the entire financial year, thanks to the home taking on a new dimension during lockdown, resulting in a makeover surge. 

But perhaps what Ikea should most be commended for is its commitment to transforming its whole business to help combat climate change. It has aims to become 100% circular as a business by 2030, proving that even big brands can buy into the model.

To do so, Ikea needs to ensure 100% of the materials used to make its 12,000-strong product catalog are made from recycled and recyclable materials. ”It’s also critical to highlight that it’s about designing for circularity. We’ve devised nine circular design principles that means our products will be designed from the beginning to be re-purposed, repaired, assembled and disassembled,” explains Ikea’s UK’s country sustainability manager Hege Sæbjørnsen. 

As part of its further sustainability efforts, Ikea recently announced it was testing out a ’Buy Back’ scheme that would allow customers to trade in their old items in return for vouchers to spend in-store. Beyond that, it has opened a pilot second-hand store in Sweden. It also plans to make 50% of its food menu plant-based by 2025. 

After bringing grime to the masses in its first-ever Christmas campaign, Ikea’s global creative has been tonally spot-on as the world rides 2020's emotional rollercoaster. Imitating the distinctive simplicity of its flat-pack instructions, back in May Ikea Russia provided parents in lockdown with much-needed kids entertainment in the form of instructional sheets on how to build furniture forts.  

This year also saw Virtue premiere its first work for Ikea after it was tasked with leading brand-building communication across six European countries in a beautiful ode to remote living. It also collaborated with Lego to build a creative solution to messy play, aptly names ‘Bygglek’. But its most conceptually pleasing work was ‘Tomorrow Starts Tonight’. Simple and effective, Mother London dreamed up a beautiful way to illustrate the healing properties of Ikea’s sleep range.   

We’ll be celebrating all our favorite things about 2020 on thedrum.com between now and early January. Keep an eye on our New Year Honors hub to read more.