Pupils pitch big ideas to global retail giant IKEA

The Ely College pupils visited IKEA's distribution centre in Peterborough.

The Ely College pupils visited IKEA's distribution centre in Peterborough. - Credit: Archant

A class of Ely College’s Year 7 students pitched ideas to IKEA, suggesting how the global retailer could save resources and become more sustainable.

The students visited IKEA’s distribution centre in Peterborough in January, and spent the day learning about the logistics involved in such a large international operation.

Hosted by the company’s UK sustainability manager and Ely-resident Anthony Browne and sustainability developer Rob Buck, the young entrepreneurs were set a task to come up with cost and resource saving ideas for moving products between manufacturers, distribution hubs and customers.

The winning team - Operation Eco - suggested a novel way for IKEA to reduce the amount of shrink-wrap required in its operation.

Mr Browne said: “The quality of presentations was phenomenal. I’m not sure I’d have been able to stand up and present to Rob and myself aged 12 or 13, but these young people had all done their research and presented with such belief and confidence, it was compelling.

“One group even had business cards. There had to be a winner, but the reality is that the whole class should be very proud of their achievements.”

Pupil Reece Graves, one of the young brains behind Operation Eco, added: “We enjoyed working as a team, although at first, because we had lots of good ideas, we had to find a compromise. That was tough, but great fun. I feel I’ve learned a great deal from this project.”