Ikea gives staff chance to get on their bikes

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Ikea, the Swedish retail chain, showed its green credentials yesterday by giving all 9,000 of its workers a free bicycle.

The store handed out the £139 fold-up bike and offered a 15 per cent subsidy on public transport at its Christmas breakfast. Last year the Christmas present was a portable DVD player and in 2004 staff received an MP3 player.

This year the flatpack furniture specialist decided that giving a bike would send a strong environmental message.

The bicycle is the store's second high-profile green gesture this year following its decision to introduce a charge for plastic bags and encourage reusable ones. Plastic bag take-up at checkouts is down by 97 per cent.

"We want to create a better everyday life for the many, and do what we can to make greener living possible," Ikea's UK manager, Peter Hogsted, said. "The bike is a fun present but there is a serious message. We all have a responsibility to do what we can to protect the environment."

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