Bunked off work yesterday, did you? Decided to devote a dismal Monday afternoon to a few hours spent mud-larking on the banks of the Thames rather than facing another day of tip-tap-typing away at the sales reports which are so old and overdue that they’ve started entering rooms and immediately forgotten why they’ve ended up in the kitchen peering at a packet of custard creams? Good for you!
You might have noticed, then, something unusual bobbing around one of the world’s great rivers. No, it wasn’t one of those weird river-rave pleasure-cruisers that’d found itself accidentally docked near Ian McKellen’s pub in Limehouse with a boatful of slightly-confused tech-house aficionados asking loud and slightly threatening questions about how they were meant to get back to Basildon before The World at One.
It was, in fact, a new campaign by flat-pack furniture giants Ikea, who decided to toast the opening of a new superstore in Greenwich by launching an environmentally-minded vessel that “clears rubbish from polluted waterways” via remote control.
Named The Good Ship Ikea – the do-gooding promotional item is currently bobbing around in Deptford Creek, where it is currently hoovering up around 20kg of rubbish an hour.
The Greenwich outpost of Ikea is billed as the company’s “leading sustainable store in the UK”, and this river-clearing scheme seeks to rid a small portion of the Thames of the crisp packets, water bottles, and sad, sorry punctured footballs that find themselves battered by the grizzly grey-brown tides of the great waterway from now until kingdom come.
The campaign seems to hint at a genuine interest in how companies and corporations can attempt to marry an interest in the little matter of the future of the planet, with the need to make a profit. To that end, the Swedish retailer will be donating the vessels to Hubbub, a charity geared toward encouraging all of us to consider making “healthier, greener lifestyle choices”.
The Good Ship(s) Ikea will be found in Deptford Creek until the end of the day today (19 February), so if you’re desperate to catch a glimpse of a boat sucking up rubbish you know what to do.