Putting people first

Woman and childen in India
We want to play our part in creating a better life for the people and communities touched by our business. This has always been part of our approach, and it is even more important today as our business continues to grow around the world. Download the 2014 IKEA Sustainability Report PDF
Everyone deserves a better everyday life
Our vision “to create a better everyday life for the many people” includes our co-workers, customers, suppliers and the communities where they live. Respect for human rights, based on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, is part of everything we do and is included in our supplier code of conduct, called the IWAY Standard. Download the IWAY Standard PDF
At IKEA, we believe in people
We do our best to stand for equal opportunities and support human rights. Every co-worker can expect fair treatment and equal opportunities whatever their ethnicity, religion, gender, physical ability, sexual orientation or age. Find out more in Working at the IKEA Group
It’s not just what goes into our products that’s important – it’s the people behind the scenes, too.
Respect for human rights is part of everything IKEA does and is included in the IKEA supplier code of conduct
An Indian girl in school
We believe in protecting children
We do everything we can to act in the best interests of children, whether it’s how we design products or steps we have taken to eliminate child labour.
Our commitment to children runs deep
When it comes to our products and stores, we try to think from a child’s perspective. We want our products to aid their development and for our stores to become play areas, just as if they were at home. We work with experts on children’s development, to learn and understand their needs during different stages of development.
A clear ban on child labour
We believe that children have the right to be protected from exploitation, abuse and neglect. This is why child labour is unacceptable to IKEA and why we work actively to prevent and eliminate it. Our child labour code of conduct, introduced in 2000, was developed in close co-operation with Save the Children and with advice from the International Labor Organization (ILO) and UNICEF.
Creating long-term solutions
Preventing and eliminating child labour is a big challenge, which can only be tackled by addressing the root causes with a holistic approach. That’s why the IKEA Foundation supports UNICEF and Save the Children child rights programs in 25,000 villages in a number of states in India and Pakistan; reaching a total of 15 million children by the end of 2017. Visit the IKEA Foundation website for more information
Building good relationships
We want everyone to feel good about the products we sell, which is why we put a lot of work into our supplier relationships – and those relationships that reach beyond ours. There are about 600,000 people working for companies that directly supply IKEA around the world, and we want to be sure they are all treated fairly.
That’s why in 2000 we launched IWAY, our supplier code of conduct. Our suppliers are responsible for communicating IWAY to their sub-suppliers and we are supporting them to do this. All home furnishing suppliers must comply with IWAY requirements, otherwise they are phased out.
What is the IWAY Standard?
Our supplier code of conduct, the IWAY Standard, plays an important role in positive developments. It specifies our minimum requirements relating to the environment, social impact and working conditions.
We visit our suppliers regularly to check that they are following the IWAY Standard. Around 80 IKEA auditors, as well as independent third party auditors make both announced and unannounced checks at suppliers and their sub-suppliers.
IWAY Standards are clearly posted on a supplier factory wall
The IWAY Standard requirements include:
- No child labour
- No forced or bonded labour
- No discrimination
- Freedom of association
- At least minimum wages and overtime compensation
- A safe and healthy work environment, preventing pollution to air, ground and water and work to reduce energy consumption. Download the IWAY Standard PDF
Building partnerships with social entrepreneurs
Social entrepreneurs are in the business of making everyday life better in their communities. They use business as a way to tackle social and environmental challenges such as reforestation, reducing poverty and empowering women. That’s why we are proud to create long-term partnerships with social entrepreneurs around the world.
Working closely with our partners we learn from each other, share our business experiences and ideas about design. Our close cooperation allows us to do things like adapt production to the farming seasons so that rural artisans who make the collections can balance their craftwork with family and community responsibilities.
Collaborating with social entrepreneurs gives us inspiration and access to skilled artisans who work with traditional handicrafts. The products we co-create are all made by hand in limited numbers and sold in selected IKEA stores with all profits going back into the initiative.
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Artisans from the social enterprises Rangsutra, Doi Tung Development Project and Industree PT
Community-led education about growing Better Cotton
Working with WWF to improve cotton farmers’ lives
IKEA and WWF have worked successfully together on cotton farming issues for over a decade. As a result, an estimated 110,000 farmers in India, Pakistan, China and Turkey have started growing cotton in a more sustainable way. By using less chemical fertilizers and more natural alternatives to chemical pesticides, small-hold farmers can cut their costs while crops remain as good as before. The money they save might be used to invest in water-saving drip irrigation or perhaps in education for their children. Learn more about our partnership on cotton (PDF)
IKEA Living Local Community Grants
While IKEA works on a global level to improve the lives of many people in developing countries, we also want to make a positive impact on our local community.

The IKEA Living Local Community Grants are about combining our products, our home furnishing expertise and our co-worker volunteer leave days to support local non-profit and charity organisations whose efforts are focused on helping those without homes, and children.
How it works
1. If you are a non-profit or charitable organisation with a need for our products and home furnishings expertise to makeover your premises then simply register your interest below – we will contact you when the applications are open.
2. You will have until midnight 24th January 2016 to submit your inspiring proposal.
3. Then the IKEA store team - at each of our seven stores in QLD, NSW, ACT and VIC – will select up to three organisations for co-workers and customers to vote online.
4. The organisation from each store with the highest number of online votes becomes the winner who receives the $5,000 IKEA makeover comprising our products, home furnishing expertise and our co-worker volunteers to bring it all together. The two runners-up will both receive IKEA gift cards.
IKEA co-workers volunteering
Community volunteer support
At IKEA we strive to be a good neighbour by helping create a better everyday life for the people and communities where we operate.

We believe we have some of the most committed, talented and creative people working for us. Every one of our permanent co-workers has access to one day of volunteer leave to work in the local community each year.

Do you have an opportunity for a team of IKEA co-workers in your charity or local community group?
IKEA Community Volunteer requirements
• We are looking for non-profit organisations local to our stores in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane whose primary focus is either the support and development of children, providing housing and shelter for people in need, or responding to Australian environmental issues such as floods, bushfires and cyclones.
• We require that you hold current Public Liability insurance.
• That the activity is safe and supervised for the full duration by a representative from your organisation.
• That the activity is held onsite at your location which is local/close to our stores to allow ease of access for our co-workers.
• Does not involve unsupervised contact with children, or require any ‘working with children’ certification.
• We cannot guarantee the minimum number of co-workers requested, as volunteering is not mandatory. We require at least one months notice before the activity.
IKEA co-workers volunteering
If you have a volunteer activity simply complete a Volunteer Support Request and email to
Before submitting a request please note we are unable to support:
• For-profit organisations
• Direct fundraising (tin shaking/ribbon sales)
• Sports teams, leagues or sponsoring sporting, art or entertainment events
• Individual requests that benefit one person
• Organisations that are not open to all members of the community
• Organisations with a political or religious affiliation
IKEA Volunteer
Improving opportunities for children
No matter what the circumstances, every child deserves a placeto call home, a healthy start in life, a quality education and a sustainable family income. The IKEA Foundation supports programmes run by well-regarded organisations – like UNICEF and the Clinton Health Access Initiative – to help children and youth living in the world’s poorest communities so they can create a better future for themselves and their families. The Foundation’s currently funded programmes will benefit 100 million children by the end of 2015.
Visit the IKEA Foundation website for more info
Two children at a refugee camp
The IKEA Foundation donates tens of millions of euros to charity each year through funds set aside from IKEA profits.
4 ways the IKEA foundation helps children
A young girl in school
Empowering women and girls
By empowering women – through education, skills training, improved healthcare, or providing a loan to set up a small business – we can improve children’s health, education and future opportunities. opportunities. The IKEA Foundation funds programmes to empower and educate women, giving them a better chance to provide for themselves and their families. Visit the IKEA Foundation website to learn more about their empowerment programmes
A young boy at a refugee camp
A better life for refugee children
Every year millions of children are forced to flee their homes because of natural disasters and conflicts. The IKEA Foundation is supporting the UN’s Refugee Agency with €76 million to provide shelter, care and education to refugee families in Ethiopia, Sudan and Bangladesh. Visit the IKEA Foundation website to find out how they are building safe places for refugee families to call home
Young children that are not in school are the most vulnerable
Preventing child labour
Since 2000, we have donated €80 million to UNICEF and Save the Children to fight the root causes of child labour in India and Pakistan. Our programmes have already helped 12 million children have access to better schools and better protection from having to work, and we're extending them to reach many millions more. Visit the IKEA Foundation website for more information on how they are working towards preventing child labour
Young child sitting on his mother's lap while a female doctor listens to his heart
Emergency response
All children should have the right to learn and play. But when natural disasters and conflicts turn their lives upside down, they lose the chance to simply be a child. That’s why the IKEA Foundation provides financial support and donates IKEA products for emergency relief efforts to humanitarian partners like Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), UNICEF, Save the Children and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). Visit the IKEA Foundation website to learn more about the emergency response programmes
Customers and co-workers helping together
Each year IKEA co-workers and customers join together in two campaigns to help create a better everyday life for the less fortunate. The campaigns raise money for the charities UNICEF, Save the Children and UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency. The money goes to good causes like improving children’s education and providing lighting in refugee camps. The campaigns also create awareness of the problems and the good work being done to solve them.
A group of boys playing football on a dusty patch of land as the sun sets.
Together we make a difference to people’s lives.
The IWitness Global Citizens programme
This programme gives IKEA co-workers a chance to see first-hand how the money raised through IKEA good cause campaigns contributes to a better life for children in the world’s poorest communities. Co-workers visit various projects run by IKEA Foundation partners, and share their experiences on IKEA Foundations’ Global Citizens blog.
A young girl with pig tails and red ribbons in her hair doing school work.
Soft Toys for Education – helping 11 million children since 2003
When customers buy a soft toy or children’s book in November and December, the IKEA Foundation donates €1 to Save the Children and UNICEF. This campaign has raised €67 million since 2003 and has helped more than 11 million children in 46 countries get a better education. Find out more at the IKEA Foundation
A woman hanging up a lamp inside her home with her baby strapped to her back.
Brighter lives for Refugees – for people who have lost everything
This campaign raised €7.7 million in February and March 2014, its first year. When customers buy an LED light bulb, the IKEA Foundation donates €1 to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). The money funds things like solar-powered lighting that makes refugee camps safer and lets children study after sunset. Find out more at the IKEA Foundation
150th preschool in Cambodia
We’re now working hard to establish 40 urban preschools in some of the poorest areas of Phnom Penh so more children can go to school.
Giving 3,000 children across 12 provinces access to education, thanks to you!
Small change, big impact
Since 2011, these donations have assisted in improving early childhood education in rural Cambodia. Over the past four years, we have managed to reach our goal to establish 150 rural community preschools. These preschools give young children a chance to learn and be active in their community.

Previously, Cambodian children aged between three and five years, especially those who experience learning difficulties, were unable to access preschool classes. Early learning programs are essential in a child’s development because they lead to higher levels of primary school enrolment and, in turn, positively affect a child’s chances at employment later in life. Children who miss out on preschool are also more likely to fall behind or drop out of primary school, exposing them to the cycle of poverty.

It costs $3,000 to set up one preschool, and to support it over a 5-year period until it is firmly established. This process includes regular teacher training, visits from UNICEF staff in Cambodia, and teaching and learning materials.

Our UNICEF Ambassadors
In addition to your IKEA FAMILY donations, our co-workers have also been raising funds through iCare - our workplace giving program. Every store in Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane has a dedicated UNICEF Ambassador who has travelled to rural Cambodia to witness firsthand the impact our pre-school projects are having on the remote communities. On their return, the Ambassadors engage our co-workers to contribute to iCare by sharing their exepriences.Currently, 36 per cent of our co-workers are regular workplace giving contributors, making us UNICEF’s largest corporate partner in Australia - well ahead of the nation’s workplace giving average of 11 per cent. This is truly a fantastic achievement and a testament to our commitment to improving the lives of disadvantaged children.
Small actions add up
See how water-saving taps and energy-saving induction hobs can help you save money at home. Go to Sustainable Life at Home
IKEA water saving taps reduce water usage by up to 50%
Installing solar panels on an IKEA store
Creating positive change
Learn how we’re sourcing materials in a responsible way and becoming energy independent. Go to Energy & Resources