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PEOPLE & COMMUNITIES

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. From our co-workers, suppliers, to children and families living in some of the world’s most vulnerable communities – we always strive to promote equality, diversity and respect for human rights in everything we do. Download the 2016 IKEA Sustainability Report PDF
PEOPLE & COMMUNITIES: HUMAN RIGHTS | SUPPLIERS | SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURS
Human rights
Nobody’s equal till everybody’s equal
Human Rights are for everyone, everyday. So our vision of “creating a better everyday life for the many people” embraces co-workers, customers, suppliers and their local communities. And not just when we’re in the spotlight either, it’s a 365 day a year commitment. Our co-workers can expect fair treatment and equal opportunities, whatever their ethnicity, religion, gender, physical ability, sexual orientation or age. Because a level playing field brings out the best in all of us, men and women alike. And it has to be level everyday, not just when it’s convenient.
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)
Three IKEA co-workers in a room setting consisting of two orange desks with chairs, a white chest of drawers and open wall shelves.
There are 200 million international migrants across the world, with many discovering that finding better work can lead to large debts from recruitment fees, forced labour and human trafficking. IKEA has joined with four other companies to drive positive change through the Leadership Group for Responsible Recruitment, whose vision is a world where no worker pays hiring fees. IKEA has always been supporter of fair working conditions as a human right, and as part of the Leadership Group, we would like meaningful and lasting change to hiring practices for migrants to become standard practice.
For many migrant workers, the promise of a better future can result in large debts from recruitment fees and – in the worst cases – bonded labour. At IKEA we set clear standards for the recruitment and employment of workers through IWAY, our code of conduct. Under no circumstances do we tolerate forced labour or human trafficking. We also expect our suppliers to treat migrant workers fairly and to offer transparent employment terms and good working and living conditions.
Supporting the ethical recruitment of migrant workers
Working together to drive change
In many countries recruitment practices are complex and involve several organisations. To support our suppliers in dealing with these challenges, we are partnering with the International Organization for Migration (IOM). In South East Asia we have already worked together to successfully map the recruitment process from suppliers back to the workers’ home countries. We will use the findings to further support the ethical recruitment of migrant workers and to work towards creating lasting change.
Learn more about the International Organization for Migration
IKEA supports the ethical recruitment of migrant workers
An Indian girl in school
We believe in protecting children
We do everything we can to act in the best interests of children and protect children’s rights. We do this through advocacy, raising awareness and supporting children in vulnerable communities.
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
SUPPLIERS
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 IWAY, the IKEA supplier code of conduct, was launched in 2000. IKEA suppliers are responsible for communicating IWAY to their sub-suppliers, and IKEA is supporting them in doing this. All home furnishing suppliers must comply with IWAY requirements, otherwise they are phased out.
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What is the IWAY Standard?
The IKEA supplier code of conduct, the IWAY Standard, plays an important role in positive developments. It specifies minimum requirements relating to the environment, social impact and working conditions.
Suppliers are visited 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.
Two persons in a wood factory standing by an assembly line.
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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Not just your ordinary rug
The TÅNUM rag rug is a great example of how we can bring together two of our core passions – reducing waste and creating a better everyday life. TÅNUM is made from leftover materials from the production of our fabric and quilt covers, and thereby no two rugs are alike. It’s also the kind of staple piece that has been around in Swedish homes for about 150 years.
The idea for the design came from young Finnish design student, Erik Bertell, who wanted to reinvent the rug in a more modern way. But, some great ideas don’t just stop there; they go a step further. Not only is the production of TÅNUM responsibly turning waste into a resource; skilled craftswomen in Bangladesh weave them. This provides the women with jobs, and a stable income. Watch the video for the full story about TÅNUM rug.
Community-led education about growing Better Cotton
Working with WWF to improve cotton farmers’ lives
Download the 2016 IKEA Sustainability Report PDFIKEA 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.
Visit the WWF website to learn more about our partnership
PEOPLE & COMMUNITIES: HUMAN RIGHTS | SUPPLIERS | SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURS
SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURS
IKEA Social Entrepreneurs –
Co-creating change
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 reducing poverty and empowering women.
Started in 2012, IKEA now has several ongoing partnerships with social entrepreneurs, employing local artisans in vulnerable communities around the world. The social enterprises we partner with are mainly self help groups and women owned cooperatives. Making a decent livelihood helps them gain respect and create a better future for their families.
Together, we co-create unique products, using traditional handicraft methods and materials – limited edition collections available at IKEA stores in selected countries.
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Good coffee with an even greater aftertaste
An Ugandan woman, broadly smiling, who’s involved in the White Nile project.
At IKEA, we’re always looking for social entrepreneurs or business models that share our vision. The White Nile project is one such initiative, and one where we see an opportunity for a long term partnership contributing to a positive development. The project started out almost 20 years ago, in an attempt to promote the cultivation of high quality Arabica coffee in a region traditionally known as the producer of less favored beans. By supporting the initiative, IKEA contributes to the economic empowerment of farmers and their families. We’re happy to be the first global retailer to make single-origin coffee from the White Nile region broadly available.
 Ugandan farmers get advice and education as part of the White Nile project.
We believe in the importance of inclusion of women and youth to support sustainable livelihoods. The White Nile project encourages a more equal share of responsibilities in both farmers’ businesses and family households as well as shared access to resources to increase women’s independence. But it’s also about seeing the everyday life challenges, for example that access to water directly at the coffee processing site minimizes the need for long and sometimes risky walks to fetch it elsewhere. Through addressing these and many more issues, coffee farming in the White Nile region will hopefully be an attractive business for generations to come.
An image of a person walking on a path in the Ugandan countryside.
Your coffee break makes a difference
Just like all other members of the PÅTÅR family, the Ugandan special edition is UTZ certified and organic according to EU standards. In short that means higher yields, better incomes and better living conditions for farmers, as well as protection of the environment and natural resources such as water, soil and air.
As a customer, you can check the origin of your coffee, and learn more about the plantations where the beans were grown, via the online tracer, utz.org/IKEA
Representatives from IKEA meeting local artisans.
Building partnerships with social entrepreneurs
We want to build lasting relationships with our partners and support their development, that’s why we work together to share knowledge about design, production, environmental management, export and more. Through us, the social entrepreneurs can access a global marketplace, giving them a strong foundation for self-sufficiency and independence.
Since all the products are handcrafted – or originate from small-scale farming – and the entreprises have access to limited resources, the production is also limited. That’s why we can offer the collections to selected countries only. Through our collaboration with social entrepreneurs, we want to support positive economic and social development across the world – long-term sustainable change in a way that charity by itself can’t.
A map showing the countries where IKEA are working with social entrepreneurs.
“They learn the skills and acquire the resources
to bring about a lasting change in their lives.
And they’re not dependent on charity.”
Sumita Ghose, Founder and Managing Director, Rangsutra
We are currently working with social entrepreneurs in India, Thailand, Uganda, Sweden, Denmark, Belgium, Netherlands, Croatia, USA and Canada. We are actively looking for new partners around the world.
Hear the inspiring stories of two Indian women
– a social entrepreneur and an artisan – working in partnership with IKEA.
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PEOPLE & COMMUNITIES: HUMAN RIGHTS | SUPPLIERS | SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURS
IKEA FOUNDATION | GOOD CAUSE CAMPAIGNS | REFUGEES
IKEA FOUNDATION
Improving opportunities for children
No matter what the circumstances, every child deserves a place to 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
A refugee camp.
The IKEA Foundation contributes more than €100 million every year to children’s charities, through funds set aside from IKEA ’s 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. 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
An African boy standing outside a shelter in 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
PEOPLE & COMMUNITIES: HUMAN RIGHTS | SUPPLIERS | SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURS
IKEA FOUNDATION | GOOD CAUSE CAMPAIGNS | REFUGEES
GOOD CAUSE CAMPAIGNS
Join the play movement!
Play is a universal language that unites us all, no matter where you come from. When people play together they connect, learn, grow and have fun.
We know play is an essential component of children’s wellbeing and development. Play is learning for life. So it makes sense that we want to help find ways to play more!
Read the IKEA Play Report 2017
Let’s Play for Change campaign graphics – cubes with childish patterns in different colours.
Play is a basic need
Many people are not aware that play is a basic need, and that every child has a right to it under the UN conventions on the Rights of the Child. The IKEA Foundation has partnered with some of the most prominent NGOs on this topic: Handicap International, Room to Read, Save the Children, Special Olympics, UNICEF, and War Child. The partner programs funded by the campaign will focus on creating safe spaces for vulnerable children to play and develop.
To learn more visit IKEAfoundation.org
Kids playing cricket on a dirt ground in the sunset.
“Every child has the right to play. Stimulation through play is a critical part of a young child’s brain development and emotional wellbeing,”
“Sadly, there are too many places around the world where devastating circumstances prevent children from simply being ‘kids’. Through the Let’s Play for Change campaign, we want to alleviate challenges to play and development in some of the world’s most vulnerable communities, while helping build a global movement around play.”
Per Heggenes, CEO at IKEA Foundation.
Three girls having fun skipping rope in the sunshine.
SAGOSKATT – it all goes to charity
SAGOSKATT is finally here! A limited-edition collection of cuddly soft toys drawn and designed by kids as part of the annual IKEA soft toy drawing competition. The soft toys are not only cute and adorable, they serve a much greater purpose. As part of our Let’s Play For Change campaign, IKEA is donating the entire turnover of SAGOSKATT globally to support children’s rights to play and develop. It really is a case of kids designing for kids.
Missed out this year? Not to worry. Join the fourth annual IKEA Soft toy drawing competition between 5 Nov to 30 Nov 2017 and your child might be the lucky winner.
Learn more about the Soft toy drawing competitionSee the cuddly SAGOSKATT soft toys
”The ten winning drawings are a lovely mixture of imaginary animals. Simply wonderful personal combinations of colours, shapes and expressions that spark my own imagination.”
Bodil Fritjofsson, Product developer at Children’s IKEA, IKEA of Sweden
10 cute cuddly SAGOSKATT soft toys in the foreground, the winners from the previous soft toy drawing competition 2016, standing on a green textile floor with a blue background.
This year’s collection includes a claw-less hippopotamus crocodile, a dachshund with a horn and rainbow-coloured wings, a happy-faced rainbow cloud, a lion named “Tiger”, and six other wildly creative cuddly toys.
Bodil Fritjofsson
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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.
blog.ikeafoundation.org
refugees
How we support refugees
From 2013-2015, IKEA Group and the IKEA Foundation ran the Brighter Lives for Refugees campaign to help refugee families look forward to a brighter future. Thanks to the campaign, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) is bringing light and renewable energy to hundreds of thousands of people in Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
Watch a film about how electricity is brightening life for Syrian refugees
The IKEA Foundation also supports long-term programmes for refugees, including projects that improve education and livelihoods in refugee camps and surrounding communities.
IKEA Group is also active in supporting local organisations with essential items needed to provide better conditions for newly arrived refugees. Many IKEA co-workers are volunteering their time and assisting refugees to re-establish their lives in new communities. And in some countries, we have started longer term programmes, such as internships, to help refugees integrate into the workforce.
Find out more about the IKEA Foundation’s support for refugees
At IKEA we strive to help refugee families and children to a brighter future. The IKEA Foundation supports projects that improve education and livelihoods and the IKEA Group supports local organisations with essential items for better conditions.
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SUSTAINABLE LIFE AT HOME
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
ENERGY & RESOURCES
Creating positive change
Learn how we’re sourcing materials in a responsible way and becoming energy independent. Go to Energy & Resources