How we help make a difference right here
the facade of an IKEA store

While we work on a global level to improve the lives of people in places like India and Pakistan, we also want to be a good neighbor in our local communities. Here's how we're reaching out closer to home.

IKEA Lights Up UNHCR Refugee Camps With Sustainable Lighting

It’s a bright idea for a good cause with the introduction of the new IKEA Foundation campaign, ‘Brighter Lives for Refugees.’ Running February 3 – March 29, 2014, the global IKEA store initiative includes a donation of one euro ($1.35)* to the UN refugee agency UNHCR for every IKEA LEDARE - LED light bulb sold. Raised campaign funds will help to provide solar street lights, indoor solar lanterns, and other renewable energy technologies such as fuel efficient cooking stoves in UNHCR refugee camps in countries including Ethiopia, Chad, Bangladesh and Jordan.

In addition the campaign will also fund improved primary education.

Today, there are nearly 10.5 million refugees globally, around half of which are children. Some refugees have no choice but to live in refugee camps where an absence or lack of light after sunset can have a devastating effect on safety and security. Simple activities such as visiting the toilet, collecting water or returning to the shelter from elsewhere can become difficult and dangerous, particularly for women and girls. The improvements funded by the campaign will make each refugee camp a safer and more suitable home for refugee children and their families.

The IKEA Foundation believes that every child deserves a safe place to call home. Since 2010 the IKEA Foundation has partnered with UNHCR, helping to provide shelter, care and education to families and children within refugee camps and surrounding communities.

IKEA continues to lead in sustainable business practices. In October 2012, IKEA US announced it would make a bold move to sell only LED lights in all its US stores by 2016. Already well on its way, the IKEA sale of only LED lights and lamps will and has enabled millions of people to live a more sustainable life at home, and save on their energy bills. IKEA also phased out all plastic bags in its stores in 2007 and incandescent bulbs in 2010.

IKEA Soft Toys For Education Campaign Raised $16.2 million*

IKEA customers and co-workers continued to partner together with the IKEA Foundation to raise $16.2 million as a FY 13 donation to UNICEF and Save the Children to support projects that enable children in developing countries access to a quality education. This donation enabled the implementation of 18 projects in 16 countries. UNICEF’s share went to Schools for Africa projects in seven countries and two projects in Russia and China. Save the Children’s share supported education for children in some of the most marginalized groups (minorities and children with disabilities) in Asia (Bangladesh, China, Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Philippines) and Eastern Europe (Lithuania and Romania).

In the US, IKEA raised over $1.2 million through soft toys sales. Since its launch in 2003, the IKEA Soft Toys for Education campaign has raised $74 million and impacted 10 million children in 46 countries with 90 projects.

Holiday UNICEF Card Sales Donation Almost $500,000

IKEA and UNICEF have partnered since 1988, bringing cheerful greetings through the sale of UNICEF holiday cards sold at all IKEA stores. This past FY13, UNICEF holiday cards (from September 15 – January 31, 2013) resulted in the sale of 40,218 boxes at a contribution of $456,217 to UNICEF. IKEA matches $1 for every box of UNICEF holiday cards sold.

IKEA Supports Resource and Energy Independence

A big change driver at IKEA US is our striving to be resource and energy independent. We are working to secure long term access to sustainable raw materials, promoting recycling and using resources within the limits of the planet. One area we are actively focusing on is energy production.

• Over the next few years, we will produce renewable energy equivalent to 70% of the energy used in all of our buildings. By the year 2020, we will produce as much renewable energy as we consume in our operations.

• At the present time, of our 44 IKEA locations, 39 have installed solar panels. We have invested over 150 million dollars in the US - over the past 3 years, and at this time, we have nearly 90% of our buildings outfitted with solar panels. This positions us as one of the largest private owners of solar power generation in the United States. Additionally, in 11 of our US stores, IKEA has installed EVs (electrical vehicle charging stations). This is another program to support customers in being energy efficient.

• Reduction of energy use is important. Our October 2012 announcement - that we will sell and only use LED lighting by 2016 - is soon to be a reality in all IKEA US stores. Using and selling only LED lights in IKEA US stores saves up to 11% of energy use per year.

• Geothermal installation is another business decision to be energy efficient. Every new IKEA US store will be geothermal. Currently, our newest store in Denver, CO has both geothermal and solar. Our second geothermal installation will be installed in our new Kansas City store, opening Fall 2014 in Merriam, KS. We intend to install more geothermal units as we expand. This is an important technology that aids both heating and cooling, taking advantage of the stable temperature in the ground.

Generating enough renewable energy to power our operations means we can count on access to low energy prices. And that helps keep our prices low.
Live improvement project image

IKEA Life Improvement Challenge Supports Local Communities

The IKEA Life Improvement Co-worker Challenge is one way IKEA US stores are making a difference in the lives of their local communities. Since 2011, IKEA co-workers have nominated local charities to receive furnishing makeovers for spaces that improve the lives of deserving organizations in their local communities. To date, there have been 120 local charities in the US that have benefited from this program.

Using IKEA knowledge of life at home, this campaign supports creating functional and inviting spaces. Some examples of Life Improvement Challenge winners in FY 13 included a safe house makeover for homeless women and children in Burbank, CA. Co-workers in Schaumberg, Illinois redesigned bedrooms, a study area and a common room in a residential treatment center for children affected by severe abuse and neglect. In Orlando, FL, IKEA US furnished a drop in-center that provides shelter for homeless LGBT youth. There was a total of 39 IKEA Life Improvement projects in FY13 at US store market locations.

For more information, view your local store page for additional inspiring stories about the Life Improvement Co-worker Challenge.

IKEA US Supported Thousands of Families and Individuals Impacted by Hurricane Sandy

More than a year past Hurricane Sandy, IKEA US programs have made a difference in the lives of thousands through the donation of IKEA home furnishing products as well as cash donations. These programs have assisted those effected in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut; states where IKEA has five stores and a distribution center.

The following is a brief review of key Hurricane Sandy IKEA US support programs.

Global Green and IKEA US Join Together for Solar Installation
Global Green USA and IKEA US teamed together to install a solar roof on the Red Hook
Community Center, marking this as the first official recipient of a “Solar for Sandy” installation in Brooklyn, New York.
The Red Hook solar project is one of five planned Global Green USA solar recovery installations announced at the June 2013 Clinton Global Initiative America to help communities increase their resiliency and provide emergency services, including lighting, mobile phone charging, basic heating or cooling, and critical services such as refrigeration.
In addition to providing back-up power and emergency services in case of future natural disasters, the solar installation will also provide every-day energy and lower the community center’s energy bills.

IKEA, American Red Cross and Save the Children – Working Together

In the days following the Hurricane Sandy storm, IKEA worked through the American Red Cross and Save the Children, to donate 10,000 blankets, towels, pillows and pillow cases, wash clothes and towels, 5,800 blue bags and 2,000 children’s soft toys to shelters to help make families and individual’s stay more comfortable. In-kind donations to just the Red Cross amounted to over $450,000. Additionally, IKEA co-workers that were impacted by the storm received support from their fellow co-workers and from IKEA.

IKEA Brooklyn Store Hosts FEMA
The IKEA Red Hook Brooklyn store community – an area that was particularly hit hard by Sandy – hosted FEMA and the Small Business administration enabling community members to fill out applications to receive aid. The Brooklyn store also donated products to flooded local fire companies.

Stephen Siller Tunnels to Towers Foundation
In June, 2013, IKEA worked with the Stephen Siller Tunnels to Towers Foundation to provide home furnishings to those severely impacted. IKEA donated hundreds of mattresses, dining room sets and sofas to help Sandy victims rebuild their homes in impacted areas like Staten Island, Long Island and Gerriston Beach.

IKEA Supports Save the Children Early Learning Centers
Working with Save the Children, a long term partner of IKEA, support was given to damaged child care facilities and early learning centers throughout New Jersey and New York. In June 2013, IKEA co-workers from local stores and the Service Office, together with co-workers from Save the Children, pitched in to make over a hard hit facility in Brooklyn. In August, through Save the Children, IKEA donated furnishings and children’s play products to 39 child care and early learning locations in New Jersey and New York.

IKEA and American Forests Disaster ReLeaf Plant Trees
IKEA FAMILY members participated in the IKEA and American Forests Disaster ReLeaf program by scanning their FAMILY cards in all IKEA US stores in July 2013 to trigger a donation to this program. As a result of this donation, urban trees that were destroyed by Sandy, were replaced and new ones were planted in Asbury Park, NJ. Additionally, The IKEA Plant Tree Program has resulted in the planting of over 2.3 million tress with American Forests throughout the US. This initiative has been in existence since 1988 as an IKEA customer store donation program; one that includes an IKEA match dollar donation.

IKEA Signs CERES Declaration

On April 10, 2013, IKEA along with other major brands including Intel, Starbucks and others, signed a ‘Climate Declaration’ in coordination with BICEP Business for Innovative Climate and Energy policy. This document asserts that tackling climate change is one of the greatest economic opportunities of the 21st century. This started a 100 day campaign in which other businesses were encouraged to sign the Declaration as a call to action. At the event in Washington, D.C., several signatories of the Climate Declaration discussed how extreme weather events like Hurricane Sandy have affected their businesses, their communities and exposed the country’s vulnerability to climate change. This declaration signing was a call to Congress to address climate changes by promoting clean energy, boosting efficiency and limiting carbon emissions.
girl painting a picture

Early Steps to School Success; A Save the Children and IKEA Partnership Program

At IKEA, children are the most important people in the world, so it’s natural that IKEA places great emphasis on supporting children’s rights and education programs. Partnering with like-minded organizations such as Save the Children further supports IKEA’s dedication. One particular US program that IKEA has aligned with is Save the Children’s Early Steps to School Success (ESSS); an early reading readiness program that IKEA supports through financial and in-kind product donations.

ESSS is designed to assist children with language, social and emotional development to equip parents with the skills and knowledge to successfully support their children’s growth, and to develop strong home-school connections. In one recent project, IKEA supported the ESSS program with a redesign at the Pleasant View Elementary School in Pleasant View, CA. Specifically, the focus was on an Early Childhood Development classroom, a place that serves as the base for Save the Children’s Early Steps to School Success Program.

Save the Children is dedicated to lasting change in the lives of children in need in the United States and around the world. Save the Children works directly with communities in the US and globally to support children in need with a focus on literacy, nutrition, education and physical activity programs. In emergency and crisis, this organization works for and with children at risk of hunger and malnutrition, and those affected by natural disaster, war and conflict.