IKEA co-worker profile
It's beautiful when an object tells a story.”
Ellen - Sustainability Business Partner
Ellen, you moved to Switzerland from Sweden last October. How are you settling in?
Very well. We've now sorted out the chaos and made ourselves really comfortable in our 3.5-room apartment in Schlieren. Even the guest room is ready. I already knew before the move that I would feel comfortable here. Henric, my partner, studied here a few years ago, and I have liked Zurich ever since my first visit.
What do you work on at IKEA?
I am a Sustainability Business Partner in the sustainability team. In this role, it is my job to promote the idea of sustainability in the different departments and ensure our actions are based on it, no matter what we do. It is an enormously exciting and varied role that extends into all areas of the company – from production and shipping to disposal. I always wanted a job that made a difference. I found it at IKEA.
To what extent does sustainability play a role in your company?
When it comes to furniture and furnishings, I think it's important they are with me for a long time. I take care to buy things I actually need or that I know will give me pleasure for a long time. I like to combine the old with the new and mix family and design pieces that I've had for ages with new acquisitions that I find at IKEA or second-hand.
What is your favourite piece of furniture?
I have a real soft spot for our bed's headboard. Henric created the design for it and then his father made it for us. Although I've moved quite often in recent years, it has accompanied me everywhere and is a piece of home. I like it when objects tell a story – it makes a space a personal home.
And where do you most like to be in the flat?
I feel particularly comfortable in the living room with the large, open kitchen and cosy seating area. Our guest room is also very important to me. I grew up with three sisters and like it when there's always something going on. So I was never in any doubt that if friends or family come to visit, they should also be able to stay overnight at my place.
Do you have any tips for IKEA Family members on simple ways to make their lives more sustainable?
We should of course all try our best to make our everyday lives more sustainable. But simple means something different to each of us. So I suggest taking a personal approach. Find out what is good for the environment, and then start with things that are easy for you and that you can keep up for a long time. In my case, for example, I hardly eat any meat anymore and travel almost exclusively by train. It's not really a huge sacrifice for me, but it benefits the environment.
And how can you avoid wasting food?
Smart shopping helps here: it's better going to the supermarket one more time rather than buying too many groceries at once. And if you have any leftovers, just take them with you to work in a lunch box. You won't have to throw anything away, and your wallet will thank you.
How are you going to be celebrating Christmas?
I don't know yet. But I will definitely be breathing some Christmas spirit into our home soon. I love getting the boxes with the Christmas decorations out of the basement. The beauty of it is that the decorations can be used again each year – it's almost like greeting an old friend you haven't seen for a long time.
And what are you giving?
I'm not allowed to divulge that yet of course (laughs). It is important to me to give things that are actually needed. So for me, a gift can also have a simple practical use. Or I can follow my grandmother's example. She always gave us books that she herself had read. This was the only way she could know which of her grandchildren might like the story.