“Children are key stakeholders of our business – as members of the communities where we operate, as users of our products and services, as family members of our co-workers, as young workers and as future co-workers and IKEA leaders. All children have rights, everywhere and always. As a global business, we have a big responsibility to demonstrate leadership and be aware of our impact throughout the IKEA value chain and take action to address it.” said Lena Pripp-Kovac, Chief Sustainability Officer, Inter IKEA Group.
The IKEA business has a long history of working to tackle child labour in the supply chain, dating back to the late 90’s when IWAY² the IKEA supplier code of conduct, was established. During the COVID-19 crisis, the vulnerable situation for children globally has been exacerbated, making action even more urgent.
This year, the UN are asking stakeholders across society to pledge to take specific actions that can be completed during 2021. The IKEA action pledge strengthens efforts on child rights with three key focus areas:
- Further integrating children’s rights into the existing IKEA due diligence system
During 2021, an analysis will be undertaken to review IWAY from a child rights’ perspective as basis for a plan on how to further practice and strengthen IWAY moving forward.
- Accelerating the work to promote decent work for young workers³
Further action will be taken to promote access to decent work for young workers. Building on requirements in IWAY and pilot testing young workers’ programmes, an assessment will be conducted in 2021 to identify where risks to youth unemployment and lack of educational opportunities are highest in connection to the supply chain. The outcome will inform how to further strengthen the inclusion of young workers in the IKEA supply chain.
- Partner up to increase and scale efforts
During 2021, Inter IKEA Group will join the ILO Child Labour Platform. With this membership, the IKEA business will increase efforts on child labour due diligence and accelerate the collaboration with other partners to tackle issues further down the supply chain.
“The work to eliminate child labour requires continuous effort. We have been working to address child labour for 20 years and will accelerate efforts in 2021 and beyond in line with the goal set by the UN to end child labour in all its forms by 2025. In addition to the actions in our pledge, we are exploring internally as well as together with UNICEF how to advance family-friendly policies that address some of the root causes of child labour. Together with key partners we will continue to make progress” said Alinde Melin, Global Human Rights and Children's Rights Leader at Inter IKEA Group.
The UN has designated 2021 as the international year for the elimination of child labour and are urging stakeholders across society – from companies to governments and individuals – to pledge to take specific actions that can be achieved by December 2021. As the official global partnership to achieve SDG Target 8.7, Alliance 8.7 is the vehicle to coordinate action to end child labour by 2025. The International Labour Organization (ILO) has been mandated to facilitate the organization and implementation of the International Year, in collaboration with relevant stakeholders.
¹ Child labour is defined as work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential and their dignity, and that is harmful to physical and mental development. It refers to work that is mentally, physically, socially, or morally dangerous and harmful to children; and/or interferes with their schooling. A child is anyone under the age of 18 years.
² IWAY is the IKEA way of responsibly procuring products, services, materials, and components. It defines the IKEA principles and standpoints for environmental, social, and working conditions, as well as animal welfare, in the IKEA value chain.
³ A young worker is someone under the age of 18, and above the minimum legal working age, who is engaged in work.