a group of female textile workers

Putting people first

We want to create a better life for people. That includes people and communities all over the world.


Portrait of Leila Pakkala from UNICEF

As IKEA co-workers and customers support Soft Toys for Education this holiday season, they can be sure they are contributing to making a lasting difference in the lives of children and their families. UNICEF would like to thank all IKEA customers and staff members around the world for their support.”

Leila Pakkala, Director of Private Fundraising and Partnerships, UNICEF
Source: Save the Children press release
Photo: © UNICEF/NYHQ10 -1985/Markisz

8 million children

40 countries
A group portrait of some of IKEA's soft toys

47.5 million euros donated

Building a bright future €1 at a time

Soft Toys for Education is a global campaign that runs for around two months at the end of each year. It’s a collaborative effort between IKEA and the IKEA Foundation to raise money and awareness of how childhood education can break the cycle of poverty. And it’s all made possible by IKEA customers: for every soft toy or children’s book they buy at IKEA during the campaign, the IKEA Foundation donates €1.
Portait of Elisabeth Dahlin from Save the Children, Sweden

"The support of the IKEA Foundation has allowed Save the Children to help some of the most vulnerable and excluded children who would otherwise miss out on an education. Thank you.”

Elisabeth Dahlin, Secretary General, Save the Children, Sweden
Photo credits: Johan Jeppson

€1 is all it takes to provide five children in the developing world with books and pencils.

Some of the children we met on a recent trip to Madagascar

Project in focus:

UNICEF are using the money from last year’s Soft Toys for Education in their Schools for Africa programme, working in seven countries on the continent including Madagascar. A number of issues, ranging from insufficient number of schools and resources through to the recent political unrest, contribute to a high drop out rates. Currently, the average Malagasy adult has only completed 4.4 years of school and only 60% of children who start school complete the full primary cycle.

UNICEF is working to provide schools in communities where none exist nearby, and to help existing schools to offer the complete cycle of primary education.

Co-workers from IKEA and IKEA Foundation recently joined UNICEF on an IWitness visit to some of the schools and villages in Madagascar to see first hand how Soft Toys for Education makes a difference.

Find out more at the IWitness blog

100 million…the estimated number of children to benefit from programmes currently funded by the IKEA Foundation.

Want to know more?

Save the Children

The IKEA Foundation


Kids in school in India thanks to IKEA Foundation and UNICEF.
IKEA Foundation and UNICEF mark 10 years helping the children of India

Ten years ago the IKEA Foundation began funding UNICEF projects in India. By the end of 2012 more than 74 million children will have been reached with programmes that promote education, fight child labour and protect the rights of the child.

“IKEA believes children are the most important people in the world, so it was natural for us to partner with UNICEF.”

Per Heggenes, CEO IKEA Foundation
Anas Mohammed goes to school thanks to IKEA Foundation and UNICEF.
“Please promise us that you will let your children study.”

A plea from 11-year-old Anas Mohammed to the adults of his community.

Anas used to work in a metalware factory to help support his family. Now, thanks to IKEA Foundation funded UNICEF programmes, Anas goes to school and proudly promotes education in his community.

Find out more about Anas

UNICEF logo and IKEA Foundation logo

As part of a relationship that’s lasted 20 years (and counting), the IKEA foundation has funded UNICEF projects in India for a decade. You can read the stories of a few of the millions of children whose lives have been transformed by these projects at IKEA Foundation. Or, find out more at UNICEF.

By the end of 2012, the IKEA Foundation will have helped more than 74 million children by donating €108 million to UNICEF in India.


a group of IKEA co-workers in a store

A business is only as good as the people
it hires

As IKEA co-workers and customers support Soft Toys for Education this holiday season, they can be sure they are contributing to making a lasting difference in the lives of children and their families. UNICEF would like to thank all IKEA customers and staff members around the world for their support.”


“I want to become a lawyer because I want to work with justice.”

IKEA Foundation's annual soft toy campaign funds programmes that send children to school

boy playing with IKEA soft toys

Building a bright future €1 at a time

IKEA customers contribute to a better future for children around the world through the annual soft toys campaign.

small IKEA soft toy teddy bear

During the holiday season at the end of each year, one euro for every soft toy sold in IKEA stores worldwide is donated by the IKEA Foundation. The money is split between Save the Children and UNICEF projects aimed at improving education for children in Africa, Asia and Central and
Eastern Europe.

Since it started in 2003, the campaign has generated 47.5 million euro in donations to help over eight million children have a quality education in almost 40 countries. In 2011 alone, it raised 12.4 million euro.

Some of our co-workers have been able to visit projects that the campaign funds. You can read their stories here.

To learn more visit the IKEA Foundation website:

IKEA Foundation

€1 is all it takes to provide five children in the developing world with books and pencils.



IKEA employee meeting with suppliers

Together we can make a much bigger difference!

By cooperating with companies, trade unions, non-profit organisations and communities, we can do much more to contribute to a better everyday life than we could ever do on our own.

happy girl raising her hands

This is why we partner with a number of different organisations on a global, national and local level.

Our global charitable commitments are managed by the IKEA Foundation, the philanthropic arm of IKEA. It works with strong partners such as the UN global development network (UNDP), the UN refugee agency (UNHCR), UNICEF and Save the Children to improve the lives of children and youth. On the environmental side, IKEA works at a global level with WWF on projects to promote more sustainable cotton and forestry, and to reduce carbon emissions.

Nationally and locally, social partnerships focus on children, the homeless, and victims of emergencies and
natural disasters.

When it comes to the environment, the focus is on the protection of natural resources, minimising waste, helping to address climate change, and education and training in these areas.
happy children with backpacks in school

Working together for the most important people in the world

At IKEA, we see children as the most important people in the world. We believe all children have the right to a healthy, secure childhood and access to quality education, no matter where in the world they live.

We stepped up our actions to protect children in the mid-1990s when we became aware of the risks relating to child labour in the supply chain. It was the starting point of a journey where we learned and exchanged experiences with experts like the International Labour Organization (ILO), Save the Children and UNICEF.

We now have a long history of working successfully with UNICEF and Save the Children to improve the lives of children and their families. And today, the IKEA Foundation supports programmes run by a number of well-regarded organisations to help children and youth in the developing world to create a better future for themselves and their families. Currently funded programmes are expected to benefit 100 million children by the end of 2015.

IKEA supports the 10 Children’s Rights and Business Principles launched in 2012. This joint effort between UNICEF, the UN Global Compact and Save the Children is a call on businesses to step up their efforts to respect and support children’s rights in the workplace, marketplace and community. The Principles encourage and inspire us. They build on our belief that our actions should always have the best interests of the child in mind, and will help us meet our responsibility to respect and support children’s rights.

Want to know more?
children waiting for vaccination

Lending a helping hand in times of need

We try to help when disaster strikes. The IKEA Foundation, or IKEA locally, may donate IKEA products like blankets, cooking utensils and comforting soft toys to support humanitarian relief efforts, or provide financial support.

To learn more, visit the IKEA Foundation website:

IKEA-supported cotton projects reach around 100,000 farmers in India, Pakistan, China and Turkey.

farmer standing in better cotton field

Working with WWF to improve cotton farmers’ lives

IKEA and WWF – one of the world’s largest and most experienced conservation organisations – have worked successfully together on forest issues for a decade.

In 2005, we partnered to make cotton cultivation more sustainable by collaborating with farmers in India and Pakistan, two of our main cotton sourcing countries.

It started with Farmer Field Schools for 450 farmers who received hands-on training in the field on how to reduce the use of chemicals and water. Today, IKEA cooperates with WWF as well as other local partners to reach even more farmers. As a result, an estimated 100,000 farmers in India, Pakistan, China and Turkey have started growing cotton in a more sustainable way, moving away from farming practices that pose a threat to both people and the environment.

By using less chemical fertilisers 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.

We sat down with to talk with Tapu Kehar Rangapara at his small cotton farm in Gujarat in India two years after he started introducing more sustainable practices:

“My yield is 10 percent better than that of my neighbours since I started fertilising exclusively with manure and compost. I have more money because I don’t buy chemical fertilisers and pesticides. And our health has improved a lot since we replaced chemical pesticides with plant extracts. Before, I always felt exhausted. I had a bad skin rash, and my wife and I both had constant headaches. The situation just kept getting worse because the pests became more and more resistant to the chemicals so we’d spray even more. Now life is much better. We are healthy.”

Stories like this have spread like ripples on water, inspiring more and more farmers to join our cotton projects.

Read more about our partnership with WWF
asian woman crouching between rows of plants

Sow a Seed brings the
rainforest back to life

The Sow a Seed project is helping to restore 18,500 hectares of rainforest in Malaysian Borneo that had been damaged by logging and further affected by fire in 1983. The aim is to restore the rainforest by planting a diverse range of indigenous tree species while also supporting the local community.

Since the start in 1998, well over half of the area has been replanted. The project has contributed to the building of homes, community centres and field accommodations for local workers and their families, as well as research facilities so that scientists and researchers can study the rainforest’s biodiversity
and ecosystem.

The Sow a Seed foundation is a partnership between IKEA, the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, the Yayasan Sabah Group and the Malaysian forestry company RbJ.

An estimated 100 million children benefit from programmes currently funded by the IKEA Foundation.



the facade of an IKEA store

How we’re helping make a difference right here

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 neighbour in our local communities. Here's how we're reaching out closer to home.

Here’s how we're helping make a difference right here.

couple sitting planning their purchases

Why become an IKEA FAMILY member?

IKEA FAMILY helps us care for and reward our most active customers – 50 million people in 25 countries! This relationship also provides opportunities to involve you in a variety of national and local activities related to social and environmental responsibility.

Charity Donations

10c is donated to charity every time you swipe your IKEA FAMILY card at a kiosk or at a check-out. Just tell us how you want it donated, you can split your donation by Unicef and your local charity. You can easily update your profile either at an in-store Kiosk or online at IKEA.com.au/FAMILY

Our National Charity


Unicef works with hundreds of organisations including UN agencies to save and improve the lives of children around the world.

State Charities

Berry Street


Berry Street looks after thousands of Victorian children and young people who have suffered from abuse, neglect and/or violence.
Youngcare Logo


YoungCare is a Queensland based charity working with young people who are disabled to provide them with an alternative to living in an aged care facility.
Bear Cottage Logo

New South Wales

Bear Cottage is the only children's hospice in NSW. It is dedicated to caring for children with life-limiting conditions and their families.


female co-workers at an IKEA suppliers

Building stronger relationships with our suppliers

IKEA relies on good, long-term relationships with suppliers
who share our values and take responsibility,
so that our products can be produced with respect for people and the environment.

co-workers having a coffee on a sofa at a suppliers

We want to motivate and support our suppliers’ continuous efforts to improve. IKEA co-workers are often in the factories and work with suppliers, using our guiding principles. They include:

  • What is in the best interest of the worker?
  • What is in the best interest of the environment?
front page of the IKEA IWAY document

A way-better way to do business

Our supplier code of conduct, IWAY, plays an important role in positive developments. Since it was first introduced in 2000, it has contributed to many large and small improvements in our supply chain. Many suppliers have also experienced that investments in working conditions and the environment often lead to more orders, better productivity and improved profitability – and in turn, improved competitiveness.

One part of the code of conduct, the IWAY Standard, specifies our minimum requirements relating to the environment, social impact and working conditions. Requirements include:
  • No child labour, no forced or bonded labour
  • No discrimination
  • Freedom of association
  • At least minimum wages and compensation for overtime
  • A safe and healthy work environment
  • Prevent pollution to air, ground and water
  • Work to reduce energy consumption

Around 80 IKEA auditors as well as independent third party auditors monitor compliance with our requirements. They make both announced and unannounced checks at suppliers and their sub-suppliers.

Want to read more?

Around 1,000 audits are performed at IKEA suppliers each year. Approximately three quarters of these are unannounced.

Protecting child rights in the supply chain

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 Labour Organization (ILO) and UNICEF.

Independent third-party auditors complement our own audits to help us check for child labour at suppliers and their sub-contractors. On the rare occasion we have concerns about child labour in the IKEA supply chain, we always move quickly to address them. We take a responsible approach and ensure that the supplier addresses the problem and creates schooling opportunities for the children – not letting them simply move to another factory – always with the best interest of the child in mind.

Preventing and eradicating 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 programmes 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. The aim is to create child-friendly communities, where the idea of every child attending and staying in school is fully embraced and encouraged by all parts of society.

The work we have done with suppliers since 2000 has contributed to more than 165,000 large and small improvements to working conditions and the environment.

Sustainable life at home
woman and children in IKEA kitchen
Discover products that help you live more sustainably, whether it’s saving energy or
sorting waste.
Sustainable life at home
Energy & resources
black chair in forest
Check out how we are working behind the scenes to protect some of the world’s most important resources.
Energy & resources
People & communities
a group of female textile workers
See what we do to try to help create a better life for people and communities.
People & communities
Find out
front page of the IKEA sustainability report 2012
Want to dig deeper? Want to see who we work with? Here’s where you’ll find even more.
Find out more