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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 2015 IKEA Sustainability Report PDF
Human rights
Nobody’s equal til 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.
Supporting the ethical recruitment of migrant workers
There are over 200 million international migrants across the world, with over 100 million of them working. Some leave home and succeed in finding better work and improving their quality of life. But for others, the promise of a better future can result in large debts from recruitment fees and – in the worst cases – bonded labor. 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 labor 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 some countries recruitment practices are complex and involve many different organisations, so it’s important also to work with others.IKEA has joined forces with four other companies – HP, Hewlett Packard Enterprises, The Coca-Cola Company and Unilever – to drive positive change in the way that migrant workers are recruited. The Leadership Group for Responsible Recruitment will advocate for the ‘Employer Pays Principle’, which calls for all recruitment fees to be paid by the employer, not the worker.
To support our suppliers in dealing with the challenges of responsible recruitment, we are also partnering directly 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
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 labor
We believe that children have the right to be protected from exploitation, abuse and neglect. This is why child labor is unacceptable to IKEA and why we work actively to prevent and eliminate it. Our child labor 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 labor 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
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 in 2000 we launched IWAY, our supplier code of conduct. Our suppliers are responsible for communicating IWAY to their sub-suppliers and we are supporting them to do this. All home furnishing suppliers must comply with IWAY requirements, otherwise they are phased out.
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We visit our suppliers regularly to check that they are following IWAY, and conduct around 1,000 audits each year
What is the IWAY Standard?
Our supplier code of conduct, the IWAY Standard, plays an important role in positive developments. It specifies our minimum requirements relating to the environment, social impact and working conditions.
We visit our suppliers 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.
IWAY Standards are clearly posted on a supplier factory wall
The IWAY Standard requirements include:
- No child labor
- No forced or bonded labor
- 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 people who tackle social problems with innovation. They think ambitiously, and use business as a means to create change rather than wealth. Whether it’s education of healthcare, human rights or self-sufficiency – for social entrepreneurs, financial profit exists to profit society. By working with social entrepreneurs IKEA has an opportunity to support families and our communities.
Since 2012, IKEA has been creating collaborations with social entrepreneurs across the world that focus on benefitting social issues and creating lasting change in their communities. Recently, the IKEA Houston and IKEA Round Rock stores worked with the Austin-based Multicultural Refugee Coalition (MRC) and Open Arms to offer a limited edition textiles collection available for purchase only to Houston and Austin area customers. They collaborated with MRC because IKEA supports the organization’s social mission of providing job opportunity, fair wages and development to refugees in our communities. We applaud the sustainable efforts that Open Arms provides by creating unique items with reclaimed fabrics while providing empowerment through employment.
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Pictures below are of the limited edition HÅLLNING textiles collection available only at the IKEA Round Rock and IKEA Houston stores. Learn more:
IKEA Houston
IKEA Round Rock
social entrepreneurs, IKEA, US, refugee, textiles, collection, texas, Austin, Round rock, Houston
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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
IKEA and WWF have worked successfully together on cotton farming issues for over a decade. As a result, an estimated 125,000 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
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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PÅTÅR special edition
A pink package of PÅTÅR special edition 100% Arabica coffee in the hand of a coffee farmer.
From Uganda with love – a very special single origin, 100% Arabica coffee
So, why is this coffee so special? First of all, it’s single origin, which means it’s not blended. All beans come from the White Nile region in Uganda, and they are selected with care to ensure that they are of high quality. Furthermore, they are also UTZ certified, ensuring sustainable farming standards and good conditions for workers, and organic according to EU standards. Great, right? But it doesn’t stop there.
IKEA has teamed up with a social business project that buys the beans directly from about 13,000 farmers in the surrounding villages. As a result, we can now offer our customers a high quality, single-origin coffee in the IKEA Swedish Food Market: 100% Arabica beans from the White Nile region. A special coffee with a unique taste, created in cooperation with thousands of smallholder farmers, allowing them to have a more stable income and better living conditions.
See IKEA PÅTÅR Filter coffee, medium roast
Good coffee with an even greater aftertaste
The White Nile region is a mountainous part of Uganda that provides a perfect setting for the Arabica bean – the soil and climate gives it a unique flavor; aromatic, sweet and mildly fruity, with notes of chocolate and vanilla. The coffee plants with red cherries climbing the hills in the White Nile area is a stunning view. The cherries will be carefully hand-picked, sorted, washed and dried before becoming gently roasted coffee beans.
Uganda is the biggest coffee exporting country in Africa, yet the average size of a coffee farm is just a quarter the size of a football field. It’s not easy to run a profitable farm with such small resources. By supporting the initiative, IKEA contributes to the economic empowerment of smallholder 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 in the IKEA stores as the newest member in the PÅTÅR coffee family.
A person holding a cup of coffee made with PÅTÅR special edition coffee and a glass coffee maker for drip background
PÅTÅR special edition is a high-quality fresh and fruity medium roast, with subtle hints of vanilla and chocolate.

A partnership with only winners

To help support economic independence of coffee farmers in Uganda, as well as more sustainable farming practices, IKEA and Ahold, one of the IKEA coffee suppliers, have teamed up with a regional social business project run by Kawacom.
“Close co-operation with the supplier from bean to cup is key for success,” says Henrik Ringdahl, an IKEA product developer who helped create the new coffee on offer. “We have a higher standard of beans today, in order to be able to have a good taste profile for our organic coffee”, he continues. Only 100% Arabica beans, the species widely considered top notch for taste, are used in PÅTÅR special edition.
By making a long term commitment to selling coffee sourced in the White Nile region, it becomes a partnership where everyone’s a winner – through our IKEA stores, Ahold, Kawacom and the farmers get to sell their product, and we gain a high-quality, tasty coffee to offer our customers.
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Meet some of the people involved in the project – one that you can be part of, too! By just enjoying this extraordinary coffee, you promote better conditions for the coffee farmers and protection of the environment in the White Nile region.

Economic empowerment – right now and in the future

An important aspect of this business model, is that the coffee cherries are bought directly from the farmers, which means they can get a larger part of the profits. Having set up a long-term contract, the farmers also know what they can plan for as their harvest is guaranteed to be bought, resulting in financial stability. However, it’s an open market and the farmers can sell their coffee to another coffee producer if they want to.
Another important aspect of economic empowerment is gender equality. Women are encouraged to work in all parts of the business. Education is vital to ensure economic empowerment in the future, and thanks to the economic results this initiative is giving, a majority of the farmers’ children now attend school because parents are able to pay school fees.
Gender equality is an important aspect of economic empowerment. Roughly one third of the workers are women.
Two female workers from the White Nile coffee project in Uganda having coffee during a break.
A woman with a basket walking down a long path in the middle of a green landscape in Uganda.
Your coffee break makes a difference
Just like all other members of the PÅTÅR family, the Ugandan special edition is UTZ certified, ensuring higher yields, better incomes and better conditions for farmers. It’s also organic according to EU standards, protecting 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,
TILLTALANDE – designed to create jobs
Tahani Al Khatib, an artisan from Palestine
Tahani Al Khatib, artisan from Palestine working for IKEA and Jordan River Foundation
On June 20th 2018, World Refugee Day honors the courage, strength and resilience of the over 65 million people who have been forced to flee their homes from war or persecution.
As a response to the refugee crisis IKEA decided to try to make a difference the way we know best – by doing business and creating jobs. And that is exactly what TILLTALANDE does. It is a collection of precious, handcrafted textiles, designed to create integration through jobs. By employing Jordanian locals alongside refugee woman we also support the integration between the two groups of women artisans.
Made in collaboration with Jordan River Foundation, it’s an initiative sprung from the urgent need to get people into work and into society. Today more than 100 artisans are part of the initiative, a number that will double during 2019 and that is expected to reach 400 by the end of 2020.
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TILLTALANDE launches on June 20th in the Stockholm store in Sweden and the Brooklyn store in the US.
See the TILLTALANDE collection
Good ethics is good business
Open Arms is a social entrepreneur in Texas that offers refugee women employment. Thang Zuali turns leftover IKEA fabric into new products.
We want to create opportunities for refugees to rebuild their lives – internationally, but also locally. Open Arms in Austin, Texas started as a small, local initiative that only worked with one IKEA store. The ambition was to empower refugee women through fair-wage employment, consisting of turning leftover IKEA fabric into new products.
Today, Open Arms has become a successful enterprise, going from 2,000 products per year, to 20,000. The program in Austin has become a model for IKEA. Nearly 20 stores are now working with up-cycled collections, and more than 100 stores carry larger, international collections co-created with social entrepreneurs. They are all driven by the same ethical values and objectives – to make it possible for refugee women to stand on their own, to integrate and provide for themselves and their families.
Yalla Trappan is a social initiative providing sewing service in the IKEA Malmö store, Sweden. Neire Kerimovska and Karin Wingren talk about a cushion cover.
Thang Zuali is one of six Burmese refugees that fled the unrest of Burma (aka Myanmar) for a new life in the United States. “Before, we barely had money to buy clothes,” says Thang, “now we can buy things and live like normal people.”
Yalla Trappan is a local initiative providing sewing service in the IKEA Malmö store, Sweden. Neire Kerimovska and Karin Wingren, Customer Relations manager, are talking about cushion covers ordered by a customer.
“It’s not a charity. By working with local social entrepreneurs, we are contributing to new livelihoods while offering our customers unique handicrafts. It’s business for good, for everyone.”
Vaishali Misra, Business Leader for social entrepreneur initiatives at IKEA of Sweden.
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, Romania, Jordan, 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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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 programs run by well-regarded organizations – 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 programs will benefit 100 million children by the end of 2015.
Visit the IKEA Foundation website for more info
Two children at a refugee camp
The IKEA Foundation contributes more than $108.9 million every year to children’s charities, through funds set aside from IKEA Group’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. IKEA Foundation funds programs 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 programs
A young boy at 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 labor
Since 2000, we have donated €80 million to UNICEF and Save the Children to fight the root causes of child labor in India and Pakistan. Our programs 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 labor
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 programs
Kids play – a fundamental right, a basic need
Play helps us develop important skills such as teamwork, risk taking and resilience to stress. It is so vital that the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child declares that every child has a right to play. Yet millions of children across the world are denied their fundamental right to play and develop in a safe, secure environment.
Through our Let’s Play for Change campaign, the IKEA Foundation has partnered with six leading organizations – Handicap International, Room to Read, Save the Children, Special Olympics, UNICEF and War Child – to provide even the most vulnerable children with safe places where they can play, develop and simply enjoy being kids. Thanks to their work, 150,000 children are now enjoying their right to play.
Play helps kids develop their teamwork skills – join the IKEA Let’s Play campaign and play more!
We know play
We’re real play geeks, having studied, examined and analyzed what makes play happen, what gets in its way and how different cultures do it. We published our latest findings as the IKEA Play Report ’17 which, combined with our two previous Play Reports, represents the world’s largest body of research on play.
We’ve also created a mini guide including fun activities to do with your kids, to inspire you to play more at home. Because play is vital for all of us, we want to show people that, no matter who you are, it’s easy for everyone to spark it everywhere, every day.
The IKEA Let’s Play campaign wants to inspire families to play more at home.Need ideas on fun activities to do with your kids? Join the IKEA Let’s Play campaign!
The IWitness Global Citizens program
This program 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.
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Supporting refugees
Since January 2015, more than one million refugees have entered Europe trying to create a better everyday life for them-selves and their children in Europe. The Good Cause campaign “Brighter Lives for Refugees” is one of many things IKEA and IKEA Foundation has done to help improve life of refugees. For every LED product sold in all IKEA stores and online, during the campaign periods, the IKEA Foundation donated Є1 to help UNHCR, the UN refugee agency. The campaign generated approximately $30.8 million in donations from IKEA Foundation to UNHCR, to provide light, renewable energy and education for refugee families living in camps in Asia, Africa and the Middle East, enough for UNHCR to continue run the renewable energy and education programs for years to come.
As the refugee crisis continues to unfold, we have been active in supporting local organizations 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 programs that help refugees integrate into the workforce.
Find out more at IKEA Foundation
Image of two boys walking thru a refugee camp in the sunset. ©UNHCR/Warrick Page
Small actions add up
See how water-saving taps and energy-saving induction cooktops 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
Creating positive change
Learn how we’re sourcing materials in a responsible way and becoming energy independent. Go to Energy & Resources