I grew up in Barcelona, Spain, and have spent most of my career in Europe. This summer, the murder of George Floyd in Minnesota prompted thousands of protestors to take to the streets across the U.S. and in my home country, and all across Europe. For the first time, we witnessed a global movement both to support Black people in America, but also to raise awareness about racism in other countries. While it may seem protests for racial equality have quieted, the movement continues, and we cannot stall our efforts. As we take this month to honor and celebrate Black History, I would also like to share what we are doing at IKEA to support Black Futures.
We recognize the need to accelerate the work we must undertake to drive change. I engaged with hundreds of our co-workers and stakeholders to listen and learn about the systemic issues of racism in the U.S. Many of our Black co-workers shared their stories and provided insightful input on how IKEA can become an ally in the pursuit of racial equity. These conversations were not easy, yet we always respected each other and consistently demonstrated how acceptance, care, and respect for each other make us stronger.
IKEA believes that diversity is a key to success and that an inclusive workplace is good for our co-workers, our customers and our business. As a purpose-led organization, siding with the many people, we aim to expand our efforts to become a force for positive change in society. Together with our global partners, we will take meaningful action around our focus on ethnicity, race, and nationalities within our organization. We have initiated a long-term plan to create a more equitable and inclusive workplace. By 2024, as a global company we are coming together around three key objectives:
- Reflect the multicultural composition of the communities and countries where we operate, in all levels of leadership.
- Advance underrepresented groups through equitable business practices.
- Enhance inclusion for co-workers of all ethnicities, races and nationalities.
We are energized by these ambitions, and we’ve already started to lay the groundwork in the U.S. Since 2015, we have been deploying implicit bias training to our entire operation, and we will continue this work by piloting new technology, like BiasSync. We have also developed a Caring for People training series to help our co-workers understand the impact of inequality in the U.S. and globally. But this is just the beginning of our work. We will hire new co-workers into country-level roles to support our continued work on equality, diversity, and inclusion. We’ll also dedicate more resources to our recruitment teams to support a succession process for hourly co-workers to ensure that diversity is reflected at all levels of our organization.
Together with our social justice partners, co-workers, customers, and communities, we will work to make meaningful and measurable change in society. We have already committed $3 million over the next 12 months to support organizations that are working in support of social justice, economic empowerment and education initiatives for Black communities.
As we come together to mark Black History Month, I consider it a privilege to celebrate with our co-workers, while continuing to learn and take action on these important issues for the long-term. We look forward to sharing more in the coming weeks on the internal initiatives and programs that will further demonstrate our long-term commitment to Black equality, today and for the future.
IKEA Retail U.S. President and Chief Sustainability Officer