Guided by its mantra of a better everyday life for the many poeple, IKEA has long been producing cheap and easy-to-assemble furniture. During the last few years, the company has taken several measures in order to broaden the meaning of its vision.
We have already seen the result from some of these initiatives.
One example is the commitment IKEA made in 2009; to make large investments in wind and solar equipment. Today, they are operating 327 wind turbines and have installed 730,000 solar panels – producing enough energy to cover 71% of the energy consumption of their operations.
When IKEA first published their sustainability strategy in 2012, People & Planet Positive, they framed the concept of sustainability even more broadly than just encompassing the environment.
In Sweden as well as abroad, they have partnered up with local co-operatives, in order to secure a sustainable livelihood to artisans and farmers, as well as supporting local handicrafts. In Malmö, for example, Yalla Trappan, a women’s co-operative that supplies sewing services to the store, provides employment and economic independency for foreign-born women.
In a massive social sustainability drive, IKEA has announced that they aim to employ 200,000 disadvantaged people around the world, according to Dezeen.
At a first glance, this ambitious goal might seem far off.
But, the first steps have already been taken. Today IKEA employs 2,000 people through different social responsibility projects.
Now, the company has partnered up with the Jordan River Foundation in order to open up a production centre in Amman, close to refugee camps in northern Jordan. It will employ skilled craftspeople, both local and refugees, to work on handmade products.
“Jordan doesn’t make any sense from a financial perspective, at least not in the short term, but it’s part of resolving something.” says Jesper Brodin, IKEA’s head of range and supply to Dezeen.
While the project in Jordan only will employ 400 people, IKEA thinks that similar initiatives will secure a sustainable livelihood for the remaining 197,600.
“Two-hundred thousand is our long-term ambition,” said Brodin. “It may take 10 to 15 years. We want these people to be our future suppliers.”