At IKEA, we’re guided by one simple-yet-powerful vision: to create a better everyday life for the many people. It’s a forever part of our business, no matter the times. And now more than ever, it guides us as we navigate the exceptional situation we all find ourselves in during the coronavirus pandemic. Read on to find out how.
Back in the 1970s, our founder Ingvar Kamprad laid down the values that each of us, as IKEA co-workers, still share today. In these times, our strong value of togetherness draws us even closer, leading us into action as we support each other, our communities, our customers and the wider world.
We are optimists at IKEA, so we start not with talking about the crisis we’re in now, but the action it’s inspired us to take for the future. Because Ingvar used to say that a crisis brings out the best in us. Each and every one of us is – and will continue – adjusting to this new, ever-changing reality.
Like you, we at IKEA are reflecting on what really matters, and how life will be after this. We’re asking how it can be better, and what we can do to make it so for the many. And, being a purpose-led brand, we’re asking ourselves how we can do more to tackle climate change and help create a more equal society.
We stand by the many people, because we ourselves are many: the beating heart of our business is our 166,000 co-workers. So throughout this crisis, their well-being, safety and security have been what’s most important to us.
This is why securing the livelihoods of as many of them as possible, for as long as possible, is our focus. It’s the main reason we’ve continued to keep some of our operations safely open, through e-commerce as well as click-and-collect. It’s also why we’ve given each country we’re present in a support framework, so they can secure income stability, additional parental leave, flexible work arrangements and competence development that helps people to grow and flourish.
We’ve always felt that it’s a privilege to be in the homes, lives and communities of the many. During this crisis, a third of the world’s population has been forced to stay at home – and it’s been our honour to be there with them. Not only through ideas to make home working easier, or a more organised space a reality, but through action.
By this we mean creating more comfortable temporary homes for the most vulnerable in our communities and quarantine centres for those needing to safely isolate, as well as donations of furniture and medical equipment to hospitals. In local communities, we’ve also provided high-risk groups with food, furniture, toys and aid.
Togetherness has led store co-workers across the world to ignite a movement of doing and sharing kindnesses small, medium and large in their local communities, to create hope in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.
From donating store plants to a local care home on closing, to furnishing flats for frontline workers unable to go home between shifts, the 'together with kindness' movement has shown us that, while home furnishing products won’t directly save lives, they go a long way to bringing comfort and helping create a sanctuary.
The coronavirus has made our commitment to the Paris Agreement and our goal of complete circularity by 2030 stronger than ever. It’s why we’ve rallied together with 180 political decision-makers, NGOs, think tanks, trade unions and business leaders. Collectively we’ve made one clear promise: that our recovery from the coronavirus outbreak will be focused on creating a sustainable world.
Together, this ‘green recovery alliance’ will act on the social and economic consequences of this crisis head-on. We’ll be co-ordinated, sharing our knowledge and expertise with each other, so we can move towards a green economy that’s vibrant, resilient and climate-neutral – faster. And we’ll do it optimistically, as we echo EU leaders and do ‘whatever it takes’.
We know that people rely on us for affordable, good quality furniture that makes their homes and lives better. And with so many at home during some points of this crisis, homes have needed to be the best they can be – and more.
Having to close many of our stores has demanded greater creativity of us. To improve our online offer, we’ve safely adapted some stores into fulfilment centres. We’ve also dreamt up new services, like drive-through click-and-collect and contactless deliveries, and have sped up bringing our IKEA app to additional countries. In stores, when they’re open, our customers and our co-workers have always been protected with increased hygiene practices and, of course, physical distancing.
Many small and medium-sized businesses are really struggling during these times. For the most vital and vulnerable of the ones who supply us, or who rent spaces in our shopping centres, we’re providing proactive support – through measures like cash flow relief and rent waivers or holidays.
As a brand with a strong purpose, we at IKEA have long known that the legacy we want to leave behind is that more of the many people achieve a better life at home affordably, with a positive impact on people and the planet. As optimists, we believe this is possible – and that it’s good business to be a good business.
But beliefs are not enough. We’re a brand about action. So, our business now, as before the outbreak of the coronavirus, is focused on responding to the very real challenges the world is facing – of climate change, unsustainable consumption and inequality – by focusing on healthy and sustainable living, being circular and climate positive and being fair and inclusive. That focus will not change.
We made a promise to people, to stand by their sides. That’s what we’ve done through this time, and it’s what we’ll do going forward. As we continue to be stronger, together.