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We want to create a positive social impact wherever we are

At IKEA, we are committed to providing decent work and fair working conditions.IKEA is an inclusive business, committed to providing decent work and fair working conditions.We are committed to providing decent work across our value chain, and at IKEA, we also promote equality.
We want to play our part in creating a better life for the people and communities touched by our business. That’s why we are committed to providing and supporting decent and meaningful work across our value chain, being an inclusive business and promoting equality.
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By 2030 our ambition is to inspire and enable more than 1 billion people to live a better everyday life within the limits of the planet
Human rights
Nobody’s equal till 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 labour. 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 labour 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 labour
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 Labor Organization (ILO) and UNICEF.
Creating long-term solutions
Preventing and eliminating 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 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 IWAY, the IKEA supplier code of conduct, was launched in 2000. IKEA suppliers are responsible for communicating IWAY to their sub-suppliers, and IKEA is supporting them in doing this. All suppliers must comply with IWAY requirements, otherwise they are phased out.
An IWAY inspector at an IKEA supplier factory
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?
The IKEA supplier code of conduct, the IWAY Standard, plays an important role in positive developments. It specifies minimum requirements relating to the environment, social impact and working conditions.
Suppliers are also required to perform audits of their own suppliers.
Two persons in a wood factory standing by an assembly line.
The IWAY Standard requirements include:
- Prevention of child labour and support for young workers
- Protection against forced or bonded labour
- Right to non-discrimination
- Right to 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.
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
Download the 2016 IKEA Group Sustainability Report PDFIKEA and WWF have worked successfully together on cotton farming issues for over a decade. As a result, an estimated 110,000 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
PÅTÅR special edition
PÅTÅR special edition is a single-origin high-quality 100% Arabica coffee from the White Nile region in Uganda, and a result of our cooperation with thousands of small scale farmers.
Introducing a single-origin high-quality 100% Arabica coffee from Uganda
Uganda is the biggest coffee exporting country in Africa, yet the average size of a coffee farm is less than 0,25 hectares – just a quarter the size of a football field. It’s not easy to run a profitable farm with such small resources. To help support economic independence of farmers, as well as more sustainable farming practices, IKEA has teamed up with a regional coffee project. As a result, we’re now introducing our first ever single-origin coffee to 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 small scale farmers.
Good coffee with an even greater aftertaste
An Ugandan woman, broadly smiling, who’s involved in the White Nile project.
At IKEA, we’re always looking for social entrepreneurs or business models that share our vision. The White Nile project is one such initiative, and one where we see an opportunity for a long term partnership contributing to a positive development. The project started out almost 20 years ago, in an attempt to promote the cultivation of high quality Arabica coffee in a region traditionally known as the producer of less favored beans. By supporting the initiative, IKEA contributes to the economic empowerment of 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.
 Ugandan farmers get advice and education as part of the White Nile project.
We believe in the importance of inclusion of women and youth to support sustainable livelihoods. The White Nile project encourages a more equal share of responsibilities in both farmers’ businesses and family households as well as shared access to resources to increase women’s independence. But it’s also about seeing the everyday life challenges, for example that access to water directly at the coffee processing site minimizes the need for long and sometimes risky walks to fetch it elsewhere. Through addressing these and many more issues, coffee farming in the White Nile region will hopefully be an attractive business for generations to come.
Freshly picked coffee cherries in the palm of a hand.
The start of a long-lasting partnership
By making a long-term commitment to the White Nile farmers growing Arabica beans, we’re entering a partnership where everyone’s a winner. The special PÅTÅR coffee isn’t a charity project – it’s a business opportunity. Together with our supplier and through our IKEA stores, the farmers get to sell their product and we gain a high-quality, tasty coffee.
However, since there isn’t yet enough Arabica coming from the White Nile region to allow sales in all IKEA stores worldwide, this special edition is sold in a number of selected countries only. As the coffee crop grows, we hope to increase that number.
PÅTÅR special edition is a high-quality fresh and fruity medium roast with subtle hints of vanilla and caramel.
An image of a person walking on a path in the Ugandan countryside.
Your coffee break makes a difference
Just like all other members of the PÅTÅR family, the Ugandan special edition is UTZ certified and organic according to EU standards. In short that means higher yields, better incomes and better living conditions for farmers, as well as protection of 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,
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.
Improving opportunities for children
No matter what the circumstances, every child deserves a placeto call home, a healthy start in life, a quality education and a sustainable family income. The IKEA Foundation has a long history of supporting programmes run by well-regarded organisations – like UNICEF and the Clinton Foundation – to help children and youth living in the world’s poorest communities so they can create a better future for themselves and their families. Currently funded programmes are expected to benefit 100 million children by the end of 2015.
Visit the IKEA Foundation website for more info
A refugee camp.
The IKEA Foundation contributes more than €100 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 is funding programmes 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 programmes
An African boy standing outside a shelter in 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 labour
IKEA has worked with Save the Children and UNICEF for over a decade. We have donated €60 million since 2000 to fight the root causes of child labour in India and Pakistan. Together we will reach 16 million children by 2017. Visit the IKEA Foundation website for more information on how they are working towards preventing child labour
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 programmes

The Real Play Coalition:

working together to spotlight play

For us at IKEA, spreading the word about the power of play is a serious business. Because after producing the world’s largest piece of research on play, we want to shine a light on children’s universal right to play under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. And we’re not the only ones.
In 2018, we formed an alliance with others who share this belief. Together with the LEGO Foundation, National Geographic, Unilever and UNICEF, we work to promote play-based opportunities that serve as rocket fuel for child development.
Together, we are the Real Play Coalition.
Green funny kids’ drawings of fantasy creatures on a yellow background.
A happy boy lying on a bed in a dark green bedroom with a grey JÄTTESTOR elephant soft toy.

The benefits of play

Why do children need to play? Because play in early childhood ignites the fire for learning, naturally setting children up with the skills they need to thrive as adults in a fast-moving future.
“Children today spend less time playing, because they’re too busy. That’s why we want to promote play as optimal for child development.”
A girl dressed for relaxing at home and with a paper crown on her head, sprawling in an armchair while drawing.

Play is under threat

Through our collective work and research at the Real Play Coalition, we know that – whether at home, in the community, at school or across virtual spaces – play is under threat. Children today spend less time playing, because they’re too busy. That’s why we want to promote play as optimal for child development.
An outdoor evening scene in an Eastern country where girls are running around playing in the schoolyard.

What our play research tells us

Before we formed the Real Play Coalition, our organisations commissioned independent research across more than 100 countries, to assess the impact of play on children, families, communities and society. This gave us a sense of the benefits of play and what children learn through play. But it also provided a clear picture of the issues around low-play lives.
Two boys sitting in front of each other, one of them making funny faces through a magnifying glass.

Power to the play makers

Even though we’re a brand that reaches many people around the globe, we see the reduced importance of play in children’s lives as a challenge that needs maximum manpower.
By working together – ‘tillsammans’ as we say in Sweden – with other large organisations that share our belief in play’s power, we have an even bigger chance of inspiring a real shift towards more play in children’s lives.
“By working together – ‘tillsammans’ as we say in Sweden – with other large organisations that share our belief in play’s power, we have an even bigger chance of inspiring more play in children’s lives.”

Our plan for spotlighting play

From our shared ‘evidence’ based perspective comes the Real Play Coalition’s mission. To change perceptions around the value of play. To mobilise decision-makers. And to influence behaviourial change. So that by 2025, 500 million children will have benefited from the power of play.
Our shared networks span the globe and we’re present in many people’s daily lives. Because of this, we all have a real responsibility to help reclaim play.
How will we do it? By using our combined insights, reach and influence, and by working with children, we will create a movement that impacts the cultural perception of the importance of play – among parents, practitioners, institutions and wider societies.

Find out more

Join us and get the ball rolling with some simple ideas for play! If you’re interested in the data and research behind our findings, jump to these pages to read more about the power of play, the Real Play Coalition and partners that share our passion for play.
Three rows of a multicoloured party garland with the words 'Let’s play!' written in some places.

Easy ideas for play – and why it’s good for us

What are the types of play? What are the benefits of play in child development? And why is children’s right to play important? These are some of the questions our three IKEA Play Reports – the most recent of which we created in 2017 – set out to answer.
A grown-up bending backwards while child a is crawling under him, playing together on a floor.
“As children we develop our relational world through play. As we grow up, we begin to develop power and creativity as more adult expressions. But that doesn’t mean we stop playing!”
Roy Langmaid, Psychologist
An outdoor evening scene in the countryside with several teenagers playing a baseball-like game.

Learning through play

Our IKEA Play Reports make up the world’s largest ever body of research on play. The learnings from all this data and exploration directly influence the way we design for the wonderful, ever-changing world of home – which of course includes our Children’s IKEA range.
Value of Play Report (PDF)
A bedroom with a dad lying on his back with hands and feet up in the air on the bed, playing airplane with his son.

The benefits of play

Our research reveals that through play, we connect, create, recharge, escape and explore. It’s these five ‘play benefits’ that make play a basic human need – not a luxury. They’re also why the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child underlines play as the universal right of every child.
Read more about UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

Drumroll… Introducing… The IKEA Mini Play Guide!

For Let’s play!, we’ve condensed the findings from the IKEA Play Report 17 into a bite-sized, printable IKEA Mini Play Guide, not only to share what we’ve learned about play, but to include ideas for how to play in life’s most important playground: home.

IKEA Play Report 17 (PDF)

How to play

“Everyone has known play, but as we grow up it can come less easily to us,” says the Mini Play Guide, which offers “a scattering of seeds with which to grow new play ideas and opportunities.” Below are some of the ways to play that the guide covers – plus an idea for each. For more simple, fun ideas for play, download the IKEA Mini Play Guide at the bottom of the page.
A boy and a girl with a kitten mask on her forehead, sitting comfortably on a sofa while talking.
A boy gets his face painted for play by two friends.

Free-style play

About: Spontaneity and lack of structure, where we become immersed in the world children naturally create as they play.
Example: Kitchen band – grab pots and pans, and set them up to be ‘played’ with kitchen utensils. Remember, loud is good!
See pots and pansSee kitchen utensils
A happy girl playing peekaboo and holding a red LJUSA hand-powered flashlight.

Build-it play

About: Creating something new with your child by exploring, experimenting and problem solving – then celebrating it together.
Example: Compile a model-making kit (glue, scissors etc.), and collect clean household junk to pull out for projects.
A kitchen where a mum is washing the dishes while her little daughter is fixing a garland.

Mirror-me play

About: Inspiring imaginative play, these are light-hearted ways for adults and kids to complete chores by turning them into a game.
Example: Baking simple recipes where the child can lead. Use measuring cups instead of weighing scales to avoid disruptive pauses.
See measuring cupsSee weighing scales
An outdoor evening scene in an Eastern country where girls are running around playing in the schoolyard.

Muddy-boots play

About: Physical play is for letting go, running around and shaking off social constraints. Energy is boosted, endorphins are released, and happiness is delivered.
Example: Arrange a simple sporting event, with sprints like the Three-Legged Race, Sack Race or Egg-and-Spoon Race.
A boy colouring black-and-white drawings on a LUSTIGT colouring paper roll with MÅLA coloured pencils.

Out-of-the-box play

About: Creative play in which, as imaginations are tapped into, a wonderful world beyond rules and obligations opens up.
Example: Freely scribble swirls and curls, never letting your pencil leave the paper. Then, colour the shapes between the lines.
A boy and a girl sitting on a green carpet while playing a game.

Formal play

About: A little less spontaneity and a little more structure, with all players finding respite from everyday life as they solve specific challenges.
Example: Stacking games like LATTJO, the ultimate test of steady hands – and steely nerves!
Our Let’s Play for Change campaign
With our IKEA Let’s Play for Change campaign, we want to show people that play is a basic need rather than a luxury. Play is vital, not just for kids, but for all of us. Why? Because when we spark play, we connect, create, recharge, escape and explore.
During the campaign Nov.4-Dec.15, 2018, our stores are extra playful places to be. Because we want you to play more, to see how light and simple activities makes everyday life more playful.
We hope you’ll join us in getting lost in the joy of play, and that you’ll find out how simple it is to carry on the fun at home.
Let’s play! Look out for these fun graphics from the IKEA Let’s Play for Change campaign.
We know play
We’re real play geeks, having studied, examined and analysed 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!
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 organisations – 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.
Read more about the IKEA Foundation and its partners
Play helps kids develop their teamwork skills – join the IKEA Let’s Play campaign and play more!
Your kid’s drawing can turn into a soft toy to be sold in every IKEA store!
Our Soft toy drawing competition and SAGOSKATT
Designed by kids to help other kids, the cute, cuddly SAGOSKATT soft toy collection is back. This family of funny friends is the definition of play with a purpose: the part purchase price of each SAGOSKATT soft toy is donated to local charities in order to support every child’s right to play and to develop.
This year’s collection consists of a pink unicorn living in the clouds; a rainbow-coloured shark travelling the seas; a mischievous blue monster; a hedgehog/dinosaur/monster hybrid who loves tropical fruit; and a spotty seal who plays with a little fish.
The IKEA Soft toy drawing competition for next year’s toy designs is currently open, so we’re calling on all IKEA FAMILY members’ creative kids, aged 0-12, to take part between Nov.18-Nov.25, 2018, The most unique creations will be turned into real toys, to be sold in every IKEA store and to inspire kids play across the world.
The IWitness Global Citizens programme
This programme 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.
ikea foundation
Creating a better everyday life for refugees
Guided by our values, we believe that IKEA Group can play an important role in providing opportunities to people from all backgrounds – including refugees.
We have been active in supporting refugees through a variety of local community efforts, such as the donation of products, education projects and co-worker volunteering.
Today eight IKEA Group markets (Austria, Germany, Italy, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the UK) have started programmes that help refugees gain work experience, develop new skills and integrate into their new communities. And other markets run a variety of programmes in local communities to support migrants, refugees and other vulnerable groups.
We do all this because it is part of our vision, to create a better everyday life for the many people.
IKEA co-workers Yaser Alwili, Lena van Heuven, Elin Johansson and Mohammad Al Heswani are very happy with the refugee inclusion programme.
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Opening doors to employment
Over 90 stores in eight IKEA Group markets have started refugee inclusion programmes that support refugees to gain work experience, develop language skills and integrate into their new communities. Find out more by reading some of their stories:
Eight IKEA markets have started programmes that help refugees gain work experience, developnew skills and integrate into their new communities.
“Entering IKEA felt like entering a home. I wake up with a smile on my face because I know I’m going somewhere fun where I can help people find what they are looking for. IKEA has allowed me to face the past but also to build my future.”
Alagie Darboe, Self-service co-worker, IKEA Padua store
Nine stores across IKEA Retail Italy have supported over 70 refugees to gain work experience. The programme is run in collaboration with COGES, an NGO which helps young refugees and migrants settle in Italy.
Refugees are hired for three or six months on fixed-term contracts, after which their work is evaluated. So far, nearly two-thirds have had their contract renewed, while the rest were given a job reference to help them find their next opportunity.
The programme has been so successful that all nine stores will continue in 2018, and there are plans to explore how to potentially extend the programme to all 21 stores.
“As a value-centric company, our collaboration with COGES is one way we manage to be drivers of change – both for IKEA and for the refugee community in Italy. The aim of our refugee inclusion programme is to offer training and mentoring so that refugees can improve their skills and start building their future here in Italy. It goes beyond social aid and assistance to making them part of the daily story life. And we are really good at this!” says Laura Tiberto, HR Team Assistant, IKEA Padua store.
Meet co-worker Miriam Egio and find out about her view on the IKEA refugee programme.
“We hope that this programme will continue to support people to grow, advance and create opportunities for a better future.”
Miriam Egio, HR Manager, IKEA Ensanche de Vallecas store
Since 2015, Spain has received thousands of applications for asylum from refugees. In response, IKEA Retail Spain developed the Employability Programme – part of a wider partnership with the NGOs, ACCEM, ACNUR, CEAR and the Spanish Ministry of Employment and Social Security.
At IKEA Ensanche de Vallecas and IKEA Murcia stores, refugees are offered a five-week training programme, designed to give them the tools and resources they need to improve their employability skills and access work in the retail sector. Each week is spent learning about work in a different department, combined with training sessions on writing a CV and preparing for interviews.
At the end of the programme, the vast majority of participants had a job interview and over half of them found a job – including six who became IKEA co-workers.
Through first-hand conversations and stories, co-workers at the two stores learned about the life of a refugee and realised the importance of their own role in supporting participants with employability skills. IKEA Retail Spain is rolling the programme out to as many stores as possible, and exploring ways to extend the opportunity to other vulnerable groups.
Meet refugee and co-worker Mohamed Abdullahi and find out about his view on working at IKEA.
“I started the internship programme in September 2016. For me it was a good opportunity to integrate into an international company. I’m now employed long term and am financially independent.”
Mohamed Abdullahi, Logistics co-worker, IKEA Aubonne store
IKEA Retail Switzerland started its refugee inclusion programme in June 2016, offering six-month internships twice a year to refugees across all of its nine stores. Working closely with local authorities, four interns per year are chosen to work at each store.
“We are very happy that every six months, because of this programme, we had the opportunity to hire very motivated co-workers. This also increased our diversity in the store and gave refugees the possibility to continue their integration in our country in a constructive and positive way”, says Bruna Toubia, multi-cultural trainer.
Depending on prior work experience and language skills, some interns might work in logistics, sales, recovery, the food department or other functions. Interns also receive intercultural training. After the internship, participants are provided with a reference and encouraged to apply for open positions at IKEA.
Around 110 local refugees will benefit from the programme until 2019. IKEA Retail Switzerland has also published the Refugee Inclusion Toolkit, sharing their experience with other companies.
Meet co-worker Dan Sandmoen and find out about his view on the IKEA refugee programme.
“I’m very proud to be part of a project that gives refugees and immigrants their important first step of gaining work experience and learning Norwegian. The participants’ level of engagement and desire to learn has been inspiring.”
Dan Sandmoen, Team Leader, IKEA Furuset store
The Norwegian government challenged the sector of social security to come up with ideas and projects to increase the rate of inclusion of newly arrived refugees and immigrants into the workforce and society of Norway. As an answer to the challenge, the district of Alna in Oslo where IKEA Furuset store is located, thought of involving the Adult Language Learning Centre and IKEA Furuset store.
To meet the needs of newly arrived refugees and migrants to gain work experience in Norway, the IKEA Furuset store in collaboration with the Adult Language Learning Centre, came up with the idea of trying out a Hurtigsporet (“Fast Track”) project. The idea is to allow the participants to learn Norwegian over the period of eight months, while they receive work training at IKEA Furuset store. The goal for IKEA is to recruit new co-workers from the project, and the school’s goal is to get the participants to speak enough Norwegian to get by.
“This project has changed my life 100%. I could not imagine at all that I would get a job within the first year of arriving in Norway, but I now have a part-time job and I make my own money now. At the same time I have colleagues and friends at work that I can talk to and keep practicing my Norwegian.” - Asma from Afghanistan
So far, 11 out of 14 participants have completed the project of training in different departments, and with the help of mentors and staff they learn IKEA values and basically everything about working at IKEA. Five new co-workers have been recruited to the IKEA Furuset store and half the participants passed their Norwegian language tests. The Hurtigsporet project will now be expanded to include IKEA Slependen store, with the hope to make an even bigger impact.
Meet co-worker Hiliary Jenkins and find out about her view on the IKEA refugee programmes.
“Since starting the programme, I’ve witnessed a renewed energy among our co-workers for the IKEA values and appreciation of IKEA as a great place to work – not to mention some fabulous new co-workers joining us. It’s been a win-win experience!”
Hiliary Jenkins, People & Communities Leader, IKEA Retail UK & IE
Imagine being forced to move to a different country, having no idea how to get a job or anyone to guide you. Also, the UK has a lengthy asylum process, during which you can’t work. This creates a gap in employment, while emotionally it can be very isolating. That’s where our partnership with the charity Breaking Barriers steps in as a support network.
Together with Breaking Barriers, IKEA Retail UK has developed a customer service course that is available to refugees for free. The course helps them learn the skills they need to enter the retail job market.
It also includes English language support and a bespoke assessment centre with IKEA so that participants can experience a retail job interview and learn more about IKEA as a values-based company. After this assessment centre some participants are invited back for formal interviews. To date, we have hosted assessment centres in Tottenham, Croydon and Wembley.
"So far, 110 refugees have been supported by the course and 20 have found employment in an IKEA store. And we’re expanding into more stores this year and in 2019 we hope to see every store in the UK on board."
Hiliary Jenkins, People & Communities Leader, IKEA Retail UK & IE
Refugees and their new communities thriving together
Patience, 21, is an aspiring journalist doing vocationaltraining through the International Rescue Committee with support from the IKEA Foundation.
Patience, 21, is an aspiring journalist doing vocational training through the International Rescue Committee with support from the IKEA Foundation
When people are forced to leave their homes, they have to leave most things behind. But no matter what they leave behind, they all bring three things with them wherever they go: skills, talents, aspirations.
The IKEA Foundation* is supporting the International Rescue Committee (IRC) with a €5 million grant to help improve the lives of both refugees and young Kenyans living in Nairobi’s informal settlements.
The partnership promotes refugees’ self-reliance and financial independence through a flexible training and employment programme, tailored to each individual’s needs. By offering business-skills training, start-up grants, apprenticeships, and connections to local employers, the IRC is helping thousands of vulnerable people improve their chances for a better future.
Refugees and their new communities can thrive together when refugees are able to develop their skills, embrace their talents and fulfil their aspirations. Because when refugees are able to work, they create businesses and employ others. They have more money to spend in the local economy and need fewer benefits. They experience less frustration and feel more connected to their new community.
*The philanthropic arm of IKEA Group
Read more about the IKEA Foundation and its partnerships at
Small actions add up
See how water-saving taps and energy-saving induction hobs 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