In connection to World Refugee Day, IKEA is honoured to receive an award from the TENT foundation* for “Outstanding leadership in integrating refugees into the supply chain” due to its long-term collaboration with the Jordan River Foundation (JRF).
Since the refugee crisis began in 2011, 700,000 Syrians have officially registered as refugees in Jordan, a country of only 9.5 million people with high unemployment rates. IKEA has been collaborating with social businesses with the ambition to create a business that is ethical in all dimensions and resulting in better lives for those who need it most. One of the social entrepreneur partners, Jordan River Foundation, creates jobs and integrates refugee women alongside Jordanian female artisans. The efforts have yielded results.Lena Pripp-Kovac, Chief Sustainability Officer, received the award in a panel where refugee integration was discussed together with the other awarded corporates: Airbnb, Teleperformance IberoLatam, & Ben & Jerry’s.
Lena Pripp-Kovac, Chief Sustainability Officer, received the award in a panel where refugee integration was discussed together with the other awarded corporates: Airbnb, Teleperformance IberoLatam, & Ben & Jerry’s.
” I’m so happy and honoured that we have received TENT award as an acknowledgement of our collaboration with Jordan River Fondation. When we identified Jordan and Jordan River Foundation as potential partners in 2017, IKEA wanted to find a way to include refugees into our value chain. Four years after it is wonderful to see that the collaboration has grown and matured.”
Jordan River Foundation has created jobs for women refugees and Jordanian women in need of livelihood opportunities. In August there will be 250 jobs for women equally divided between Jordanian locals and refugee women.
One of the key motivations behind the collaboration between IKEA and JRF has been to support Jordan´s journey in integrating refugees with locals in the labour market through jobs. However, bringing women together was a challenge since Jordanian women came from difficult backgrounds and were hesitant to share their income possibilities with the newly arrived refugee women.
“As an organisation, we always try to ensure that we provide equal opportunities, addressing the Jordanian community needs the way we address the Syrian community needs,” says Enaam Barrishi, Director General of the Jordan River Foundation. “However, over time, women began to appreciate and learn from each other. It has been wonderful to see how that shift took place,” she adds.
For small organisations like the Jordan River Foundation, partnering with IKEA meant scaling up over time to offer products for many people.
“The more customers we can reach, the more women will benefit from this project. There is no better route out of poverty than the opportunity for people to have a decent job. Learning a skill in handicrafts is a path towards independence and self-sufficiency,” Enaam explains.
Many people in the Jordan area are skilled craftspeople with a unique competence that IKEA wants to build on. JRF takes a big responsibility in training and empowering their co-workers. As a result, IKEA gets access to unique handicraft skills, and the partner receives insights into global product development in all aspects. Through co-creation, unique products are developed and sold at the IKEA stores and online – products with a social purpose that will change people’s lives in a better direction.
It became even more vital to secure jobs for the most vulnerable groups in society during the pandemic, which often hit the hardest . In Jordan, there was a lock-down period in spring 2020, which affected operations, but now the business is fully operational again.
*TENT: The Tent Partnership for Refugees is a non-profit organization launched in 2016 to mobilize the global business community to include refugees. Today, we are a network of over 140 major companies committed to integrating refugees in their host communities. www.tent.org