Transforming the waste sector in India and beyond
To be able to reach the circular future we at IKEA strive for, transforming the waste sector is a key consideration within the context of working only with renewable and recycled materials.
Currently, there is an estimated 4 million people working as informal waste workers in India. These workers engage in recycling activities that are crucial to India’s waste management system. However, the informal nature of their job, and the prejudice and stigma around it, pose distinct challenges related to their livelihoods, working conditions, and their acceptance in society.
A socially inclusive solution
A growing number of social enterprises are offering waste services and solutions to address these social and environmental challenges, but often lack access to finance and the capabilities required to invest in a complex sector such as waste management.
Our grant to the Yunus Social Business will be used to pilot, along with WASTE and SIDA, the setup of an investment fund to support these social enterprises. The partnership will also provide technical assistance and capacity building to support the enterprises in key areas of their work. By plugging the funding gap, we hope to attract more backers and turn our investment into a larger fund to support more social enterprises.
Collaboration is key
The challenges associated with the waste sector are many and highly interlinked, so individual organisations often struggle to move the needle.
"IKEA Social Entrepreneurship is proud to support Yunus Social Business with this fund", says Åsa Skogström Feldt. "We know there are many challenges associated with transforming the waste sector and partnerships are key to developing holistic solutions and creating a better everyday life for the many people."
"We are super excited about the opportunity presented by the Take a Stake consortium, bringing together the expertise of different impact-driven organisations to address the challenges of the waste and WASH sectors in India and East Africa in a holistic way: WASTE Foundation with its sector expertise in WASH and waste, and Sida with its focus on waste", added Saskia Bruysten, co-founder and CEO of Yunus Social Business. "We are absolutely thrilled to have IKEA Social Enterprise joining this coalition, adding its expertise in the Waste sector in India. With IKEA Social Enterprise, we are also particularly excited for the opportunity this could present for IKEA to strengthen its own corporate purpose journey though its exposure to and work with social businesses."
This grant is part of our commitment to transform the informal waste sector in India and compliments our associated partnership with Saahas Zero Waste.
IKEA is working to become a fully circular and climate positive working with more renewables and recycled materials to be fully circular by 2030.