IKEA has the ambition to be fully circular by 2030 but is also committed to making a positive impact on people and society as a whole, creating a fair and equal world for all. We recognise that many people living in the regions we are present in, don't always have equal opportunities and can find themselves excluded. We want to change that and create a world where everyone is able to participate. An inclusive world that honours people unique skills and competencies.
Inclusion through equality
Through IKEA Social Entrepreneurship we partner with social businesses and entrepreneurs that tackle societal challenges. Challenges such as supporting families gain access to livable housing or supporting in setting up a services hub to coach homeless people back into society.
Our partnerships support the social entrepreneurs to scale their work and impact, either through our development programmes with IKEA co-workers learning and working directly with the social entrepreneurs or by doing business with them. These partnerships allow us to support those working with local communities and contribute to an inclusive local economy, an important step to a fair and equal society, as stated in our sustainability agenda.
To create a more inclusive world, equal chances must be created for vulnerable communities. Through equality, people are granted the same opportunities and rights are respected. We all have the right to fair income, employment, education and health care but in practice, not all are granted. Even acquiring affordable and livable housing seems a luxury to many vulnerable individuals.
We believe that the right to adequate housing is a fundamental human right and that decent housing lays the foundation for marginalized communities to thrive. Involving communities in the home-building process not only yields decent and dignified housing. It imparts, skills, self-esteem and – most importantly – a sense of community ownership. Francesco Piazzesi, CEO
Social inclusion's influence on societies
Impact through collaboration
A social enterprise in the Dela III accelerator programme, SPEAK, realised that language proficiency helps migrants and refugees assimilate and provided a digital platform to facilitate informal language learning. Through the platform SPEAK connected this group to city locals and enabled cultural and linguistic exchange. Now, 94% of their participants across Europe feel less isolated and are able to better understand the language they were learning.
Responding to local communities' needsIn order to make an even bigger social impact, a new part of IKEA Social Entrepreneurship's strategy includes partnering with large-scale scalable social businesses. These collaborations allow partners to manage large production volumes and involve local communities. With Saitex for example, we are able to co-create a range of sustainable products, in the process creating jobs for persons with disabilities in Vietnam.
In Vietnam, people with different abilities are hidden and not heard. Our society still has no solution to the employment and inclusion of the differently-abled people that make up 15% of the world’s population. IKEA is huge, but it’s a humane and value-driven organisation. If this collaboration succeeds, then we have created a future formula for success that potentially could be replicated in other factories. Imagine what a huge, massive dent we together would create on this matter.
Sanjeev Bahl, founder and CEO of Saitex
Another example can be found in Russia where Artel Blazhennikh operates, a social entrepreneur producing handmade products from wood waste and providing jobs for people with physical and mental disabilities.
Within the partnership, it is the ambition to establish relations with Russia’s government in order to challenge legislation to improve the conditions for people with disabilities. When successful, the social impact will be great and serve as an inspiring example of inclusion and systematic change for other to follow.