Doi Tung artisan

The new products securing ongoing income opportunities in Jordan and Thailand

In January, three new social business products appeared in IKEA stores around the world, with the social impact for artisans and communities in Amman and Chiang Rai.

For five years now, IKEA Social Entrepreneurship has partnered with Jordan River Foundation and Doi Tung Development Projects in Thailand has been a partner since 2007. The Doi Tung social enterprise has transformed thousands of lives for people in the area known as the Golden Triangle – once an opium-growing region. Opium cultivation and trafficking stripped the mountainsides and destabilised local communities, but over time, initiatives like the Doi Tung Development Project have helped people secure safe and secure income and rejuvenate forested areas. Today more than 1,700 households in 29 villages have a better economic situation due to our social business partnership.  

SAGOGRYN handcrafted, ceramic plant pots 

The SAGOGRYN plant pots from Doi Tung, designed in collaboration with Akanksha Deo, feature partial glazing, combining the raw characteristics of the material with a deep glossy colour so that each pot has a unique expression. Selling through the global IKEA footprint helps Doi Tung operate at scale and create jobs in an area with few alternatives.  

“I hope that you, like me, are proud that the production helps give vulnerable people the opportunity to earn a living.”  
- Akanksha Deo, IKEA designer 
Ceramicist removing SAGOGRYN molding at Doi Tung, Thailand
Ceramicist removing SAGOGRYN molding at Doi Tung, Thailand

SMÅFROSSÖRT & SANDSENAP handstitched cushions 

Two striking black and white cushion covers from Jordan River Foundation are newly available. Once again, artisans’ initials highlight the personal impact of these products. As the IKEA business expands its social business product portfolio it not only grows in accordance with our fair and equal ambitions, but assures jobs for people in vulnerable locations and situations, and provides customers with beautiful home-furnishing products. 

As the partnership with Jordan River Foundation matures, we’ve seen improvements in production processes and volumes increase, which leads to more stable incomes for more people. Despite the challenges during the Covid-19 pandemic, Jordan River Foundation has scaled up and are now employing over 1,000 people, with over 370 of them producing IKEA products. 
SMÅFROSSÖRT & SANDSENAP handstitched cushions
SMÅFROSSÖRT and SANDSENAP handstitched cushions

Social cohesion, self-esteem and independence   

Jordan River Foundation continues to create economic opportunities for women refugees from Syria, and local, low-income Jordanian women, fostering cross-cultural understanding, self-confidence and financial independence. Supporting both groups in the integrated initiative helps build and empower the community and improves wellbeing. 

The recent JRF Social Impact Report from October 2022 surveyed 164 of 377 workers and found almost 93% reported an increase in household income after they began working with JRF. Given 83% reported that they used to struggle to meet their households’ basic needs, the additional income is critical. 42% of those who were struggling reported that their job opportunity with JRF meant they no longer had to lean on loans or take on debts to cope financially. 

More than 80% of the women surveyed said that they could now sustain themselves financially and support their partners and families, contributing to rent and reducing the tension caused by unpaid bills. 14% also reported an ability to offer better educational opportunities for their children. 

In more extensive interviews to measure significant personal change, stories emerged about women, sometimes suffering war trauma, outcast by divorce or recovering from physical injury, who had begun to build back their lives. 

The success of new social business products provides momentum to further drive change and deliver the shared prosperity integral to the IKEA vision and the aims of the Jordan River Foundation. 

“I can now afford to buy things that were considered luxuries before, like new clothes for my kids to wear at Eid.”  
- Zakeya Taher, Syrian worker at Jordan River Foundation 
Jordan River Foundation artisan hand-stitching SMÅFROSSÖRT cushion cover
Jordan River Foundation artisan hand-stitching SMÅFROSSÖRT cushion cover