IKEA Social Entrepreneurship has partnered with Yunus Social Business to improve the working conditions and livelihoods of informal waste workers, as well as the broader waste sector, in India. Our grant to the Yunus Social Business will be used to pilot, along with WASTE and SIDA, the setup of the Take-a-Stake 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.
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 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.
By plugging the funding gap, we hope to attract more backers and turn our investment into a larger fund to support more social enterprises.