Biggest step in IKEA history taken to support integration of refugees by 2022

Global Refugee Forum 2019
Global Refugee Forum 2019

IKEA today announced new commitments across its value chain for refugees at the first Global Refugee Forum in Geneva, Switzerland:

  • Ingka Group plans to support 2,500 refugees through job training and language skills initiatives in 300 stores and units in 30 countries.
  • Inter IKEA Group will create sustainable livelihood for 400 women through its partnership with Jordan River Foundation.
  • The IKEA Foundation commits EUR 100 million in grants over the next five years for programmes that help refugees and their hosting communities improve their incomes and become more self-reliant.

IKEA Retail (Ingka Group), Inter IKEA Group and IKEA Foundation have committed to different actions in the coming years that will help to advance the integration of refugees in society. The common standpoint is that IKEA believes that refugees with their skills and experiences bring value to business and society.

“Great things are achieved when people work together towards a common goal. That’s why everyone – business, government, individual, NGOs – needs to be involved and work together to create a fairer and more inclusive society where everyone, including refugees, can have a better everyday life”, said Tolga Öncu, IKEA Retail Operations Manager, Ingka Group.

Ingka Group plans to support 2,500 refugees through job training and language skills initiatives in 300 IKEA stores and units in 30 countries by 2022. Since 2017, 90 IKEA stores in 11 countries have supported refugees.

“Work is a key driver for integration into society. With this initiative we play an important role in equipping and qualifying refugees to get a job and build their own connections in the local communities. Collaborating with refugees brings new skills, diversity and different perspectives to our business”, said Tolga Öncu.

The Inter IKEA Group contribution to the refugee commitment started with the partnership with Jordan River Foundation in 2017. The partnership co-creates and develops IKEA textile products produced by refugee and local women in Jordan.

“We are now taking the next step with this partnership. Ingka Group’s commitment to sell not only single products, but entire collections, in all countries will make it possible to create sustainable livelihood for even more women, going from today’s 250 to 400 women in the coming years. IKEA commits to scaling the initiative through a clear focus in all parts of IKEA – from developing the partner and the range offer, to a clear focus in sales”, said Vaishali Misra, Business Leader IKEA Social Entrepreneurs, IKEA of Sweden/Inter IKEA Group.

The IKEA Foundation has committed EUR 100 million in grants over the next five years for programmes that help refugees and their hosting communities improve their incomes and become more self-reliant. The IKEA Foundation and its partners will work in both urban and rural areas to improve people’s employment and entrepreneurship opportunities, to improve agricultural value chains, and to increase the use of renewable energy in homes and businesses—all of which will contribute to refugees and host communities earning an income their families can thrive on.

Per Heggenes, CEO of the IKEA Foundation stated: “Record number of people are being forcibly displaced from their homes and 80 percent of the world’s refugees are being hosted in neighboring countries. Many of these countries are already struggling with high levels of unemployment, making it even more difficult for refugees and their host communities to coexist peacefully. We are supporting programmes that help both people who have been forced to flee as well as the communities hosting them to develop the skills and resources they need to earn a better income, to find employment, or to start their own businesses.”