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Better lives

Respecting human rights

We are committed to promoting and supporting a world where human rights are a reality for all. We put respect for human rights at the heart of our business, integrating it into our strategies, policies and processes.  

Our respect for human rights encompasses our co-workers, customers, workers in our supply chain and our neighbours – in fact, everyone our business touches. 

Our approach

The Ingka Group Policy on Human Rights and Equality is at the heart of our approach. We updated and expanded it in FY21, to be clearer for co-workers on our focus areas and the outcomes we expect to achieve, and to align with international standards.   

Potential human rights risks: We have identified a range of potential human rights risks for our industry, including modern slavery and forced labour, low wages, undocumented cash wages, excessive hours, unsafe working conditions, harassment, and threats to freedom of association rights. Human rights risks are integrated into our Ingka Group risk management processes, and our approach is governed by our Sustainability Committee, chaired by our Chief Financial Officer and deputy CEO, Juvencio Maetzu.  For more on how we manage risks in our supply chain, see Better Company section.

Key policies: To mitigate human rights risks in our business, we apply our Human Rights Policy and the IKEA Employment Standards. In our supply chain, we monitor compliance with the standards set out in IWAY – the IKEA supplier code of conduct. Our Sustainability Risk & Verification team perform verification activities against our IWAY Standard. Read more in the Better Company section.

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Grievance mechanisms: Co-workers who have any human rights concerns can raise them through our internal grievance mechanism, Trustline. Together with Inter IKEA, we are working on developing a grievance mechanism for external stakeholders such as suppliers, partners and communities.   

Equality lies at the core of human rights. We believe that all people should be treated fairly and given equal opportunities, whatever their background or identity. Read more about our approach to equality, diversity and inclusion here.

Aligning to international standards

 Our approach to human rights is guided by well-established international standards. This starts with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and its two corresponding covenants, The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which form the basis of our approach.  

We pay special attention to children’s rights, women’s rights and the rights of people belonging to under-represented and marginalised groups, as outlined in international conventions including: 

  • the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child 
  • the UN Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women 
  • the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination 
  • the International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. 

Our commitment to workers’ rights is based on the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work. 

Our approach to human rights in our business is also aligned to:  

  • the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights 
  • the Children’s Rights and Business Principles 
  • the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises 
  • the UN Global Compact, including the UN Women’s Empowerment Principles  
  • the Gender Guidance to the UNGPs 
  • the UN Standards of Conduct for Tackling Discrimination against LGBTI people. 

We comply with applicable laws in the countries where we operate. When these laws are not aligned with international human rights standards, we strive to find the best way forward to secure that the essence of the rights reflected in these international human rights standards is still respected.  

Progress and challenges in FY21

In FY21, we: 

  • Updated our Ingka Group Policy on Human Rights and Equality, with more detail on our policy standpoints and focus areas, and clearer links to external human rights standards. In FY22, we will be launching the policy to co-workers, raising awareness of the policy through training for all co-workers, and developing more detailed guidance for people in key functions.  
  • Submitted an action pledge to the International Labour Organization (ILO) and Alliance 8.7 (a global partnership to tackle modern slavery and child labour), committing alongside Inter IKEA Group to further strengthen child rights in the IKEA supply chain in support of the UN’s designation of 2021 as the International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour. 
  • Rolled out our principles for child participation and safeguarding to our markets 
  • Launched our standards for gig economy workers to protect people working via digital platform companies in our supply chain. 

We continually assess the human rights impacts of our business activities. This is an ongoing process in which we are always willing to learn and develop our approach. We know there is always more we can do to ensure respect for human rights across our business and throughout our value chain. 

Kids are playing together

Priorities for the future

We will further strengthen our human rights due diligence processes, and launch a grievance mechanism for external stakeholders and suppliers.

Respecting and supporting children’s rights

Our business touches the lives of children through our products, stores, marketing and supply chain.  

We’re committed to being a child-friendly retailer. We always try to act in the best interest of the children and families that come into contact with our business and have zero tolerance for any form of child abuse.

Our approach

Children’s rights are one of the key areas in our updated Ingka Group Policy on Human Rights and Equality. Our approach is based on the Children’s Rights and Business Principles, developed by Save the Children, the UN Global Compact and UNICEF.  

We look at all aspects of our business from a child’s rights perspective, and our key commitments include: 

  • Ensuring that our stores and meeting places are child-friendly 
  • Working with Inter IKEA to ensure that our products for children are safe  
  • Preventing misleading, exploitative, discriminatory, or aggressive marketing and communication practices towards children.  
  • Never tolerating any form of child or forced labour, modern slavery or mistreatment of workers. 
  • Supporting fair work for young workers, parents and caregivers. 

In the retail business, the risk of child labour in direct operations is relatively low. However, we make our stance on child labour clear to suppliers through our IWAY Standard on Preventing Child Labour and Supporting Young Workers. Our belief is that young people who are legally able to work should have access to decent employment opportunities, but they should not do hazardous work, night work or overtime. Read more here about IWAY.

Two kids eating ice-cream inside of an IKEA store

What did we do in FY21?

We are rolling out our detailed principles for child participation and safeguarding to ensure a consistent approach to child rights across our business.  

A key focus is how we address and portray children through our marketing and communications. We have developed a set of principles for marketing agencies and production companies to ensure they align with our standards. These state that: 

  • We should never use children to endorse the IKEA brand in a way that is beyond their understanding or control.  
  • We should only use children as spokespersons in relation to their own products – such as the SAGOSKATT range of soft toys designed by children through a yearly drawing competition.  
  • We do not use children as IKEA brand ambassadors to endorse products or services.  

We also continued our support of the Real Play Coalition through our Real Play City Challenge, which has found innovative ways to promote play in cities including London and Dhaka.   

Kid is painting

Winning ideas that support the right to play

Every child has a right to play. It’s how they develop creativity, empathy, self-control and other essential skills. Yet millions of children worldwide – especially in cities – are denied playtime, even though cities have the potential to support children by reclaiming and integrating play into everyday life beyond the playground.  

IKEA is one of the founding members of The Real Play Coalition, a movement dedicated to narrowing the play gap for 100 million children by 2030.  

During FY21 we launched The Real Play City Challenge, a global competition meant to create real impact for children in cities by promoting child-friendly, safe and playful place-making initiatives. It has created six global networks on six continents and uses webinars and masterclasses to help develop winning ideas. 

Highlights in FY21 include: 

  • We launched an online play-idea site together with community platform ChangeX. It led to a pilot project in London, UK, called The Endless Summer of Play, which has reached more than 500,000 children. 
  • In Dhaka, Bangladesh, we’ve supported an initiative by NGO BRAC to set up 101 community-based Play Labs for children aged 0-5 years, with plans to scale up to reach hundreds of schools nationally.  

Going further, faster on children's rights

There is no time to waste when it comes to protecting the rights of children. In April 2021, together with Inter IKEA, we submitted an action pledge to accelerate efforts to strengthen child rights in the IKEA supply chain. The pledge was made to the International Labour Organization (ILO) and Alliance 8.7 (a global partnership to tackle modern slavery and child labour), in support of the UN’s designation of 2021 as the International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour. 

The IKEA 2021 Action Pledge, strengthens our efforts on child rights in three areas:  

  • Further integrating children’s rights into the existing IKEA due diligence system 
  •  Accelerating the work to promote decent work for young workers
  • Partnering up to increase and scale efforts  

Protecting workers' rights in a changing world

Many people working in global supply chains experience unfair and unsafe working conditions. This is not acceptable. We will play our part in protecting the human rights of the workers in our supply chain, just as we respect the rights of our own co-workers. 

Our approach

We work with suppliers and service providers to ensure that environmental, social, and working conditions are secured and respected in our supply chain through IWAY, our supplier code of conduct.

IWAY is based on internationally-recognised standards and principles for human rights, environmental protection and worker health and safety, as well as on IKEA values and legal compliance. Read more about our IWAY standard and details of our work on managing environmental and social risks in our supply chain.

Our Guidelines on Responsible Recruitment are designed to help our suppliers and service providers reduce modern slavery risks, including the risk of people being forced or bonded into labour, having their passports taken away or becoming trapped by large recruitment fees. We have trained our procurement and sustainability compliance teams on the Guidelines.  

We know that in a rapidly changing society as employment practices change, we may need to adapt our approach to continue to protect workers in our supply chain. We continually assess and respond to these trends to ensure IWAY remains relevant and effective.  

Picture of a women inside of a warehouse

What did we do in FY21?

We’ve developed new IWAY standards for digital platform companies in our supply chain that use gig economy workers. Digital platforms are businesses that connect independent contractors with customers that need their services such as home delivery, assembly and installation. There is a risk that these workers may not be covered by national employment and social protections, as they don’t have conventional employment contracts. The IWAY standards mean that digital platform companies must put measures in place to respect rights such as minimum wages, working hours, grievance processes and freedom of association. They also include measures to prevent forced labour, child labour and discrimination, and require platform companies to pay for any uniforms and marketing equipment that workers are required to use.  

We piloted our new IWAY standards for gig economy workers with 10 suppliers, including TaskRabbit, one of our subsidiaries. In FY22, we will begin rolling out the standards to all digital platform companies in our direct supply chain, through the IWAY process. These businesses provide services for our customers in around 20 countries. We have also trained our sustainability teams and reviewers on the new standard in all countries.  

In FY21, we did not identify any cases of child labour or modern slavery in the Ingka Group supply chain.  

Read more about IWAY and how we applied our IWAY standards in our supply chain.

screws together an ikea product

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