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12 May 2021

IKEA adopts Progress Flag for IDAHOT


To mark this year’s International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT) on 17 May, Ingka Group is adopting the Progress Flag, sharing a set of actionable tips for how people can be stronger allies to the LGBT+ community, and continuing to donate a percentage of sales from the STORSTOMMA rainbow bag to local LGBT+ organisations.

The “Progress is Made” IDAHOT campaign recognizes that progress is difficult, and that it requires work, guts and imagination.  
 
“Progress is made – together,” says Peter List, Equality, Diversity & Inclusion, Ingka Group. “We have come a long way already. But more progress needs to be made. Not just by other people. By all of us. Right here. Today.” 

Indeed, by adopting the Progress Flag Ingka Group wants to recognize the need to be inclusive of the many identities within the LGBT+ community. The Progress Flag was designed by artist Daniel Quasar in 2018. To illustrate more inclusivity, the flag includes black and brown stripes to represent LGBT+ communities of colour, as well as pink, light blue and white to represent transgender pride.

“Important to realize”, says Sara Del Fabbro, CEO of IKEA South East Europe (Serbia, Romania, Croatia, Ukraine, and Slovenia), “is that sexual orientation and gender identity are not the only elements of a person’s identity that matter.” 

Sara says some people may face additional discrimination because of their race, ethnicity, social class, religion, physical and mental ability, etc. “To us, flying the Progress Flag is more than symbolic,” she says. “We know progress still needs to be made so that all people within the LGBT+ community are treated equally and included.”

To emphasize this point, this year’s campaign features people with many different identities from within the LGBT+ community. 

Become a stronger LGBT+ ally
Equally important, the Progress is Made campaign features a set of actionable tips all can adopt in order to become stronger allies for the LGBT+ community. For instance to:

  • speak out if you hear discriminatory language
  • share your personal pronouns (she, they, him) on work email or on social media profiles to make discussions around gender identity more commonplace
  • get involved to support local LGBT+ organisations

Ingka Group and LGBT+ inclusion
IKEA is committed to creating a fair and equal workplace, for everyone no matter gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, race, nationality or disability. 
Ulrika Biesèrt, People & Culture Manager, Ingka Group, says, “No matter who you are, you are welcome, and you will be treated fairly and equally. As a humanistic purpose-led company, we support our LGBT+ co-workers’ right to be themselves. And we want to contribute to a positive change in all areas of our business and society.”

For example, here are a few markets where LGBT+ progress has been made over the past year:

  • IKEA in Serbia has come out in support of pending legislation that recognizes same sex unions
  • IKEA Australia designated gender-neutral bathroom spaces to help our co-workers and customers feel safe, comfortable and accepted at IKEA. 
  • IKEA in Hungary has signed up for a civil initiative in defense of same-sex parenthood in the country together with many other companies.
  • IKEA US received a perfect score from Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s index of LGBT+ friendly workplaces.
  • IKEA Switzerland will donate 1 CHF per STORSTOMMA bag to the organization “Ehe für alle”, which means Marriage for Everyone. It is the most visible organization in Switzerland advocating for the LGBT+ community’s right to marry. A new referendum will be held on same sex marriage in the fall of 2021.
  • IKEA in Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic promoted LGBT+ rights with STORSTOMMA rainbow bag selling out in all three countries and a percentage of proceeds going to local organisations. 
  • IKEA France signed a partnership with L’Autre Cercle, a non-profit organisation promoting LGBT+ inclusion in the workplace

Furthermore, here are a few examples of progress Ingka Group has made on the global level in recent years:

  • We recently launched our global Transgender Inclusion Toolkit for managers that includes a global guideline for creating a trans-inclusive workplace and trans-inclusive teams. 
  • We have a global LGBT+ inclusion plan, ensuring that our entire company creates a workplace and environment that welcomes people of all sexual orientations and gender identities. We want our co-workers to be able to bring their whole self to work. 
  • We continue to offer training for our co-workers about inclusion, unconscious bias and LGBT+ issues to make sure they are allies too. 
  • We are proud members of Open for Business in 2020, a business coalition for advancing LGBT+ inclusion and providing a response to the growing backlash against LGBT+ inclusion in many parts of the world. 
  • We have sold over 3.5 million rainbow bags in 26 countries since 2019, with a portion of the profits going to LGBT+ organisations.
  • In 2020, we made a global business commitment to racial equality, which includes increasing ethnic, racial and national diversity at all levels of leadership in 30 countries, by 2024. 

Show support with your wallet
Customers can do their part to show support for a world where everyone can feel at home with this rainbow-coloured carrier bag and join the over 3.5 million proud bag carriers around the world. Since 2019, STORSTOMMA has been sold in over 26 countries, with a portion of proceeds go directly to local LGBT+ organisations fighting for equality.
 
Or they can get loud and proud with our new ENEBY speaker cover, inspired by one of our LGBT+ co-workers in Japan. He took two portable ENEBY speakers and pasted thin cloth stripes of different colours on them, giving the speakers beautiful rainbow fronts in support of pride. The rainbow front for ENEBY he fixed up in 2019 is now being sold in 33 IKEA markets, albeit with a difference. The new range of limited edition sleekly designed Bluetooth ENEBY speakers come with rainbow front panels for a limited period.
 

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