Ingka Group announced today that it will approach 500 businesses with the aim to inspire the private sector to accelerate the labor integration of refugees. Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Ingka Group CEO Jesper Brodin said the company was also sharing their lessons learned in a toolkit to support and inspire more businesses to open pathways to decent work.
“The human tragedy in Ukraine has put a spotlight on a global refugee crisis that has been building for years,” Brodin said. “While we know that short-term emergency relief is important, and we’re doing what we can, our overall aim is to create lasting positive impact for all refugees no matter where they come from. Long-term commitment and partnerships are crucial, which is why we now encourage more companies to join us.”
The “Skills for Employment Toolkit: A how-to guide for opening pathways to decent work for refugees,” features a 7-step process, learnings and tips Ingka Group has gathered over the years. It’s meant to act as a catalyst that inspires and encourages companies to do the meaningful work of integrating refugees into the workforce.
“Our ambition is to lead with action, and we know that refugees bring a breadth of skills, experience and perspectives that benefit societies and businesses. Helping people find work isn’t just a humanitarian effort. It’s good for business,” Brodin said.
UNHCR shares new refugee facts
Millions of people around the world are forced to flee their countries because of war, persecution, or conflict. Now, due to Ukraine and other conflicts, UNHCR says the number of forcibly displaced total over 100 million for the first time in modern history. And due to various barriers in accessing the labor market in their new host countries, refugees tend to have higher levels of unemployment and can face negative misconceptions.
Hamdi Ulukaya, CEO of Chobani and Founder of the Tent Partnership for Refugees, a global network of over 220 businesses committed to integrating refugees, said: “As Europe faces its biggest refugee crisis since the Second World War, Tent is incredibly proud to partner with Ingka Group to ensure businesses continue to step up for refugees and to make the case that by hiring, training, and helping integrate refugees in their new communities, we all stand to benefit.”
Since 2019, different IKEA related entities have been working systematically to create a better every day and improve the long-term prospects for as many refugees as possible.
Ingka Group has committed to supporting 2,500 refugees by the end of 2022. The goal is to improve their skills to gain employment inside or outside of the business. Participants receive 3-6 months of training. After that refugees and asylum seekers are invited to apply for existing vacancies. Ingka Group’s Skills for Employment initiative has so far supported more than 1,400 refugees in 24 countries to gain new local language skills and work experience, either with IKEA or other companies.
The company said it planned to approach 500 businesses before the UN’s Global Refugee Forum at the end of 2023 by speaking directly with Ingka Group suppliers and teaming up with partners like UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and the Tent Partnership for Refugees.
Brodin said: “Now more than ever, it’s critical that companies, society and governments work together open doors to jobs, which is a key aspect of the integration and development of people. We need to take action now. Together, we can prove that inclusive growth and positive social impact go hand in hand.”
On June 20, World Refugee Day, Ingka Group will also bring together leaders from multinational companies, participants from the Skills for Employment Initiative, and partners from UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and Tent Partnership for Refugees for a ONE HOME, ONE PLANET Dialogue. This will be an action-oriented discussion around barriers and opportunities on how to accelerate refugee labor market integration.
Read more about the Skills for Employment initiative and download the full toolkit: “Skills for Employment Toolkit: A how-to guide for opening pathways to decent work for refugees.”