We want to create a positive impact for everyone across our value chain and beyond, and that means supporting the neighbourhoods in which we operate and where our co-workers and customers live. Everyone deserves a better home, a better life and a better planet.
We’ve worked in partnerships with community organisations for many years to find solutions to local social and environmental challenges and to have a lasting positive impact on our communities.
We’re always looking to improve our approach, bringing together our co-workers and communities and sharing what we learn to keep getting better. Our focus areas in FY21, were:
- Emergency Community Support – being there to help when emergencies or crises have an impact on the lives of our neighbours
- A Place Called Home – co-creating new partnerships to help people who don’t have a safe and secure place to call home
- Skills for Employment – providing opportunities for skills development and work experience for refugees, migrants, people with disabilities, young people and women outside the labour market to help them make the move to independence
- Working with social businesses – integrating social enterprises into our Ingka Group supply chain, to give people access to income opportunities and provide last mile services to our customers.
Progress and challenges in FY21
Key achievements in FY21 include:
- reaching more than 1 million people through our social impact programmes
- implementing our A Place Called Home initiative in 30 countries
- reaching 802 refugees and asylum seekers through skills for development programmes in 22 countries in FY21
- partnerships with 39 social entrepreneurs in 15 countries.
We faced challenges in expanding some of our programmes due to the pandemic and lockdowns in some of our markets.
Over the years, we’ve been able to support millions of people through our community and emergency programmes, including Place Called Home. We aim to further increase that impact. During FY21, we developed a new, over-arching approach to creating long-lasting social impact in our neighbourhoods, with input from more than 200 stakeholders including co-workers, leaders, community experts and existing partners.
The Ingka Group Neighbourhoods framework will help us secure the right projects and partnerships to deliver social impact through our business, and will focus on three main elements:
- How we co-create social impact through the business
- How we measure our business’s social impact
- How we organise ourselves at Ingka to deliver social impact through the business.
We will further develop this framework during FY22 through pilot projects and will be developing indicators to better measure the social impact of our programmes and track the number of people we have supported. We’ll also be looking to strengthen our governance and management processes and build capacity and competence in our teams to ensure we deliver the most impactful programmes. We aim to roll out the new approach in all markets from FY23.
Progress against targets
Support at least 2,500 refugees by the end of 2022 through job training and language skills initiatives in Ingka Group units across 30 countries
We reached 802 refugees through skills for development programmes in 22 countries in FY21. Since FY20 we have reached 847 refugees, and we are on track to reach our target.
All Ingka Group retail countries will develop products or services from local social businesses by 2025
Not On Track
We partnered with 39 social entrepreneurs in 15 countries. This includes textile collections, sewing services, and last-mile services. The number of countries actively partnering with social businesses has decreased compared to FY20 (18 countries) and the number of partnerships has remained flat as we review our overall ways of working with social entrepreneurs. We aim to increase the number of partnerships and countries by standardising the way our retail countries initiate and maintain these partnerships.
Use our Covid Emergency Fund Euro 26m to help people affected by the pandemic
We invested EUR 24.5 million in FY20 to support Covid relief efforts. This money continued to have an impact in FY21 through our Place Called Home programme. Over the last two years, we have helped more than 1.5 million people affected by the pandemic.
Responding to emergencies
When an emergency or crisis hits the neighbourhoods where we operate, we aim to give people and communities fast, responsible support. This year, we helped communities dealing with climate-related emergencies, as well as the ongoing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
For example, IKEA co-workers in Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, and China came together to deal with the devastation caused by widespread storms and flooding during the summer of 2021. A unified IKEA response coordinated donations of food, products, space, knowledge, logistic capacity, and services, and co-workers in each territory were supported to ensure they were safe. Taskforces in each area worked to support their neighbourhoods, in collaboration with local government and NGOs.
In Germany, where flooding caused catastrophic damage to homes and infrastructure, ten IKEA stores partnered with the authorities and charities to identify needs and offer support, including providing meals for helpers.
IKEA Netherlands provided food for volunteers and schools around the Zuid-Limburg area after floods affected around 700 homes. In Belgium, where thousands of homes were destroyed and 41 people lost their lives, IKEA Belgium created an emergency fund to support co-workers and local governments.
In China, this year’s typhoon season caused significant devastation. IKEA China worked with the China Women’s Development Foundation as part of the emergency response, donating 1,400 sets of quilts, pillows and towels to women and children affected by the floods.
A Place Called Home
Better homes create better lives – but there are many people in our communities who don’t have a safe and secure place to call home. For many people, the pandemic has exacerbated existing problems – and we want to help them.
Through our initiative, A Place Called Home, we are working with charities, civil society and government organisations in all countries where we operate. Our projects are supporting thousands of children, young people and families experiencing social exclusion and poverty. We’re also working with victims of domestic violence, people experiencing homelessness, refugees and asylum seekers, among others.
We provide product and financial donations and other support to build capacity and find new solutions to help those living without a place they can call home. More than 1 million people benefited from our support during FY21.
Our Place Called Home initiative builds on our work to help people affected by disasters and emergencies, aiming to create transformative, longer-term solutions to the challenges communities face.
We invested EUR 24.5 million in FY20 to support Covid relief efforts. Each country had a share of the fund to work with and this money continued to have an impact in FY21 through Place Called Home.
A Place Called Home stories.
Some of the local stories that took place under the A Place Called Home initiative.
IKEA Italy – Home is more than four walls
IKEA Italy is supporting six organisations that are helping people all across the country who don’t have access to affordable and safe homes. Each organisation is receiving financial support from IKEA Italy as well as support from our local stores. Through the initiative, we are joining forces with local associations and institutions to recover, redevelop and furnish unused spaces and transform them into welcoming places. In Milan, for example, IKEA Italy is working on a project with 30 redeveloped apartments to accommodate families in economic and social difficulty. In Cassino, the initiative has transformed a municipal building into a place of protection and support for women who are victims of violence, adapting it to welcome them and their children. Similar projects are underway in Rome, Catania, Cagliari, and Genoa.
IKEA US – Co-workers get involved to create better homes for a better life
Across the US, there are families experiencing homelessness. We’re partnering with Family Promise, a leading NGO, to furnish and equip new temporary family housing units, with our co-workers on hand to assemble and install the donated products. Family Promise is dedicated to preventing and ending family homelessness, they work in communities around the country, helping families to access emergency accommodation and support to rebuild their lives. Each of the new temporary housing units will be home to several families every year. Each of these families will receive a set of IKEA home furnishings to take with them when they’re able to move on to a permanent new home.
For a safe home campaign - Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia
For many people living with domestic abuse, national lockdowns during the pandemic meant being trapped at home with their abusers. We wanted to be part of the solution by supporting victims of domestic violence, raising awareness of this problem, and using our communications to advocate for change. We created a plan to support victims of domestic violence, and co-workers impacted by it, by working with NGOs and other partners. We supported a campaign which successfully advocated for a change in the law in the Czech Republic to recognise the rights of victims of domestic violence to sheltered accommodation and free legal support. To bring home the impacts of domestic violence to a wider audience, we developed a powerful video, Haunted Home, and audio clips simulating real interactions between abusers and their victims that were used on the radio, and via interactive installations in our stores. IKEA leaders and influencers shared the content on social media using the hashtag #forsafehome, and we directed people to our website where they could find out how to get help. Domestic abuse helplines saw a 50% increase in calls following the campaign.
IKEA India: safe accommodation for migrant workers
Migrant workers on building sites in India often don’t have adequate or safe accommodation, and end up sleeping in shacks or in the buildings that are under construction. It's an acute problem in places like Bangalore, where construction is booming. IKEA India is working with NGOs Sambhav Foundation (LabourNet) and SELCO Foundation to trial an innovative approach to accommodation for migrant construction workers. This will see affordable high-quality modular accommodation being installed for workers in Bangalore, starting with 25 units benefiting 100 workers. The site will run on renewable energy produced through on-site solar panels and the facility has been designed to be easily dismantled and re-deployed at other construction sites. Sambhav Foundation will also run an on-site primary care clinic, which will address the healthcare needs of the workers. We will also be working with our partners to advocate for wider changes in the construction industry in India to ensure workers have access to decent housing.
IKEA Belgium: Decent Homes for single parent families
Forty percent of the people living in poverty in Belgium are single parents. One of the main problems they face is being unable to access a decent place to call home for an affordable price – and places in shelters are in short supply. As part of A Place Called Home, IKEA Belgium is funding its national community engagement strategy, Decent Homes, to team up with regional NGOs which provide shelters to single-parent families and help single parents move from shelters to new homes. IKEA Belgium provides financial support to help the families buy a start-up furniture kit when they start their new life in a new home. As part of its Decent Homes strategy, IKEA Belgium is starting a volunteer programme for co-workers to do paid volunteer work experience with the NGOs who work with single-parent families in shelters.
Smile Up: supporting single mothers in Japan
IKEA Japan is using some of its A Place to Call Home funding to assist Smile Up, an IT skills project for single mothers. The project, run by the Single Mother’s Forum, helps women break the cycle of poverty by building the skills they need to secure good, stable jobs – a response to the fact that single mothers have been among the hardest hit by the pandemic. Smile Up offered 15 single mothers in the Tokyo metropolitan area a six-month IT skills training programme, with additional coaching and employability training. The participants are lent computers and given internet access so they can undertake a training programme in IT literacy. The programme also includes a home furnishing seminar to help participants set up a good work-from-home environment and save money by reducing energy, water and waste. They are all guaranteed an interview with IKEA Japan at the end of their training.
Developing skills for employment
Everyone has talent and potential – but too many people struggle to get into the labour market. We support people who lack skills or experience, or face other barriers, to find work – including within our business, where co-workers from diverse backgrounds can give us new ways to support our customers’ needs and help us tap into new markets.
One of the ways we do this is by integrating refugees into our workplaces – because we know how much value refugees can bring to businesses and communities.
How did we do in FY21?
Our goal is to support 2,500 refugees through job training and language skills initiatives in 30 countries by the end of 2022. We’ve developed three-year integration action plans with local partners and government organisations, providing work experience, training and language skills. The refugee trainees are invited to apply for a job with us at the end of the course.
The pandemic closures disrupted some in-store elements in FY21, but the growth in e-commerce created opportunities in logistics, so we adapted some of our initiatives. By the end of the year we’d reached 802 refugees and asylum seekers in 22 countries, bringing the total number reached since FY20 to 847. On average, 60% of trainees found jobs.
What have we learnt so far?
As we implement the programme, we’re learning all the time. In FY21 we took some time to reflect on what we’ve learnt to date to help us continue to strengthen our programme across our markets. We found that:
- Many co-workers are involved in making this initiative a success. Having one shared social impact goal helps bring teams together across functions and countries.
- Setting up a ‘buddy’ system in which nominated co-workers support trainees is a key factor in the success of the programme. It also enables the buddies to gain new experiences, skills and competencies which contributes to their development and helps to embed positive attitudes to diversity and inclusion.
- It can be more difficult for women to take up trainee opportunities due to cultural barriers and family responsibilities. We are exploring different ways to overcome this challenge, with some countries proactively raising awareness about the opportunities for women through the refugee community and local partners. They have also adjusted the programme to enable wider access, for example, by offering part-time participation. IKEA Switzerland has nearly doubled female representation from 17% to 30% during FY21.
- We need to actively address potential barriers to trainees applying for a permanent role. This includes making sure that our recruiters and hiring managers have the right knowledge, competence and awareness in relation to refugee candidates and ensuring that our digital application tool is not a barrier for people in underrepresented communities.
Changing the narrative on refugees
Refugees’ contributions to society and businesses can be significant. They help strengthen the economy, fulfill labour needs, and counter ageing demographic trends. When refugees have access to their rights, they are better able to integrate and contribute to the economy, paying taxes and buying local products and services as consumers. This can improve social cohesion in the host communities. This year, on World Refugee Day we launched our “changing the narrative” commitment to challenge perceptions about refugees and engage people both inside and outside the company. To create a visible shift in attitudes, we are focused on three main actions:
- Improve awareness and perception of refugees among our co-workers, customers and neighbourhoods
- Inspire the private sector to engage in refugee employment and advocacy
- Advocate for governments to live up to their promises in The 1951 Refugee Convention
Making room for a better world
At our Aleja Bielany meeting place in Wroclaw, visitors can find FOROOM, an intercultural community point both for immigrants and the local people of Wroclaw created to inspire inclusion for all visitors of the meeting place. It’s a space for exchanging ideas, sharing experiences and life stories – all of this, always in an international environment.
Partnering with social entrepreneurs
Helping vulnerable people find income opportunities by integrating social entrepreneurs and social businesses into our retail value chain is an important way to tackle societal challenges while meeting the needs of our business and customers.
Our goal is to develop products or services with social businesses in every Ingka Group market by 2025. We worked with 39 organisations in FY21 in 15 countries. This includes textile collections, sewing services, and last-mile services. The number of countries actively partnering with social businesses has decreased compared to FY20 (18 countries) and the number of partnerships has remained flat as we review our overall ways of working with social entrepreneurs. During FY21, we also developed our standard operating procedure for working with social enterprises and a set of KPIs to make it easier for our markets to develop these important partnerships and monitor their impact.