Sweden’s Ikea wants to triple the number of jobs created in vulnerable communities by 2025 by scaling up its social entrepreneurship business.
Having collaborated with social entrepreneurs since 2012, the furniture giant has provided work for about 30,000 people, impacting almost 150,000 family members. It now wants to reach 95,000 jobs by working with existing and new partners, according to a statement.
The initiative supports marginalized groups and women in vulnerable communities, helping them make products such as hand-woven cushion covers, baskets and carpets. Ikea supplies them with affordable materials including cotton and banana fiber, and provides expertise ranging from design and production to improving working conditions. The aim is to promote financial independence and potentially life-changing opportunities.
The handcrafted products, which also include plant pots and tool bags, are then sold in Ikea warehouses and online. Its partners include social entrepreneur Rangsutra in India and the Jordan River Foundation, which employs female refugees. Both make cushion covers.
“I’m very proud of what we’ve accomplished, but I know that we can do much more,” said Vaishali Misra, who runs the Ikea Social Entrepreneurs Initiative. “By doing this on a high scale, we could also inspire other retailers to do the same.”