IKEA is a home goods retailer with example corporate social responsibility programs that we can all learn from. Let’s take a closer look at what IKEA is doing to have a positive impact on our world.
Children, in many parts of the world, face enormous obstacles to their quality of life. War, poverty, and food insecurity are all especially hard on children. One problem affecting nearly all the world’s children is that they just don’t get to play much anymore. Children learn social skills and begin to discover their natural talents and interests through play. Today’s society places strain and pressure on children to succeed from an early age. Children are saddled with responsibility, in many cases before they are ready. It is not just children in the developing world who need more play time and less stress. The entire world is becoming a more stressful place each day.
Let Them Play
IKEA decided to do something about this issue. For every book and toy sold in its stores during each holiday season, IKEA donates one Euro to causes that support children’s play and development. This way children are able to spend more time doing what children should be doing-playing, being outside, learning about their world and making new friends. In a world where children are pushed into adulthood too soon, IKEA helps reclaim the power of play.
Giving money to children’s play causes is a great example corporate social responsibility goal. But these are not the only causes IKEA supports through CSR. The retailer also partners with the United Nations Brighter Lives for Refugees program. Many parts of the world still do not have access to electricity. Families are forced to live their lives in the dark, once the sun goes down. This affects safety, education, and quality of life. Families must use kerosene lamps, fires, or other means to light their dwellings. Students find it hard to focus on their studies if they cannot see their books. Even sitting down for a family dinner can be an ordeal. Again, IKEA partners with the UN and its campaign to increase access to renewable energy lighting. The lives of families in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East are all impacted.
Bringing Back Forests, Improving Livelihoods
IKEA even has another example corporate social responsibility program in place. It helps with reforestation efforts in areas frequented by refugees. Refugees cut down trees to provide cooking and heating fuel, decimating forests in the process. Bringing back trees helps balance the ecosystem in Myanmar and other areas. And in Thailand, IKEA helps create sustainable livelihoods for rural artisans. IKEA sells limited edition collections created by the artisans in some of its stores.
IKEA is known for its home goods, but its CSR efforts make it so much more. The company helps children get back to playing, provides lighting for refugee and other poor families, and helps with reforestation efforts in different parts of the world. IKEA is an example we can all learn from.
Doi Trung, a social enterprise partner of IKEA from Thailand, talks about their partnership with IKEA to create sustainable livelihoods for the artisans living in the community.