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In the News

Inspiring support for Syrian refugees at Ikea

Penny Brooks

31st January 2017

Ikea operate in 52 countries around the world, including Jordan in the Middle East. They also have a very strong approach to CSR, with the Ikea Foundation aiming "... to improve opportunities for children and youth in some of the world’s poorest communities".

An article in the FT this morning reported on one of their latest projects; they are going to provide jobs for hundreds of Syrian refugees in Jordan making handwoven rugs and textiles, making it one of the first multinationals to support an initiative to provide jobs to people displaced by Syria’s civil war.

Initial production will be on a small scale, and Ikea said it would focus at first on selling products to other Middle Eastern countries with which Jordan already has free-trade agreements. They are working with an NGO in Jordan to run the project through its “Social Entrepreneurs Initiative”, which supports artisans around the world. It is worth noting that last year, as part of the refugee deal, the EU simplified its rules of origin regulation, making it easier to export goods to the bloc if they have a “made in Jordan label”, which enables Ikea to say that it might at a later date consider selling these products made by the refugees to other countries, including in the EU.

Jesper Brodin, range and supply manager at Ikea, said that it would probably take the company 18 to 24 months to bring products to market, and aims to begin producing by the end of the year.

This is by no means their first involvement with improving the lot of refugees. Last autumn a flat-pack refugee shelter developed by Ikea and the United Nations was awarded as the best design of 2016 an award presented by the Design Museum in London. Each structure is large enough to house a family of five, and includes a solar panel to power lights and charge devices. Since production started in 2015, 16,000 units have been delivered to countries around the world including Iraq, Djibouti, Greece and Niger, to be used as homes, temporary clinics and offices. This item from Ikea's website tells the story.

The Ikea Better Shelters, with solar powered light, a door, and a lock to keep the refugees safe

Penny Brooks

Formerly Head of Business and Economics and now Economics teacher, Business and Economics blogger and presenter for Tutor2u, and private tutor

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