IKEA: zero tolerance for child labour

Our Bureau | | Updated on: Mar 27, 2015

Swedish home furnishings major IKEA may still be waiting to enter India, but its philanthropic arm, Ikea Foundation, has completed 15 years of its presence here tackling the scourge of child labour.

Project funding

“IKEA has zero tolerance for child labour in their supply chain… and our social initiatives grew from IKEA’s efforts…Today, we support projects across 46 countries that change attitudes towards child labour and provide education and healthcare so children and families can break the cycle of poverty,” said Jonathan Spampinato, Head of Communications & Strategic Planning, IKEA Foundation, who was here recently.

He said Ikea Foundation, the sixth largest private foundation in Europe, started funding projects in India 15 years ago with focus on child labour.

“We are focussing on projects on education of child labour. With our partners, such as Unicef and Save the Children, we form child protection committees, undertake teacher training and also monitor labour law compliance,” he added.

In India, the foundation has donated over €170 million for children’s and women’s causes and works with 12 partners, such as Lila Poonawala Foundation, Development Alternatives, Ajeevika Bureau, Pradan, Ashoka and Landesa across 19 States.

Investment plans

Asked if the company continues to source from supply chains that use child labour, Spampinato said, “I am with the foundation, not the company, which has a policy that suppliers have to conform to. However, there is no way to make sure that there aren’t any violations.”

IKEA has already announced plans to invest ₹12,500 crore in India and set up 25 stores over the next decade. It has around 50 suppliers in the country.

Published on March 27, 2015
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