Global Citizen is a community of people like you

People who want to learn about and take action on the world’s biggest challenges. Extreme poverty ends with you.

Citizenship

Ikea to Sell Rugs & Textiles Made by Syrian Refugees, Joins List of Companies Stepping Up

Lights illuminate an Ikea logo above the Ikea. Photographer: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Ikea is joining the ranks of Starbucks, Uber, Lyft and Airbnb to redefine “corporate social responsibility.” 

Beginning in 2019, the Swedish multinational furniture, home and appliance conglomerate will roll out a line of rugs and textiles all made by Syrian refugees.

“The situation in Syria is a major tragedy of our time, and Jordan has taken a great responsibility in hosting Syrian refugees," said Jesper Brodin, a managing director at Ikea, according to CNN Money. "We decided to look into how Ikea can contribute.”

The initiative is expected to create jobs for 200 Syrian refugees, mostly women, currently living in Jordan, a country that has welcomed more Syrians fleeing violence than any other country.

Jordan has accepted over 655,000 refugees and issued 37,000 work permits to Syrian refugees, although another 160,000 Syrians are working illegally. 

Among women, the unemployment rate is exceptionally low.

Ikea stated that it will work with local organizations to ensure flexible work hours for women.

All products will be sold locally and in other Middle Eastern countries that hold free trade agreements with Jordan.

The upcoming line of rugs and textiles was already in the works before United States President Donald Trump signed an executive order banning immigrants from seven majority-Muslims countries for 90 days, along with an indefinite hold on admitting Syrian refugees.

Read More: Mr. President, We Don't Support Your Policy on Refugees

This is not the first time Ikea has stood up for humanitarian rights in light of the Syrian civil war.

Last October, Ikea built a stunningly realistic replica resembling an actual home in war-torn Damascus to bring awareness to the crisis, drawing 80,000 visitors to the installation, according to CNN. Both an experience and a campaign, the small concrete home raised more than $23 million for the Red Cross’s efforts in Syria.

In 2016, the Ikea Foundation and the United Nations received a design-of-the-year award for developing a flat-pack refugee shelter. The Better Shelter is large enough to house a family of five, is made from recyclable plastic, can be assembled in a few hours and includes a solar panel to provide light and power.

The shelter has been included in the permanent collection of New York City’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and the majority have been distributed as temporary homes in refugee or internally displaced persons camps in countries throughout Africa, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

As in the past, Ikea went one step further in their new initiative for 2019. 

In an open letter to employees after the ban was ordered, Ikea’s country manager for the US, Lars Petersson, said that Ikea will be "committed to supporting impacted co-workers and their immediate families by providing FREE legal advice from experienced licensed attorneys.”