In addition to bringing furniture and housewares to the masses, IKEA is on a mission to create jobs around the world. The popular Swedish furniture company has ambitious plans to expand the workforce in Jordan, beginning with the opening of production centers in the country's refugee camps this summer.
According to Dezeen, the main purpose of this massive employment initiative lies within IKEA's plans to employ a mixture of 100 Syrian refugees and Jordanian citizens, giving them jobs in the production of woven goods while empowering their future employees through sustainable living practices. After two years, the company expects that number to increase to 200, and then eventually to 200,000 in the next 10 to 15 years. IKEA's head of range and supply Jesper Brodin says that the ultimate plan is for these employees to become suppliers for the company.
"We offer a business model, learning opportunities, simple skills around how to plan production and set yourself up for export," Brodin told Dezeen. "Those things are part of the package."
To accomplish this almighty feat, IKEA is relying on the help of social entrepreneurs who specialize in utilizing business practices that address social, cultural and environmental issues. Additional support comes from the Jordan River Foundation, which will take on managerial duties at the production facilities. In the meantime, the company intends to send a design team to Jordan to develop potential products that will their public debut in the IKEA store located in the country's capital Amman before hitting shelves around the world.
"If you want to change the world, you have to be able to scale ideas," Brodin added. "If you want to scale ideas to create good, you need to have the big companies with you. I think today there is a broad understanding that that needs to happen."