relation to the stores or in relation to the area surrounding their suppliers’ factories.52 local projects in relation to the stores can be considered the most current focus area.53
The focus on
The main focus areas of IKEA’s CSR efforts54 are the following: product development (Environmental Design: see 22.214.171.124), supplier relations (see 4.5), energy and transport (reduction of energy use in production and transport: 126.96.36.199), geographical expansion (location and sustainable management of store), societal responsibility (code of conduct, partnerships and projects: see 4.5 and 4.6) and leadership and competence development (education of all employees in CSR issues and specialist CSR competence for managers: see 4.7.1).
4.2 CSR as a complement to social vision
All of the interviewees believe that CSR fits perfectly with IKEA’s values and social vision, as stipulated by Ingvar Kamprad in 1976.55 S. Koerfer sees CSR as being vital because it means that the company contributes to more than just selling and purchasing.56 Along the same lines, others see CSR as important as it means that the company makes a contribution to society57, as well as contributes to a better world58. S. Koerfer reasons that one can de facto consider there being a conflict between the aim of selling as much as possible and CSR, but that the fact that IKEA is able to reach as many people as possible with low prices and improve peoples’ living situations (both customers and employees) makes the two issues complementary. In addition to this, IKEA’s strong commitment to CSR in the stores’ operations helps legitimize the continuous “opening of new stores”.59
4.3 CSR – from risk management to a source of competitive advantage
According to A. Gyhlenius, CSR was in the beginning seen as an additional cost that was imperative to manage risk (“brandsläckning”), which was in conflict with the organization’s desire for “low cost at all cost”. Since the initial integration of CSR, through working with the issue and gaining experience IKEA has realized the cost-cutting potential of CSR and in contrast to many companies, IKEA now perceives itself as not having to change its business idea and vision to accommodate CSR, as there is a perfect fit between the two. The motto has changed from “low cost at all cost” to: “low cost, but not at all cost”.60 All of the interviewees that work at IKEA argue that CSR is a central part of its cost consciousness and contributes to the company’s profitability. According to T. Bergmark, there is a perfect combination of profitability and CSR for IKEA in 9 out of 10 cases.61 IKEA’s substantial engagement in CSR initiatives continues to build trust and to reduce risk, which is equally vital today as many journalists see a potential scandal involving IKEA as a “dream scoop”62. CSR creates value for IKEA by encouraging it to be more efficient, reduce resource use and waste and continuously and consistently improve in every aspect of its operations.63 However, over time IKEA sees itself as having learned and challenged itself through the co-operation with its partners (see 4.6) and through gathering experience of CSR. IKEA sees itself in a continuous learning phase when it
52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63
Interview, Fredriksson, Å., 2008-11-10. Interview, Fredriksson, Å., 2008-11-10. Interview, Bergmark, T., 2008-05-26. Interview, Bergmark, T., 2008-05-26. Interview, Koerfer, S., 2008-10-22, Interview, Hrdlickova, I., 2008-12-23 Interview, Fredriksson, Å., 2008-11-10. Interview, Hrdlickova, I., 2008-12-23. Interview, Koerfer, S., 2008-10-22. www.ikea.com, Interview, Gylhenius, A., 2008-11-10. Interview, Bergmark, T., 2008-05-26. Interview, Gylhenius, A., 2008-11-10. Interview, Ahlgren, K., 2008-10-27, Interview, Hrdlickova, I., 2008-12-23, Interview, Gylhenius, A., 2008-11-10.