comes to CSR and that mistakes are inevitable and natural in this process.64 This is aligned with IKEA’s general company philosophy of “learning by doing”65. T. Bergmark states that as IKEA is not a listed company, IKEA has a great advantage as the company has a greater freedom in not being driven by short-term profitability goals and thus can have a more long-term focus with its CSR.66 It is also mentioned that IKEA’s CSR capabilities can be a way for the company to differentiate itself and stand out amongst the competition.67 With ever increasing competition as well as growing interest of people for furnishing and home improvement, it is important for IKEA to stay on top and CSR contributes to achieving this.68 In addition to this, Eva Stål (Communications Manager of CSR at IKEA Sweden) highlights that through working with NGOs IKEA is able to be proactive in anticipating EU-rules and regulations with regard to CSR and thereby not be caught off guard by any potential new developments.69
4.4 External pressures on IKEA
CSR has become increasingly important over time as the public has pushed it to priority number one.70 As such, a lack of interest in these issues by a company would result in its “death”.71 A. Gyhlenius sees CSR as vital for a large, globalized company in today’s business climate.72 Other interviewees concur with this conclusion as CSR is seen as becoming a “base factor” and as such companies that do not engage in CSR will not be able to survive in the future.73 Media focuses its attention on these issues and the effect of negative attention seems far greater than the positive.74 As a result, CSR is becoming increasingly important for the brand and reputation of the company (see section 4.7).
4.5 CSR issues in the supply chain
The supply chain is one of the focus areas of IKEA’s CSR. Ivana Hrdlickova (Information Director at IKEA Sweden) states that IKEA consciously chooses this path as the company procures from 60 different countries and can therefore make the greatest positive impact by providing jobs, improving employee working conditions. Furthermore, IKEA has most knowledge within this area and this form of CSR is also closest to its capabilities and expertise. She believes that IKEA would not make the same impact had it simply chosen to just donate money to different organizations and charities.75
In 2000, the code of conduct IWAY (IKEA Way on Purchasing Home Furnishing Products) was established, providing detailed specifications on requirements for suppliers to be eligible to work with IKEA in terms of issues such as environmental, social and forestry regulations. It also specifies the requirements of IKEA towards the supplier - working conditions, minimum wages and overtime payments. Issues with special importance for IKEA such as the ban of child labor, discrimination in the workplace and illegal logging, are covered in depth in the code. “Save the Children” has co- written the section of the code of conduct relating to child labor (e.g. IKEA Way on Preventing Child
64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75
Interview, Stål, E., 2008-05-13, Interview, Koerfer, S., 2008-10-22. Interview, Stål, E., 2008-05-13. Interview, Bergmark, T., 2008-05-26. Interview, Koerfer, S., 2008-10-22. Interview, Stål, E., 2008-05-13. Interview, Stål, E., 2008-05-13. Interview, Koerfer, S., 2008-10-22. Interview, Gylhenius, A., 2008-11-10. Interview, Gylhenius, A., 2008-11-10. Interview, Heidenmark-Cook, P., 2008-12-05. Interview, Gylhenius, A., 2008-11-10. Interview, Hrdlickova, I., 2008-12-23.