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combination of CSR efforts and profitability263. Thus, it can be concluded that in IKEA, CSR can be seen as an umbrella that is considered and incorporated in the implementation of TQM.264 As discussed in, TQM consists of three components: core values, techniques and tools.265 It is clear that IKEA’s core values, in which CSR is integrated, drive the company to use tools and techniques, which enable it to pursue its business idea of cutting costs and saving resources. All of the interviewees from IKEA agree that IKEA’s value of cutting costs and saving resources fits perfectly with CSR. The code of conduct and the close co-operation with suppliers are tools and processes that enable IKEA to secure high productivity, whilst different energy saving and waste disposal projects ensure the reduction of costs. In addition, social core values ensure employee satisfaction and motivation as well as legitimacy in the communication with customers. One can conclude that the strong links between IKEA’s CSR and its techniques, tools and core values, enable the company to ensure quality in all aspects of operations. IKEA’s use of CSR has developed and expanded over time. Initial CSR efforts in stores focused mainly on environmental issues such as waste disposal266 as these issues have a direct and immediate impact on cost reduction and profitability. It is only over time that IKEA has integrated more social dimensions into its CSR activities in the form of intensifying its partner relationships with NGOs and the number of local projects as it realizes the value of these activities for different stakeholders such as customers and employees. This demonstrates how IKEA has undergone a “quality journey”, progressively developing to a socially responsible business.267

Sustainability Sustainability can be considered another motivation for CSR at IKEA. Following Porter & Kramer268,

sustainability implies that companies should avoid short-term behavior and operate in ways to secure long-term economic performance. This is certainly the case with IKEA as its vision is strongly focused on the long run and continual expansion to new countries. The company is aware that it must operate in a sustainable way in order to achieve this growth.269 The company’s focus on sustainability covers both economic and environmental sustainability as the two issues are closely intertwined in IKEA. IKEA therefore actively works to design and manufacture products that will have the lowest impact possible through Environmental Design using as many left-over materials and as little resources as possible.270 In addition, IKEA uses audits to ensure that its wood products come from forests that are certified as intact natural forests. IKEA supports the suggestion that the principle of sustainability works best for issues that coincide with a company’s economic or regulatory interests. This is applicable to IKEA as the company’s focus on sustainability is both a question of ethics and economic benefits, as the concept of sustainability coincides with its core values of cost consciousness and saving resources.

Reputation and risk management Following the empirical findings, it can be said that in IKEA’s case, CSR reduces risk on a number of

dimensions. IKEA definitely views CSR as a form of global brand insurance. A. Gyhlenius states that substantial CSR efforts enable IKEA to defend its position in case of a crisis271. This is imperative as IKEA, as one of the most prominent brands in the world, is heavily scrutinized by media and that

263 264 265 266 267 268 269 270 271

Interview, Bergmark, T., 2008-05-26. Svensson, G. & Wood, G. (2005). Svensson, G. & Wood, G. (2005). Interview, Gyhlenius, A., 2008-11-10. Hazlett, S. et al (2007). Porter, M. & Kramer, M. (2006). Interview, Ahlgren, K., 2008-10-27. Interview, Hrdlickova, I, 2008-12-23 Interview, Gyhlenius, A., 2008-11-10.


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