28 May 2024, 11:01
By Furniture News Apr 13, 2023

IKEA's €9m support for Ukraine refugees

IKEA has delivered €9m worth of products to Ukraine during recent months, providing over 850,000 home furnishing products to support people who have been forced to leave their homes and home towns, in close co-operation with UNHCR.

The donation includes more than 71,000 mattresses, 75,000 bed sheets, 86,000 blankets, 99,000 kitchen sets and 205,000 pillows. The donation, a joint effort between Inter IKEA Group and Ingka Group, has a total estimated retail value of approximately €9m.

"More than a year after the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, an estimated 13 million people remain uprooted from their homes, including over 8 million refugees across Europe and more than 5 million internally displaced people within the country," says Karolina Lindholm Billing, UNHCR's representative in Ukraine.

Malin Petersson Beckeman, sustainability engagement and communications manager at Inter IKEA Group, adds: “The war in Ukraine is a human tragedy. Many stakeholders and organisations need to work together to provide humanitarian aid to people forcibly displaced. The IKEA business has been supporting organisations such as UNHCR, UNICEF, and Save the Children since the beginning of the invasion. Our relief support has included both monetary and in-kind donations to children and their families.”

Marcin Majchrzak, who works with customer fulfilment for Ingka Group, the largest IKEA retailer, says the company began organising the logistical aspects of the Ingka Group emergency community support work a few days after the war began in 2022. To date, a total of 23 Ingka Group countries have been actively donating products to support Ukrainians fleeing to other countries, as well as internally displaced people within Ukraine.

"We made a decision very early to support the victims of the war, and we knew we could utilise our supply chain and fulfilment strengths," says Marcin.

With a large presence in Eastern Europe, IKEA has been able to manufacture and secure large quantities of products and rely on major companies and suppliers in the supply chain to work together to move quickly and with high volumes to make these deliveries. “It’s been one of the most meaningful things I’ve ever taken part in,” Marcin adds.

This donation to UNHCR was partly funded by a previously announced donation in March 2022 by Inter IKEA Group and Ingka Group. At that time, they both granted €10m to provide support in products and other assistance to UNHCR, Save the Children and other support organisations.

Agata Czachórska, country sustainability manager at IKEA Retail Poland, from where a vast majority of the shipments into Ukraine originated, calls the effort the biggest emergency support operation the business has ever dealt with. Approximately 200 trucks filled with products and goods from IKEA have been handed over to UNHCR to use in the relief efforts in Kiev and Lviv.

Agata says: “I am full of gratitude for co-workers from different IKEA units in Poland who were engaged in organising these urgent donations, working with ordering, product picking, organising deliveries to the central warehouse and to Ukraine, preparing formalities and filling in documents. Without their contribution and how they run this amazing logistic 'machinery', we would never have reached people inside Ukraine.”

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