Ikea to Employ Syrian Refugees with New Product Line
So many companies have stepped up in recent days to do what they can to assist the large volume of refugees fleeing Syria, and now Swedish furniture maker Ikea is joining the fray with a plan that will employ Syrian refugees.
Starting in 2019, Ikea will sell a line of authentic Syrian rugs and textiles that will be made by Syrians who have fled to Jordan. Roughly 200 Syrians, mostly women, will be employed by Ikea to produce the line.
“The situation in Syria is a major tragedy of our time, and Jordan has taken a great responsibility in hosting Syrian refugees,” says Ikea range and supply manager Jesper Brodin. “We decided to look into how Ikea can contribute.”
The idea was in the works prior to the controversial executive order by President Trump halting immigration from seven countries, including Syria. The timing of Ikea’s announcement is a mere coincidence; however, the company has been critical of Trump’s executive order.
“Any proposal that would discriminate against a certain group of our customers or co-workers, or limit our ability to attract and retain diverse talent is so troubling,” wrote Ikea’s U.S. manager Lars Petersson in a memo to employees. “We are committed to continuing to stand for the dignity and rights of everyone.”
Ikea says that it plans to be flexible with the work hours of the Syrian women employed to create the rugs and textiles, as many of them have responsibilities caring for children and other family members.
The rugs and textiles will be sold in Jordan, as well as other Middle Eastern countries with whom Jordan has a free trade agreement. From there, it’s possible that the authentic Syrian products will be sold in other regions throughout the world.
This is not the first time Ikea has come to the aid of refugees. Through a partnership with the U.N., Ikea has developed shelters designed for refugees. The company has also raised millions to provide renewable energy to refugee camps.