March 9, 2022 | Bill Esler
Swedish furniture giant Ikea suspended its operations in Russia and Belarus in response to the Ukraine invasion, closing three Russian factories and laying off 2,500 workers.
Ikea also halted buying from its 47 Russian and 10 Belarus suppliers, ending imports to Sweden, and closed retail operations in Russia, laying off 12,500 according to a report in The Moscow Times. The company donated 20 million Euros ($22 million U.S.) to a United Nations relief fund for Ukraine.
“The war has had a huge human impact already. It is also resulting in serious disruptions to supply chain and trading conditions,” Ikea says in a statement. “For all of these reasons, the company groups have decided to temporarily pause Ikea operations in Russia.” Ikea identified three areas for immediate action:
Ikea says it “secured employment and income stability for the immediate future and provide support to them and their families in the region.” IKEA was founded in Sweden in 1943, and has 12 franchises, but does 90 percent of its business in company-owned stores, including the U.S., where outages of furniture and and shelving systems have been reported recently, spawning a market for used Ikea furniture sometimes at double the original price.
Ikea itself tested buying back its furniture at a Conshocken, PA store in September and said it resold all of it, rather than recycling it into raw materials. In November 2021 it rolled out a Buy Back & Resell service in 33 stores across the U.S.
“IKEA is on a journey to become a circular and climate positive business by 2030. As part of this goal, we are proud to launch the IKEA Green Friday campaign and execute the national rollout of our Buy Back & Resell service in the U.S. this year,” says Javier Quiñones, IKEA U.S. president and chief sustainability officer. “We want to help create a sustainable movement in society, and inspire our customers to acquire, care for and pass on IKEA products in more sustainable ways.”
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