Home furnishings giant Ikea has joined an alliance of key industry and political groups in calling for a renewed commitment to long-term climate change initiatives despite the immediate urgency of the coronavirus pandemic.
The European Green Recovery Alliance includes more than 180 political decision-makers, business leaders, trade unions, NGOs and think tanks working to reinforce commitments to addressing climate change.
“Even if the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus calls for urgent measures to mitigate the effects on people and business, we will not lose sight of our long-term goals,” said Inter Ikea Group CEO Torbjorn Loof. “We will continue to be long-term in everything we do and remain committed to our ambitious sustainability goals for 2030. This is not an ‘either/or’ situation, the challenging situation today makes us even more determined to accelerate our efforts to tackle climate change.”
In a newsletter published on its website, Ikea reiterated its commitment to “continue to share knowledge and experience to help accelerate the transition toward a green economy in the wake of the coronavirus crisis”. The firm pledged to “share knowledge, examples and experience with lawmakers and participate actively in the Green Deal discussion for new policy and regulatory initiatives”.
With regard to the pandemic, the company states, “Even though the majority of our stores have been closed since March 16, we have been able to provide income stability for all co-workers with 100% pay through April 18. Given that our store locations must remain closed until further notice, we have made the decision to furlough hourly U.S. co-workers in store locations and our Service Office effective April 19, 2020. This will allow our hourly co-workers, who are no longer able to work due to closures, to apply for expanded unemployment benefits. IKEA will continue to provide furloughed co-workers with benefits, including medical and prescription benefits from IKEA through May 31, 2020, and will pay their co-worker contribution. Our goal is to be able to gradually welcome back our furloughed co-workers as soon as it is safe to resume business."