CSR or not? Former Senior communication specialist of IKEA was our guest.

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Diana Andri was the guest lecturer in professor Katalin Tardos’ CSR module.

IKEA Hungary’s former Senior communication specialist, Diana Andri is a versatile CSR professional. She has a wide range of experience, varying from the tobacco industry and marketing, to the NGO sector and fundraising, as well as home furnishing and communication. Earlier she worked for the SOS Children’s villages, she is also active in volunteering, and she is the founder of an activist initiative, Dare to go gray. She is also into photography and already had individual exhibitions.

A key term of the lecture was sustainability, both assessed in the corporate and NGO world.

The first issue that comes to one’s mind in connection with IKEA is how come that a worldwide company whose signature visual mark is the “crunchy, knotty wood look”, which means the use of trees, is engaged in sustainability, protecting nature. “Waste is a moral sin”, she quoted IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad (see more here). The key to answering this mainly lies in product development. IKEA follows the principles of democratic design, and their long term strategy is to reach people and Planet Positive Strategy by 2030, using sustainable resources, flat-pack packaging, sustainable transportation. 

Here are a few memorable elements that create IKEA’s philosophy in this respect:

  • IKEA does not spend an irrational amount of money on PR, rather, they use this money for helping others
  • they take care of the resources, 1% of the forest of the world is owned by IKEA
  • using waste to create other products
  • certificates ensuring how materials are sourced responsibly
  • female employees, including those on the management level, should be equal with male employees both in their number and quality of work
  • creating work for people who do not have many opportunities, connecting to social entrepreneurship, cooperation with refugee camps, Romani artists, or people with Down syndrome
  • creating long-lasting products
  • selling used IKEA products back to IKEA globally, thus providing a second life for furniture

Diana also explained how IKEA is handling actual donations regionally (via its Together with you initiative) and locally, as well as giving insight into its cooperation with NGOs, UNICEF, refugee camps on the international level.

In the last part of her lecture, we gained an insight into what sustainability means for an NGO, how certain SOS Children Villages organizations are becoming self-sustainable by focusing on committed givers and on long-term partnerships.

MSc in HR Management