An IKEA co-worker in orange carpenter’s trousers and gloves in a factory, standing next to a large pile of wooden planks.

Creating a sustainable IKEA value chain with IWAY

We believe that everything we do comes with the responsibility to create a positive impact on people, society and the planet. But we can only achieve this if our business partners share our vision and commitment to sustainability. That’s why we have IWAY, the IKEA code of conduct for suppliers.

What is IWAY?

IWAY is the IKEA way of responsibly sourcing products, services, materials and components. It sets clear expectations and ways of working for environmental, social and working conditions, as well as animal welfare, and is mandatory for all suppliers and service providers that work with IKEA.

More than 20 years of working with IWAY has enabled us to build a credible and robust system that we can rely on to support, challenge, and actively work with together with our suppliers.

With IWAY we create impact in 4 main areas by:
  • Promoting positive impacts on the environment
  • Securing decent and meaningful work for workers
  • Respecting children’s rights
  • Improving the welfare of animals in the IKEA value chain
IWAY is based on internationally recognised standards and principles for human rights, environmental protection and worker health and safety, as well as on our own IKEA values and legal compliance. It’s the foundation for our overall sustainability work, both together with our direct suppliers and sub-contractors in the whole value chain.

A look at IWAY requirements

IWAY is structured around 10 principles which reflect the IKEA standpoints on different environmental and social topics:

IWAY principles:
  1. IWAY principles are supported by effective routines and open dialogue
  2. Business is conducted lawfully and with integrity
  3. Children are protected and opportunities for work, learning and family life are promoted
  4. Fundamental labour rights are respected
  5. Workers have time off work, are paid responsibly and have opportunities to develop competence
  6. Workers’ health and safety are protected
  7. Working and living conditions are suitable
  8. The planet is protected
  9. Resources, including water and waste, are managed in a sustainable and circular way
  10. Animals live decent lives

Each of the 10 IWAY Principles is, in turn, supported by IWAY requirements. If you want to learn more about the IWAY requirements, please read the IWAY Standard and respective IWAY Sections.

IWAY principles are based on internationally recognised standards and principles, such as the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs), the 10 Principles of the UN Global Compact, the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the ILO Centenary Declaration for the Future of Work, among others.

At the heart of IWAY is an approach to continuously develop the framework together with suppliers, with the goal to collectively achieve responsible sourcing and a more sustainable IKEA value chain. We define minimum mandatory requirements but encourage our suppliers to develop above and beyond them. For this, we have a staircase model for the IWAY requirements that promotes suppliers to focus on continual improvement and development around IWAY topics.

A co-worker in a yellow safety vest drives a cleaning machine through an IKEA warehouse, surrounded by packed IKEA products.

Always improving – the IKEA way

We have been working with IWAY since 2000 and are continuously revising it to make sure that it stays relevant, reflects global changes and challenges and it contributes to the commitments in the IKEA Sustainability Strategy and the IKEA Supply Strategy.

Currently, we are working with IWAY 6, which was introduced to suppliers in September 2020. This latest version of IWAY is a total system upgrade, that introduced improved ways of working as well as new topics, such as biodiversity and conservation of natural resources, animal welfare and an increased focus on the competence development of workers.

One of the important changes in IWAY 6 is shifting the focus from only conducting audits at our suppliers to also focusing on providing more support to them to achieve the best possible results now and in the future. It’s about both ensuring compliance as well as supporting development for a people and planet positive future.

We want to create a stronger positive impact on people and the planet at every step in the IKEA value chain. This means we are taking IWAY further down the IKEA value chain, to the sub-suppliers of our direct suppliers and all the way to the source of raw materials. We are at the beginning of this journey and are working together with our suppliers, IKEA teams and other external stakeholders.

At IKEA, we’re continually working to do things better, to be more sustainable, and more inclusive. IWAY contributes to building a strong sustainable foundation for the IKEA value chain and continual development for ourselves and our suppliers.

In FY22, we placed more emphasis on strengthening the dialogue with our suppliers on topics such as biodiversity, working hours, fundamental labour rights and responsible recruitment of migrant workers. Migrant workers are a vulnerable group of workers in the value chain and during FY22 we’ve seen new complex corridors of migration arising, where the risks of exploitation are increased.

We continued the work of integrating the revised and updated version of IWAY – IWAY 6, introduced in September 2020 – across the value chain. While IWAY 6 puts a bigger focus on supporting our suppliers with their continuous development journey, compliance with mandatory IWAY requirements is, and remains, the foundation of our partnership with suppliers. For example, in FY22, more than 1,100 verification activities were performed in the Inter IKEA Group supply chain. They include gap assessments for new suppliers and full or focused audits for existing suppliers.

With a stronger focus on supporting suppliers with the implementation of IWAY, in FY22, we offered more than 1,000 implementation support activities in parts of the IKEA value chain. These activities included capacity-building and training on topics including internal audit skills, health and safety trainings, responsible recruitment and more. We continue to improve and strengthen our ways of working in the IWAY System with competence development of our suppliers.

Securing decent and meaningful work for digital platform workers

The development of new technology has created conditions for digital platform work to expand exponentially in the past few years. Digital platform workers carry out, either online or on-location, short-term tasks or services available for selection through a platform. Our ambition is to support decent and meaningful work for all digital platform workers in the IKEA value chain and we have started to introduce requirements from the new IWAY Digital Platform Work Section to suppliers.

Legislation around labour conditions and social protection for digital platform workers remains lacking and is rapidly changing in many countries. Our aim is to have a dialogue around the social and working conditions of platform workers, take learnings from implementing this IWAY section in our value chain and move this topic step-by-step together with the relevant stakeholders and partners for the benefit of all digital platform workers.

Developing requirements for the sourcing of forest materials

Forestry requirements have been in place in IWAY since the first edition launched in 2000. During FY22, these were revised in line with the IKEA Forest Positive Agenda for 2030 and new legislation. The IWAY Forest Materials section is now applicable for all IKEA suppliers using forest materials for the IKEA business, for example, home furnishing products, packaging, communication materials and others. Some requirements contained in the IWAY Forest Materials Section include assessing and mitigating risks related to illegal harvesting and trade of forest materials, sourcing forest materials from more sustainable sources, contributing to the IKEA climate agenda and the efficient use of natural resources.