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 employment 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.

Giving IWAY a total system upgrade

IWAY has been the base for much of our sustainability work since 2000 and we are continuously revising it to ensure that it is agile, relevant and effective, always reflecting global changes and the IKEA business reality.

The current version of the IWAY Standard, IWAY 6, was introduced in September 2020 after an extensive revision involving many IKEA co-workers, as well as several suppliers, other multinational companies and non-governmental organisations. This next generation of IWAY is a total system upgrade, where we introduced such topics as biodiversity and conservation, animal welfare and an increased focus on the competence development of workers. We have improved our ways of working with IWAY, and one of the important changes is shifting the focus of our efforts from audits only to a combination of both audits and implementation support. By putting collaboration at the centre of our relationship with suppliers, our aim in the coming years is to reach beyond our direct suppliers and implement IWAY further in the value chain to create a truly sustainable business.

Ensuring animal welfare through IWAY

We have been working with animal welfare through development projects with our suppliers and through the IKEA Better Food Programmes. IWAY Animal Welfare Section was introduced in September 2020 and applies to all IKEA suppliers that deliver animal-based products to the IKEA business.

New section dedicated to digital platform work

The development of technology has created conditions of a new form of work to exponentially expand in the last few years: digital platform work. Digital platform workers find short-term tasks through online platforms that connect people in need of help with individuals who can provide that help for payment. To address this new type of work in parts of the IKEA value chain, we have developed the IWAY Digital Platform Work Section 6.0, which defines minimum social and working conditions we want to secure for all digital platform workers who perform services for, or on behalf of, IKEA.

Putting focus on road safety through IWAY

In 2019 we signed Hållbara hastigheter, a call to action for safe speeds to save lives and reduce emissions, initiated by the Swedish Transport Administration (Trafikverket) and several other big Swedish companies. To support and promote road safety and create a positive impact together with our business partners, the IWAY Transport Section has been revised and updated.

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