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Ikea’s New Socially Conscious Collection Supports Marginalized People

Fair trade and socially conscious design have become a major priority for many home goods companies, and Ikea joins them with the launch of its latest collection, Vardande.

The Vardande collection includes bath towels, storage pieces, bowls, baskets and planters, created in partnership with socially conscious businesses from Asian locales such as Bangladesh, Thailand, India and Vietnam. The companies—Classical, Ramesh Flowers, Doi Tung, Spun and Saitex—work to build long-term opportunities for marginalized groups in vulnerable areas.

“Doing the right thing—socially and environmentally—not many have been able to articulate that this is actually profitable,” said Saitex founder Sanjeev Bahl, whose B Corp produced the collection’s 100 percent cotton canvas bag.

Most materials in the collection, such as banana fibers, clay and jute, are sourced locally in the countries where they’re produced. Cotton for the line is sustainably sourced from farms that forgo usage of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

The Vardande collection is part of Ikea’s push to create job and economic opportunities for people in need by collaborating with local social businesses, which employ people who have difficulty finding a job in the labor market.

The Vardande line is the latest effort from Ikea to improve sustainability and social impact. Earlier this year, the company made its Buy Back & Resell program aimed at circularity a permanent fixture in nearly 40 United States stores. Other initiatives include opening a solar car park, moving toward electric delivery trucks, and shifting to incorporate 50 percent plant-based meals in its on-site restaurants by 2025.

Vardande is available now at all U.S. Ikea stores, as well as online.

“With Vardande, we want to offer the many people a chance to relax and find inner strength,” said Lena Sörmon, business leader for Ikea Social Entrepreneurship. “It contains a range of products to help create small changes with significant impacts – both for themselves and those who made them.”