A new partnership with Yunus Social Business

IKEA Social Entrepreneurship has partnered with Yunus Social Business to explore how we can together improve the working conditions and livelihoods of informal waste workers, but also to the sector, in India.

Transforming the waste sector in India and beyond

IKEA Social Entrepreneurship is proud to announce our further support of Yunus Social Business, during their 10-year anniversary celebration week. An initial grant will be used to explore how we can together improve the working conditions and livelihoods of informal waste workers, as well as the broader waste sector, in India. 

To be able to reach the circular future we at IKEA strive for, transforming the waste sector is a key consideration within the context of working only with renewable and recycled materials.   

Currently, there is an estimated 4 million people working as informal waste workers in India. These workers engage in recycling activities that are crucial to India’s waste management system. However, the informal nature of their job, and the prejudice and stigma around it, pose distinct challenges related to their livelihoods, working conditions, and their acceptance in society.  

A socially inclusive solution

A growing number of social enterprises are offering waste services and solutions to address these social and environmental challenges, but often lack access to finance and the capabilities required to invest in a complex sector such as waste management. 

Our grant to the Yunus Social Business will be used to pilot, along with WASTE and SIDA, the setup of an investment fund to support these social enterprises. The partnership will also provide technical assistance and capacity building to support the enterprises in key areas of their work. By plugging the funding gap, we hope to attract more backers and turn our investment into a larger fund to support more social enterprises. 

Waste picker

Collaboration is key 

The challenges associated with the waste sector are many and highly interlinked, so individual organisations often struggle to move the needle.   

“IKEA Social Entrepreneurship is proud to support Yunus Social Business with this fund”, says Åsa Skogström Feldt. “We know there are many challenges associated with transforming the waste sector and partnerships are key to developing holistic solutions and creating a better everyday life for the many people.” 

“We are super excited about the opportunity presented by the Take a Stake consortium, bringing together the expertise of different impact-driven organisations to address the challenges of the waste and WASH sectors in India and East Africa in a holistic way: WASTE Foundation with its sector expertise in WASH and waste, and Sida with its focus on waste”, added Saskia Bruysten, co-founder and CEO of Yunus Social Business. “We are absolutely thrilled to have IKEA Social Enterprise joining this coalition, adding its expertise in the Waste sector in India. With IKEA Social Enterprise, we are also particularly excited for the opportunity this could present for IKEA to strengthen its own corporate purpose journey though its exposure to and work with social businesses.”

This grant is part of our commitment to transform the informal waste sector in India and compliments our associated partnership with Saahas Zero Waste
IKEA is working to become a fully circular and climate positive working with more renewables and recycled materials to be fully circular by 2030.

ISE YSB announcement
From left to right: Saskia Bruysten, co-founder and CEO of Yunus Social Business, Professor Muhammad Yunus, co-founder of Yunus Social Business, Åsa Skogström Feldt, Managing Director of IKEA Social Entrepreneurship.

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