Posted by: Michael D. Austin | February 21, 2009

IKEA’s Head of Social Initiative to Guest on March 10th, 2009 Show

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Marianne Barner, IKEA Head of Social Initiative

Marianne Barner in Uttar Pradesh, India working with local children.

CLICK HERE for AUDIO of BLUE PLANET ALMANAC 3-10-09 SHOW – it’s a good-sized file so please be patient if it takes a minute or two to load. Happy listening!

In finding good examples of companies and the people in them who make real efforts to create sustainable futures, Blue Planet Almanac’s pleased to announce that Marianne Barner, IKEA’s Head of Social Initiative will be our guest for the March 10th, 2009 show airing on at 2:00 PM Pacific time.

Blue Planet Almanac host, Mike Austin, was deeply honored to be invited by IKEA to attend as an observer to a panel at the United Nations, during which the UN will announce that IKEA is now UNICEF’s largest corporate partner: UNICEF will announce on 2-23-09 that IKEA, through its corporate philanthropy arm, IKEA Social Initiative, is further expanding its support for children with a $48 million donation for UNICEF programmes in India. This most recent donation will support UNICEF programmes aimed at improving the health and survival of tens of millions of women and children in some of India’s most deprived areas. UNICEF also announced that with this donation, IKEA Social Initiative has become the agency’s biggest corporate partner, with total commitments of more than $180 million from 2000 to 2015.”

UNICEF is, according to its press office, “…on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence.  The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.

Here’s Marianne’s IKEA bio:

“Marianne Barner is the Head of IKEA Social Initiative, managing social cause involvement on a global level. The mission of the IKEA Social Initiative is to improve the rights of children in developing countries while growing programs that will give these children substantial opportunities for education and a healthy future. Marianne has been working diligently fighting for these children’s rights for a healthy and secure future, with access to quality education.

With UNICEF and Save the Children as core partners, IKEA’s Social Initiative with Ms. Barner at the helm has taken a holistic approach for creating substantial and lasting change.  These programs include improving the health of mothers and children, enabling access to a quality education for children and empowering women to create a better future for themselves, families and communities.

Marianne’s most recent IKEA Social Initiative involvement has been with UNICEF. The broad program includes a range of interventions for child survival and a better start in life including immunizations, vitamins, promotion of breastfeeding and nutritional food together with clean water and sanitation. This program will affect the lives of 80 million children, plus 10 million women in the poorest area of India.

Marianne is also responsible for leading the IKEA Social Initiative Soft Toy Program. Since 2003, over $22 million has been donated to UNICEF and Save the Children for educational projects in 20 countries. The most recent 2008 campaign raised almost $7 million.

Marianne Barner

Marianne Barner

Since joining IKEA in 1993 Marianne has been responsible for the policy and implementation of the company’s efforts to prevent child labor, working closely with child rights organizations like UNICEF and Save the Children. In 2000, IKEA and UNICEF initiated a child rights project in 500 villages with more than 1 million inhabitants in the carpet belt of Northern India. From this project 80,000 children received a quality education which would otherwise have been denied and 250,000 babies were immunized against a number of common diseases. The experience and success of this project strongly inspired the focus of IKEA’s Social Initiative programs.

Marianne had also been Business Area Manager for IKEA carpets and tableware/cook shop respectively, followed by being the Group Information Manager 1999-2008.  She has broad experience from different management positions and is a graduate of the Stockholm School of Economics.”

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