Ikea chief wants to ‘support social causes’

Ikea chief wants to 'support social causes'
Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad has said he is keen to do a lot more to help people in need, according to the Dutch foundation that owns the Swedish furniture giant.

Kamprad aims to loosen restrictions on his massive charity, lawyer Torbjörn Sköld,

who sits on the board of the Dutch-based Stichting Ingka Foundation that owns

Ikea, told AFP on Tuesday.

Sköld said the 82-year-old founder “wants to open the foundation to do more.”

In 2006, The Economist reported that Stichting Ingka Foundation, registered in the Netherlands as a non-profit-making legal entity, could be worth as much as $36 billion, far ahead of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s $26.9-billion value that year.

Yet the Ikea foundation, unlike the Gates Foundation’s work to fight poverty, dedicates all its charity work to “innovation in the field of architectural and interior design,” and, according to The Economist report at the time, it was unclear how much money had gone even to charity in that area.

Swedish financial daily Dagens Industri however reported on Tuesday that Kamprad, who controls Ikea through his chairmanship in Stichting, had his hands tied when it came to what the charity money could be used for due to initial restrictions when the fund was created in 1982.

Sköld told AFP that Kamprad had applied to a Dutch court to change the foundation restriction so charity money could be used for social causes, like for instance offering aid in the case of a natural catastrophe.

“This is a stable foundation and in the Netherlands that means you have to go to court to change the restrictions,” Sköld said, insisting that the move was not linked to the criticism in The Economist report.

He pointed out to Dagens Industri that when the foundation was first created, Ikea was much smaller.

“Now the company has grown and there is more money available in the funds, and if feels silly that the funds cannot support social causes when needed,” he told the paper.