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World Resources Institute

SustainaA program of the World Resources Institute ble Enterprise Program

F or more than a decade, WRI’s Sustainable Enterprise Program (SEP) has harnessed the power of business to create profitable solutions to environment and development challenges. BELL, a project of SEP, is focused on working with managers and academics to make companies more competitive by approaching social and environmental challenges as unmet market needs that provide business growth opportunities through entrepreneurship, innovation, and organizational change.

Permission to reprint this case is available at the BELL case store. Additional information on the Case Series, BELL, and WRI is available at: www.BELLinnovation.org.

IKEA AND THE NATURAL STEP

In September 1995, Jan Kjellman took over as president of IKEA North America, the U.S. and Canadian subsidiary of the Swedish furniture giant. At IKEA s headquarters outside Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Kjellman sat at his desk, located in an open, brightly sunlit bay. His assistant, also the service center office manager, sat at a nearby desk a few feet away. Co-workers walked through one side of the bay, heading for the coffee room. On the landing below the president s office was a pedestal bearing a large gray rock. It was from the rocky and poor land in ˜lmhult, a small village in the province of Sm land, Sweden, where IKEA s founder was born and where the design and production core of IKEA s business was still located.

Kjellman pondered the success of his predecessor, Gor n Carstedt, who had moved back to Sweden to take responsibility for worldwide marketing and the European retail stores. Carstedt had turned the subsidiary around since 1991, increasing sales to over $700 million and moving the company to number three in the U.S.…...

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