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Global Head of Public Affairs with IKEA Discusses How Their Company Implements Sustainability

Global Head of Public Affairs with IKEA Discusses How Their Company Implements Sustainability

Simon Henzell-Thomas, Global Head of Public Affairs with IKEA Group interview with Matt Bird at Humanity 2.0 (Vatican City)


  • As a business society, we need to build more trust with our customers
  • Climate change is happening now, we need less framework and more action
  • IKEA’s vision is to create and inspire a better world for all their customers

The Ikea effect is a psychological principle that says when people build something such as a bedframe or a dresser, they are going to like it more simply because they built it. So maybe the Swedish company that’s known for selling furniture that its customers have to assemble can also effect change. 

Simon Henzell-Thomas, the Global Head of Public Affairs at Ikea Group, attended the 2019 Humanity 2.0 Forum at the Vatican in Italy because a lot of the conversations centered around businesses actually doing good for the world. 

“The Ikea vision is to bring about a better life for the many people, and for us, that’s as much about our furniture and our service offering as it is about our values and how we live our business,” Henzell-Thomas told Matt Bird, Host of the Traders Network Show. “We’re always looking for ways to maximize that impact, so this is a fantastic place to meet like-minded people.”

Henzell-Thomas said he was excited by talks about building consumer trust of the business community, as well as conversations about changing the narrative of artificial intelligence. 

“There were discussions about AI. How could AI actually be good for society instead of this robots-eating-your-job dialogue that we sometimes have,” he said. “It was a really good, positive view on how could we unleash the power of business for good.”

Henzell-Thomas said climate change is a huge issue for many of Ikea’s 750 million customers, “but they simply don’t know what to do. So we see that as a good opportunity as a business to inspire them and enable them to live more sustainably,” he said. 

Immediate action is needed, he continued. 

“We need to move from talk to action. The world can’t wait,” Henzell-Thomas said. “Climate change is happening now.”


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