IKEA CEO Jesper Brodin Started His Career in Karachi, Pakistan

Jesper Brodin, CEO of Holland-based Ingka Group, started his 25-year career working for Ikea in Karachi, Pakistan in 1995. Ikea does not operate its stores in Pakistan but the company sources home textiles from the South Asian country. Today,  Ikea is a major global retailer of home furnishings with worldwide sales of over $40 billion. Like any other major retailer, it is responding to its customers' demand for products produced in a sustainable way in terms of their impact on the environment and the people involved in the supply chain. 

Ikea CEO Jesper Brodin. Source: Financial Times


Who is Jesper Brodin?

Jesper Brodin is the chief executive officer (CEO) of Ingka Group that owns IKEA, a global retail sores chain with worldwide revenue of over $40 billion. He was born in Gothenburg, Sweden. 

Brodin started his career as IKEA's purchasing manager in Karachi, Pakistan in 1995. Speaking to Bloomberg TV recently, he said he learned after being hired that he was the only applicant for the job. He attributes it to the fact that the mid-1990s was a turbulent period in Karachi. He was soon promoted to the position of the regional manager for Southeast Asia region. In 1999, he assumed the role of assistant to Ikea founders Ingvar Kamprad and Anders Dahlvig, who served as CEO at that time. Before being appointed CEO of Ingka Group, he was a managing director at IKEA of Sweden/Range and Supply, which is responsible for the development of the product range and supply chain of the IKEA brand.  

Ikea Supply Chain:

Ikea sources home textiles from Pakistan. Home textile products range from bedsheets and towels to draperies and rugs. Ikea is actively managing its global supply chain in response to its customers' demand for sustainable products both in terms of their impact on the environment and the lives of the people involved. 

The top six Pakistani suppliers to Ikea are Al-Karam, Yunus, Gul Ahmad, Mustaqim Dying and Printing, Indus Home and Nishat Textiles. In addition to these manufacturers, Ikea also manages the production of organic non-GMO cotton produced in Pakistan and supplied to these mills. Organic cotton makes up less than 1% of global cotton production, and concerns continue over the integrity of its certification.  

 In 2017, World Wildlife Fund (WWWF) Pakistan, in collaboration with C&A Foundation and Agriculture Extension Department (AED), started the organic cotton project under the National Organic Program (NOP) in two major phases: Certification for the validation of using no pesticides and approval of the land for cultivation of organic cotton Investment in the training of more than 4,000 farmers to cope with the essence of organic cotton production standards. 

In recent years, Pakistan has started exploring the use of hemp as a more sustainable fiber for use in textiles. At last year's Kingpin Show online, Karachi-based Artistic Milliners presented its Bio Vision 2.0 collection that is based on guidelines set by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Jeans Redesign, featuring biodegradable fibers that provide optimal recovery, according to Sourcing Journal. The mill’s circular focus is also displayed in its Circular Blue New collection, which is made of 100 percent recycled cotton and uses post-consumer, pre-consumer and industrial waste. Lahore-based US Denim’s latest collections also focus on sustainability and feature recycled and biodegradable fibers. Its Reborn product is “sustainable from every angle” and uses recycled cotton, elastane and polyester; aniline-free dyestuff; and water-safe dyeing methods. 

Summary:

Ikea CEO Jesper Brodin began his career in Karachi, Pakistan about 25 years ago. He now heads the major global retailer with sales of over $40 billion. Pakistan continues to be a part of Ikea's global supply chain. The focus of the company has dramatically shifted to sustainability both in terms of the environment and the people involved in the production  process. In recent years, Pakistan has started exploring the use of hemp as a more sustainable fiber for use in textiles. 

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Comment by Riaz Haq on June 29, 2021 at 7:35am

ISKO & Pakistan's Soorty sign licensing agreement for garment & fabric

https://www.fibre2fashion.com/news/press-release-news/isko-pakistan...


ISKO and Pakistan’s Soorty have signed a landmark technology licensing agreement to work in partnership on the production of fabric and garment collections. The collaboration combines Isko’s renowned expertise in creating patented technologies with Soorty’s extensive vertical production network, which will be utilised to produce the collections.

The unique collaboration opens the door to significant, new business opportunities for both companies and will enable them to meet customers’ needs on a greater scale. Through this partnership, Isko and Soorty have developed a business model that is a first in the industry with the potential to change working practices for the better and unlock value for the entire market through the scaling of responsible innovations. The two players are at the forefront of sustainability, inclusivity, technology and education in the industry and are driven by a shared approach that prioritises synergy, cross-fertilisation, and a quest for constant improvement, Isko said in a press release.

The first collaborative effort between the companies sees the launch of the ISKO Future Face by Soorty collection. Created using ISKO’s innovative ISKO Future Face technology, it is produced by Soorty specifically for the US market. ISKO Future Face is a patented woven fabric that looks like a knit. This fabric innovation combines a soft, silky finish with comfort, enhanced shape retention and a flattering drape, while maintaining all the properties of true denim, according to ISKO.

Today’s business landscape is calling out to all stakeholders to create connections that help take care of the planet and its people. ISKO’s Responsible Innovation approach is founded on creativity, competence and citizenship and demonstrates the company’s effort to make the world a better place. Soorty, Pakistan’s largest vertically integrated denim company, is committed to a vision of a clean, green and fair future for all, which is a perfect alignment for this partnership.

“With this partnership, we are paving the way towards the implementation of new best practices that will change the industry forever. We truly believe that going beyond the traditional conception of competition can really push change for the better: a better service for our customers, a better business and a better future,” Marco Lucietti, ISKO director of strategic projects said in a statement.

“We believe in cooperation over competition. And we believe that this cooperation, which is the first of its kind in the industry, will unlock immense value for brands and consumers. ISKO Future Face by Soorty is a truly game changing offer that can be used to create an endless array of products, all of which are in high demand in both the pandemic and post-pandemic world. We’re hugely excited by the possibilities this opens up for the market,” Asad Soorty, director of Soorty said.

Comment by Riaz Haq on July 12, 2021 at 11:26am

Can #Pakistan Bridge Gap Between #Organic #Cotton’s Supply & Demand? Pakistan is not among the top-ranking countries but it is the biggest contributor to the global growth, signaling it’s gaining momentum in the market. #sustainable https://sourcingjournal.com/denim/denim-mills/artistic-milliners-pa... via @SourcingJournal

When it comes to sustainability trends, seeds are taking the reign.

The organic cotton label has recently been catching the eye of denim consumers as the demand for sustainable fashion increases. To answer their call, companies throughout the denim supply chain have been clamoring for more organic cotton from farmers. But what they’re finding is that the world’s supply of the fiber might not be enough to meet the demand.

While new data from the Textile Exchange’s 2021 Organic Cotton Market Report shows that the amount of harvested organic cotton set records in the 2019-20 crop year at 249,153 tons, this sum still accounts for just 1 percent of global production.

Enter industry efforts for more organic cotton strategies such as the Milliner Cotton Initiative (MCI), which Pakistan-based denim mill Artistic Milliners launched in October alongside environmental nonprofit World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) Pakistan and the Government of Baluchistan. The program aims to commercialize indigenous organic cotton in the Baluchistan region and add transparency to the value chain.

Textile Exchange’s report indicated that the top seven organic cotton-producing countries, which together account for 95 percent of global production, were India at 50 percent, followed by China, Kyrgyzstan, Turkey, Tanzania, Tajikistan and the U.S. Though Pakistan wasn’t one of the top-ranking countries, it was one of the biggest contributors to the global growth, signaling it’s gaining momentum in the market.

Earlier this year, Danish apparel company Bestseller, which owns labels Jack & Jones, Vero Moda and Only, helped fuel MCI with a 30 percent funding. According to Danique Lodewijks, a senior project specialist at Bestseller, the initiative allows the company to make a major impact in sustainable fashion.

“Cotton is a very important fiber for Bestseller, as more than 50 percent of our total fiber consumption comes from cotton,” she said during an Artistic Milliner webinar on Thursday. “We have a relatively high cotton footprint, and therefore also a big opportunity to actually influence and promote change in the fashion industry—but we also know that currently there is simply not enough organic cotton available in the market to meet the needs of the industry.”

The initiative is directly aligned with Bestseller’s target to source 30 percent organic cotton by 2025, but that’s not the only driving force for the partnership. Lodewijks said the company also got involved as a way to gain more insight into what is happening on the ground and build stronger relationships with farmers and suppliers, ultimately securing its future organic cotton supply.

Increasing transparency throughout the supply chain—specifically at the fiber stage—has been a subject of focus for many in recent years. According to Ruud Schute, program director at Organic Cotton Accelerator (OCA), a multi-stakeholder organization dedicated to the fiber, the seeds are the most important part of the organic journey.

“Finding the right seed for the right yield, making sure that the farmers get the crops they expect, and making sure that the integrity is not compromised from the beginning [is what’s most important],” he said. “I think everybody understands that once we start with the wrong base for organic cotton, we will have a lot of catching up to do later.”

He added that it’s important to grow organic cotton with consideration to the heavy demand, but “with a very clear eye on reality and on how far nature can go in a certain period of time, and how quickly we can replicate this without compromising the seed.”

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