Ikea Group, the Swedish company known for low-cost furniture and home goods, admitted and apologized for contracting with East German suppliers that used forced labor to manufacture the firm's products more than two decades ago.
A report commissioned by Ikea from Ernst & Young showed that the company worked with suppliers in the communist German Democratic Republic some 25 to 30 years ago. Those suppliers used prisoners -- including political dissidents -- to manufacture goods, according to the findings.
Some Ikea managers were aware that their products may have been made by unwilling workers, the report concluded. But the steps they took to stop the practice “were not effective enough,” according to the report, which was conducted after allegations surfaced in the media last year.
“We deeply regret that this could happen,” said Jeanette Skjelmose, Ikea’s sustainability manager, in a statement. “The use of political prisoners in production has never been acceptable to the Ikea Group. At the time, we didn’t have today’s well-developed control system and obviously didn’t do enough to prevent such production conditions among our former G.D.R. suppliers.”