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CEO of the IKEA Foundation, Per Heggenes, on climate, impact, collaboration, refugees and optimism

(Click here for the older episode of 6th September 2020)

CEO of the IKEA Foundation, Per Heggenes: a wide-ranging conversation on climate, impact, collaboration, refugees, Ukraine and optimism.

Per joins us back on the show after last having been with us on 6th September 2020. We continue where we left off and start by looking at the Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet (GEAPP), which the IKEA Foundation set up with the Rockefeller Foundation and the Bezos Earth Fund.

GEAPP is working in partnership with countries across Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean to operationalise renewable energy transitions and expansions, which will reduce greenhouse gases, extend clean power to underserved people, and enable green jobs. As Per notes, we need to embrace radical collaboration – it’s the way to get to Net Zero.

We also look at the IKEA Foundation’s approach to measurement, learning and evaluation; the importance of using evidence to guide grant-making, and the importance of funding research to build such bodies of evidence when they don’t exist. Evidence is key for achieving systems change, and philanthropy needs to take risks, innovate and collaborate.

The conversation also looks at the work the IKEA Foundation has traditionally been doing with refugees in the Global South and, more recently, how IKEA’s commercial operations are supporting refugees from Ukraine in the Global North. Per details the close collaboration between IKEA’s philanthropic and commercial sides.

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About Per Heggenes

Per Heggenes is the CEO of IKEA Foundation. As CEO, Heggenes sets and drives the Foundation’s funding and innovation strategies, and is a tireless advocate for children living in some of the world’s poorest communities.

Since becoming the Foundation’s first CEO in 2009, Heggenes has presided over the Foundation’s evolution into a global, independent, strategic philanthropy with a laser focus on fighting climate change and improving livelihood opportunities for the poor.

He serves on numerous advisory boards for humanitarian and development organisations and has taken a special interest in helping reform the way the global community works to embrace the rights of refugees and migrants – aimed at positive integration that leads to economic independence and self-reliance.

In 2019, Heggenes was appointed by the UN Secretary General to join the High Level Panel on Internal Displacement with the goal of developing durable solutions to protracted internal displacement.

Previously, Heggenes held global and regional leadership roles for the shipping and logistics company Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics and global public relations firm Burson-Marsteller, based in London and New York. Heggenes served in the Norwegian Air Force and graduated from the University of Augsburg in Germany with a “Diplom Oekonom”.


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