Natural talent

When IKEA Slependen wanted to further invest in sustainability, they hired newly graduated economist Christina. She had been preparing for this since she was ten.

Position: Sustainability Manager, IKEA Slependen

Place residence: Moss

Education: BI – Master of Science in Business, Major in Leadership and Change

-When I was ten years old, I told my parents that I was going to become a leader. They found it quite strange," reveals Christina Torgersen. Growing up in the countryside southeast of Oslo, academic discussions or ambitious career plans were not prominent.

-But I wanted to rise and explore beyond! Every grade, every conversation with a teacher, all those things became important to me. Even back then, I knew that I had to work hard to have the freedom to choose later on.

Now, Christina strolls through the 32,500 square meters that make up IKEA at Slependen. Here, she is one of Norway's two local sustainability leaders in the furniture chain, responsible for promoting climate-friendly and sustainable solutions within the store, contributing to IKEA's green goals.

"I grew up with the belief that you inherit and pass things on, you don't throw anything away. It has been ingrained in me from the beginning."

Christina Torgersen, Sustainbility Manager

Choosing business to change the world.

As naturally ambitious, Christina became an economist to change the world. And with a fresh master's degree in hand, she wouldn't apply for the first available jobs that came up.

"I took some time to wait because I wanted to work with values I believe in. Sustainability was the keyword I used, and when I saw this position, I felt that everything fell into place. This was the job I was meant for!"

"How did you experience entering such a role as a recent graduate?"

"You can't be afraid to take up space and ask questions when you want to contribute to change, so it didn't take long before I approached different managers in the office landscape and started asking questions about the established practices. It helps that I see myself as a typical relationship builder, someone who is good at engaging others in new ideas."

Christina doesn't leave her enthusiasm at work. It flows in her veins. She lives in Moss with a partner, two cats, and a loving selection of furniture and interior details that have lived long before they ended up with them.

Living without a car

So, I live centrally without a car, shop at physical and digital thrift stores, inherit from family and friends, eat plant-based food only, and always look for solutions that lead me in a more resource-efficient direction. Reuse is my passion."

An IKEA colleague noticed this when he was walking with a carpet that was supposed to be discarded. But it never made it to the waste sorting. Along the way, he met Christina.

"It was absolutely perfect for me! So, I carried the huge carpet with me onto the train home, it actually required its own seat. I had to call my partner and ask him to come and meet me at the station because it was too heavy! But now it's in our bedroom at home, and the two cats love it!"

We stop near the entrance of IKEA Slependen and hear the sound of a sewing machine. It's still about reuse. In a large, bright workspace, Touran Najafi is sitting and working, but she is not employed by IKEA.

"Our sewing room provides free space for a social entrepreneur, Sisters in Business, who create permanent jobs for women with multicultural backgrounds. Here, customers can get customized cushions, curtains, or mattress covers - or they can come and have their clothes altered or repaired."

Globally, IKEA's collaboration with social entrepreneurs has created 30,000 jobs. The goal is to triple that number by 2025.

Innovation to achive sustainbility goals. 

"We don't make money from their profits, but we believe in their vision, and our collaboration allows us to offer something extra to our customers. That's why Sisters in Business has been here for almost five years, and that's why we recently built a brand new and larger sewing room that is set up for growth and better working conditions.

As the sustainability manager for the Slependen store and its approximately 500 employees, Christina is involved in several innovation processes. One of them revolves around a local idea that they need to scale up, but she won't reveal more details until the idea is implemented.

"To succeed in achieving sustainability goals, we sometimes need to be first movers. But what I really like is that IKEA is open about the fact that we haven't solved all the problems and challenges ahead of us. There's a lot of work to be done. And I'm glad that dialogue and collaboration with others are given such high priority. Because everything we do is about creating a better and more sustainable everyday life for the many people."