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IKEA is lying to the public and to its customers

“IKEA does not use wood from intact old-growth forests” we can read on a sign at IKEA’s stores. This is a blatant lie. The non-governmental environmental organization Protect the Forest Sweden has gone to Russian Karelia and documented how IKEA clear-cuts ancient old-growth forests which have been identified as intact by Russian conservation specialists.

Here are some examples, with links to quoted sources, which support our statement:

IKEA does not use wood from intact old-growth forests!?

IKEA has lied for a long time about the fact that their products are not made of wood from sustainable managed forests, but from intact old-growth forests or other forests with high conservation value. A quote from a 2008 IKEA press release: “Wood used for IKEA products comes from well-managed forests and not from intact, natural or old-growth forests.”

IKEA website (sixth paragraph)

Thirteen-year-old promise not carried out

As early as 1999, IKEA promised that they would stop using wood from old-growth forests. Thirteen years later, in 2012, IKEA is still using wood from old-growth forests.

Source of IKEA quote:

IKEA in Swedish public radio: We do not cut down centuries-old trees in old-growth forests in Russia

IKEA/Swedwood is criticized by environmentalists in Swedish public radio. Linda Ellegaard Nordström from Protect the Forest reports that she has seen clear-cuts of forest with pines which were up to 600 years old. This was denied by representatives of IKEA and Swedwood. The message from IKEA can be summarized: IKEA’s logging does not threaten biodiversity. Swedwood’s forestry follows the Forest Stewardship Council standard. We are probably world leaders in sustainable forestry. We work closely with environmental organizations and researchers in Russian Karelia. There is no reason for our customers to be worried that our products might threaten biodiversity. We have a very strict policy, and we follow it.


Swedish Radio (SR):

Swedish Radio (SR):

IKEA’s catalog has no fibers from old-growth forests?

IKEA’s website asserts that they do not use fibers from rainforest or from old-growth forest during catalog production. Protect the Forest questions how they can prove this? “The catalog is printed on wholly chlorine-free paper and contains at least 10-15% recycled paper. We do not use fibers from rainforest or from old-growth forest and about 70% of the paper comes from certified forests.”

IKEA on social and environmental issues?

“IKEA’s prices are low, but not at the cost of the environment or human health. It is a fundamental principle for us to do good business. Our customers should always feel secure when they use our products. IKEA’s products are made under acceptable labor conditions by contractors which take environmental responsibility.”

If this is true, Protect the Forest questions why there have been inflamed conflicts with labor unions, and why the company has been severly criticized for its logging of old-growth forest?

Does IKEA use timber from old-growth forests and other forests with high conservation value?

After the criticism of IKEA’s logging from Protect the Forest and others in Swedish public radio in 2010, and after the reveals in German and Swiss TV in 2011, IKEA seems to have changed the policy text on its website. It now reads: “IKEA does not accept illegally logged timber. IKEA does not accept timber from intact old-growth forest, if it has not been certified as responsible forestry.” The last clause is an addition. That is: if the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification accepts the completely unsustainable logging of intact old-growth forests, then it’s all right by IKEA. This is illogical and contradictory. To clear-cut old-growth forest and leave deep scars in the ground is not environmentally sound, whether it has the FSC stamp of approval or not. 

Only timber from certified old-growth forest loggings?

IKEA claims that they only use timber from FSC-certified loggings of old-growth forest. How they can be sure of that? In 2010, he magazine MiljöRapporten quotes Anders Hildeman, forestry manager at IKEA: “Last year 16% of all wood in the company’s solid wood products was FSC-certified. In 2012, that proportion will be 35%.”

But even if the wood is FSC-certified, that does not necessarily mean much, since in many cases the FSC is known to condone the logging of old-growth forest and other forests with high conservation value.


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