UN has declared 2011 the International Year of Forests to celebrate people’s action to sustainably manage the world’s forests. In this spirit, we want to show our love for wood and what we do to take responsibility for the forests. This is an insight into how IKEA works with wood and sustainability.
We have been wood fans since the early 50’s. To be honest – back then it was for economical reasons more than environmental. Wood was a low cost and high quality material that was perfect in our flat pack furniture world. And since we hate wasting stuff, we love the fact that every piece of the wood can be put to good use, all the way down to the sawdust.
We want to let customers and co-workers know the responsibility we take for our greatest resource, and that we are all united in one thing: We love wood.
Today, we know that wood is probably one of the best building materials in the world. And for the world. A tree is not only beautiful to look at, it absorbs CO2, it stores the sun’s energy in carbohydrates and releases oxygen. And wood is biodegradable, recyclable, highly sustainable and renewable. But it’s also exciting, unpredictable and beautiful!
Earlier, we were able to make 13 STUVA storage boxes from the wood of one tree. Today, one tree is enough for 23 of them. How did we do it? We replaced some wood with air.
Create more from less
Products cannot be made without raw materials. The more we consume, the more raw materials we need. It is therefore important to use materials in a smart way, a way that is good for both people and the environment. In the case of IKEA, this means using more renewable, recyclable or recycled materials. With 60% of the purchase value on the range being wood-based, we are continuously looking at how to create more from less with for example lightweight and resource-efficient construction.
By working very closely together with the industry, we can find solutions and improvements that will use less material and reduce the weight, but where the look and feel of the surface will stay the same as with solid material. To use solid wood would in many instances not only be too expensive but it would also use up too much material resources and the weight would be too heavy for transport.
Two of the solutions we have developed are Board on Frame and Board on Stiles. These technologies make it possible to within a solid wood frame place an interior that is not solid wood. The result is a material that is strong, but still light.
What is the point of air in furniture?
Wood is the most important raw material for IKEA and it is used in many of our products, even if you cannot always see it. And we hate to waste resources. Have a look at these products, all made with new technologies, to make the most of every tree.
IKEA and WWF work together in a global partnership in order to strengthen and increase actions to improve environmental conditions. IKEA was one of the compa¬nies that together with Green¬peace and WWF initiated and founded the Forest Steward¬ship Council (FSC) in 1993. The co-operation, started in 2002, has so far contributed to increasing the FSC-certified forest area with millions of hectares in Russia, China, Bulgaria and Romania. The partnership has also resulted in identifying forests with high conservation values and has helped to improve forest legislation.
IKEA and WWF cooperate in projects in important wood sourcing regions such as Russia and China, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Romania and Ukraine.
The main focus within these projects is to combat illegal logging, promote credible forest certification and responsible timber trade as well as to protect high conservation value forests.
IKEA has 16 employed forestry specialists. Their most important tasks are to confirm the origin of the wood, to secure that it meets our minimum requirements and to increase the amount of wood from responsibly managed forests.
According to IKEA minimum requirements, timber should not come from:
Fact sheet, Forestry
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Key company information
As of 31st August 2010, the IKEA Group had a total of 280 stores in 26 countries. Founded in Sweden in 1943, IKEA offers home furnishings with good design and function at low prices so the many people can afford them. IKEA incorporates environmentally friendly efforts into day-to-day business and continuously supports initiatives benefiting causes such as children and the environment.