IKEA’s “We Love Wood” campaign

17 07 2012

Don’t you just love the fact that you can buy a sofa from IKEA and pay only about $800 – while at the same time bask in self righteous pride that you have acted to support your belief  that you really shouldn’t trash our planet just for a piece of furniture?  At least, you can try to convince yourself that most of  IKEAs claims are true, even though you know they use cheap polyurethane foam in the cushions, the fabric is not organic and probably contains lots of chemicals which might harm you, despite their claim that all products comply with REACH legislation (naturally, because it’s the law in Europe).  REACH, though light years ahead of anything in the US,  still just mandates the substitution for those chemicals which have been identified as being the most dangerous – leaving plenty that still score in the danger category.

Ikea has a new campaign, “We Love Wood” to highlight its claim that they use wood sourced in an environmentally and socially responsible way.   As they say:

We don’t accept illegally felled wood, or wood harvested from intact natural forests. We’re working with suppliers to improve their ability to trace the origin of the wood they use – a requirement for all suppliers of products containing solid wood and board materials. Our long-term goal is to source all wood for IKEA products from forests certified as responsibly managed. Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is so far the only forest certification standard that meets IKEA requirements in this respect.

They are promoting it like crazy – here’s just one YouTube video I found:

So what’s my gripe?

The Global Forestry Coalition (GFC), an alliance of NGOs from more than 40 countries (including Friends of the Earth Sweden), alleged in September 2011 that Ikea’s subsidiary, Swedwood, has been clear-cutting forests, including very old trees, in Russia. Yet NEPCon (a Danish registered non-profit organization which ” works to encourage sustainable use of natural resources worldwide” has certified those operations  to be FSC compliant. GFC has called this logging under the FSC banner “a scandal”.[1]

Naturally NEPCon rushed to defend their certification.  (Click here to read their rebuttal.)

Their response includes the statement that Russian FSC standards do not exclude logging in primeval forest, but rather requires that certified operations take an approach that “preserves the most valuable parts of such areas”.

From the rebuttal:  “Another difference is that the Swedwood  concession area mainly covers forest ecosystems that are naturally influenced by forest fires. Such ecosystems are generally more resilient to clear-cutting than less fire-prone forest ecosystems, such as the native forests of Germany. Fires in the certified concession area happen every 50-300 years, and old trees in the concerned areas show clear marks of forest fire. At clear-cut #3 in compartment 203 of Voinitskoje forest district of Kalevalskoje Lesnichestvo, fires are known to have happened three times during the last 450 years (this is one of the sites mentioned in the complaints).”

Hmmm.  Does anybody have any more information about this?


[1] Environmental Leader,  “IKEA accused of logging old-growth forests”, May 30, 2012, http://www.environmentalleader.com/2012/05/30/ikea-accused-of-logging-old-growth-forests/


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6 responses

17 07 2012
SallyS

There seems to be an awful lot of thinly veiled claims to planetary sustainability, I’ve seen dozens with similar construction – questionable content – and while reports and questions such as yours are invaluable, I’d like to see change made in the exacting of content listing. What a concept. It’s ridiculous, you know that – keep making noise.

18 07 2012
MJ Schroeder

Infuriating!
Here are some links which add some color to the picture:

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2012/07/20127271229830182.html

Another with links to send msgs to I-keel-ya (IKEA):

https://www.rainforest-rescue.org/mailalert/877/stop-ikea-logging-old-growth-forests-in-russia

16 10 2013
Moneca Kaiser

so good to see you stand up to the company that makes us forget what quality is- the anti-green in that they are shlepping disposable furniture that no one can afford. I LOVE your blog, thank you for laying the track.

16 10 2013
O Ecotextiles

Thanks so much Moneca! We certainly appreciate all the support we can muster.
Leigh Anne

16 10 2013
Moneca Kaiser

So nice to hear back from you. We are bringing a product to market that aspires to tell a new story and will be in touch to source upholstery fabrics for it soon.

Might you offer any consulting that might help us work through the cradle to cradle product, with a local production model we are developing?

16 10 2013
O Ecotextiles

Sure, we’d be happy to talk to you about your product. Just give us a call at the number on our website.

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