Wood is the material most commonly associated with IKEA furniture, and for good reasons. It’s renewable, recyclable, durable, ages beautifully and it is an important part of our Scandinavian design heritage. At IKEA we believe that sourced in a responsible way, wood is a key change driver for climate mitigation. In 2012, we set a goal that by 2020 our wood would be from more sustainable sources. We are happy to announce that we have reached this goal and today, more than 98% of the wood used for IKEA products is either FSC-certified or recycled.
Today we’ve achieved the goal that all the wood which we use for our outdoor furniture comes from more sustainable sources, which means that it is certified or recycled wood. The transition has been a given for us at IKEA, but it has also been a challenge. Much of the wood used for our outdoor furniture comes from Southeast Asia, where it has been difficult to gain a good insight into the entire process from forest and sawmills to the factory. But through close cooperation with suppliers and local authorities, we’ve achieved the result, says Ulf Johansson, who works with wood supply and forestry. "More sustainable forestry requires perseverance and long-term thinking, since profits are not achieved quickly, and many of our growers are small companies with limited resources. But we have been able to support them in this process both financially and in terms of knowledge-sharing", says Ulf.
Outdoor furniture must be durable, and throughout history, teak, which is a very hard wood, has been a popular choice of material. But the availability of teak produced in a more sustainable way is far too small, so to achieve our goal, we started looking for alternative wood types. Ove Lindén is an engineer and was working for IKEA in Malaysia when he discovered acacia's positive qualities in the early 2000s. "At the time it was not used for furniture, but was grown mainly for the paper industry. But when we saw people also made fence posts from acacia, we supposed it was resistant to rotting and durable ‒ and would also suit outdoor furniture. In addition, it has a beautiful color tone, just like teak", says Ove, and explains how acacia, which grows mainly in Malaysia and Vietnam, is grown on plantations where IKEA can have a good overview of the entire necessary production chain.
Today, we use acacia for, among other things, ÄPPLARÖ, one of our most long-living outdoor furniture series. Over the years, new items have been added, and today ÄPPLARÖ is found in outdoor environments throughout the world. Ove Lindén has a theory of why it has become so long-lived. "It's a timeless and neutral series that suits many surroundings. In addition, over the years we’ve been able to streamline production and thereby keep the price down." The discovery of acacia has made us curious about finding more wood species from sustainable forestry. The journey continues towards higher quality and increased durability ‒ for you who use the furniture, yet also for people and the environment throughout the world where our furniture is manufactured.
Forests contribute to maintaining balance in the atmosphere, purify the air that we breathe and are part of the water cycle. They nourish wildlife biodiversity and provide homes for indigenous communities who depend on forests for their livelihoods. 90% of plant and animal species living on the planet need forests to survive. They provide sources of food, fuel, timber and many other ecosystem services that we rely upon. Sourcing approximately 19 million m3 of roundwood per year from some 50 countries, IKEA has a significant impact on the world’s forests and the timber industry and a huge responsibility to positively influence how wood is sourced. Responsible wood sourcing and forest management ensure that the needs of people dependent on forests are met, that businesses can work sustainably, that forest ecosystems are protected and biodiversity is enhanced.
At IKEA, we work with strict industry standards to promote responsible forestry. We don’t allow any wood in our supply chain from forest areas that are illegal or contain high conservation values or from forest areas with social conflict. Before starting to work with IKEA, suppliers must demonstrate that they meet IKEA critical requirements on wood sourcing. IKEA requires all suppliers to source wood from more sustainable sources (FSC-certified or recycled wood). All suppliers are audited regularly and non-compliant suppliers are required to implement immediate corrective actions. By working together with our suppliers, we are proud to announce that we have reached our more sustainable sources goal, which we set out to achieve by 2020. Today more than 98% of the wood used for IKEA products is either FSC-certified or recycled.
As pressure on the world’s forests and the surrounding eco-systems increases due to unsustainable agriculture, the expansion of infrastructure and illegal logging, it is time to take an even more holistic approach to protect and support these important resources for generations to come. The IKEA Forest Positive Agenda for 2030 set out to improve forest management, enhance biodiversity, mitigate climate change and support the rights and needs of people who depend on forests across the whole supply chain and drive innovation to use wood in even smarter ways. The agenda focuses on three key areas: • Making responsible forest management the norm across the world. • Halting deforestation and reforesting degraded landscapes. • Driving innovation to use wood in smarter ways by designing all products from the very beginning to be reused, refurbished, remanufactured, and eventually recycled.
For many years, IKEA has partnered with businesses, governments, social groups and non-governmental organisations to fight forest degradation and deforestation and increase the volume and availability of wood from responsibly managed forests both for our own supply chain and beyond. We are on a journey to improve global forest management and make responsible wood sourcing the industry standard, contributing to building resilient forest landscapes and improve biodiversity.