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.
Which stands to reason, paper is such a useful material that over 400 million tons are produced around the world each year. Our goal is to minimize paper's impact on the planet, that's why we use recycled paper as much as possible, make fresh paper from responsibly sourced wood and design products that use less raw materials without losing any of their practicality. Products like the TJENA, FJÄLLA and KVARNVIK storage boxes.
"Sustainability is part of a common goal that we put into all our products," says Jakub Brat, one of the developers of TJENA, FJÄLLA and KVARNVIK. "The fewer raw materials we use to make a product without taking away it's functionality or quality, means we can reduce each products environmental impact and lower its price too." It's this goal of using less raw materials and better use of recycled paper that's shaped the development of the TJENA, FJÄLLA and KVARNVIK storage boxes. "Our idea for these boxes was to design storage for magazines, stationery — things around the home," Jakub explains. "So once we had determined practical sizes and how strong they had to be, we looked at the best way to construct them."
Paper is amazingly versatile in that, after its life as a newspaper or cereal box, it can be washed down into a pulp and reused as something else. As part of the recycling process some of the paper is washed away so fresh paper needs to be added. This fresh paper (also known as virgin paper) uses wood pulp that comes from forests following our strict requirements to ensure that the wood is grown and harvested responsibly. "The boxes are made of at least 80% recycled paper and up to 20% virgin paper," Jakub says. "The reason we add virgin paper is because it has fresh fibers which are stronger and give needed strength to recycled parts.” By making the boxes with a recyled paper core and a virgin paper surface, we can use as much recycled paper as possible, while still securing a strong storage box. Along with the strength boost, it also lets us print patterns and colors in a nice way too.
Along with material, the other way we looked to make the boxes more sustainable was the design itself. "TJENA and FJÄLLA are actually replacements for previous box storage we made called KASSETT," Jakub says. "Which though popular, was a little fussy to put together with screws to hold the parts in place." Taking away the screws, an envelope style construction was developed, which has the double advantage of being 100% recyclable as well as easier to put together. We're looking to continue developing ways to use paper in the most responsible way, from ensuring our paper comes from more sustainable sources, to reusing paper waste to make something new. Even after you've had years of practical service from these boxes, they can be recycled into something useful again.
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.