Wood is essential to the IKEA identity, as are forests to Ulf's.
And over the last 20 years, Ulf has seen significant changes in the way forests and forest management have been perceived. In 2000, when he started working with IKEA as a forestry manager in Southeast Asia, he was what he calls the first generation of foresters that were tasked with developing wood sourcing requirements and implementing the good ways of doing it.
"No company at that time was asking suppliers to present reports to indicate the origin of the wood and put similar requirements on their sub-suppliers. Today, we have a solid base of suppliers who share our values and business model, putting responsible wood sourcing at the heart of their and our business," says Ulf.But Ulf believes there is still a lot that needs to be done. The good news is that IKEA has started well on its journey; being transparent about the wood we use is one part of it. The bigger journey, however, is towards 2030.
In January 2021, IKEA launched the new Forest Positive Agenda for 2030 for improved forest management and biodiversity globally. The agenda also includes ramping up the work to mitigate climate change, driving innovation to use wood in smarter ways and securing that at least one-third of the IKEA wood range is made from recycled wood.
Currently, approximately 15 per cent of wood used at IKEA comes from recycled wood. The IKEA business is becoming more resource-efficient, one step at a time and transitioning into a circular business. This includes working to make all its sourcing and materials more sustainable.
When it comes to wood usage, in FY20, IKEA reached its goal to only use wood from more sustainable sources. In FY22, 99.9 per cent of the wood used for IKEA products was either Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified or recycled.
Despite these efforts, the pressure on the world's forests and surrounding ecosystems are rising, cautions Ulf. As the world moves away from virgin fossil materials, the demand for forest products increases, adding more pressure on forest resources. It affects 1.6 billion people who rely on forests for their livelihoods worldwide.
"Responsibly managed forests can support the livelihoods of people who depend on forests, safeguard biodiversity and provide a sustainable wood supply. Forests can also mitigate climate change. Many forests used for wood production in the world today have the potential to remove more carbon from the atmosphere by more active management," says Ulf.