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Pine – our favourite material and how we work with it

Wood, and pine especially, has been a key resource for IKEA from the start. But with big volumes come great responsibility. We asked Ulf Johansson, IKEA Global Wood Supply Forestry Manager, about the material itself, and how it’s sourced.

Airy bedroom interior dominated by wood choices and greenery, a three-drawer chest standing close to the bed’s end.
Airy bedroom interior dominated by wood choices and greenery, a three-drawer chest standing close to the bed’s end.
Face-focused sketch of IKEA Global Wood Supply Forestry Manager, Ulf Johansson: hint of a smile, short hair.

What’s so special about pine?

There are many reasons to like it, but from my point of view the versatility is simply outstanding. Pine can be used in so many ways. The beautiful, solid core wood is great, but using what’s left is a real opportunity. Everything from the best qualities to scrap and sawdust become veneer, plywood, particle board and more – virtually nothing is wasted.

IKEA uses quite a lot of wood. How do you balance the outtake?

As a renewable material, pine is an ideal environmental choice to begin with. But our responsibility doesn’t end there. It’s imperative that the wood is responsibly sourced. We have a long-term goal stating that all wood used in IKEA products should come from More Sustainable Sources (MSS). This means either recycled wood or wood from FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified forests. The goal is 100 per cent in 2020 and we are almost there.

How far have you come?

We work closely with suppliers and strategic partners like WWF towards minimising our impact on the environment. Our suppliers must comply with IKEA forestry demands. Today, we are at 90 per cent MSS. However, in high-risk countries – meaning countries with a higher risk for illegal logging, corruption or social conflicts – we are at 100 per cent. A fantastic achievement from our partners!

IKEA and pine, a match made in heaven?

I think it has definitely played a big part for IKEA. Blond, lightly treated wood has become a mark of Scandinavian furniture tradition and something that has set us apart. To me, the natural look and feel of pine is the essence of a natural material in our furniture.

Do you have any personal favourites among wooden products?

I obviously have a sweet spot for all things pine, but I could mention KNAGGLIG, a simple box made from untreated pine slats. As it’s made from the less desired parts of the tree, it’s precisely the kind of product that works towards sustainable sourcing.

A big table in untreated, blond wood in a room painted in rich colours; large blond-wood wall shelf with pottery in back.
Two blond-wood chairs placed on floor-protective paper. Otherwise untreated, the chairs are being painted in a dark shade.
I love how this material looks, the uniqueness of its marks and colouring. But even better is the feel of it. The touch of a carefully crafted wooden surface is unlike anything else.

Ulf Johansson

We love to see our customers get creative with our products. Go for it! But please note that altering or modifying IKEA products so they can no longer be re-sold or used for their original purpose, means the IKEA commercial guarantees and your right to return the products will be lost.