At IKEA we have a tradition of trying to utilise materials in the best possible way. For our worktops in thick veneer it means that we combine old craftsmanship with modern manufacturing methods. It makes the worktops easier to install, more stable and more resistant to humidity compared to solid worktops. And since we use the whole tree – even the crooked branches and the small twigs – we can save natural resources too.
Our take on wood
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 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.
“At IKEA we have a tradition of trying to utilise the materials we have in the best possible way,” says Johnny Rietz, who’s been involved in developing the kitchen worktops in thick veneer.
The work started in 2008 when IKEA founder, Ingvar Kamprad, visited one of our suppliers and asked a simple question that took some time to answer: ‘How can we make this product using fewer trees?’
Less is more
“After some trials and errors, we came up with the solution. A core of particleboard and a layer of solid wood on the outside – or thick veneer,” says Johnny.
“It’s a combination of traditional craftsmanship and modern manufacturing methods. Paper-thin veneer has been used in fine, decorative furniture making for centuries, but for our worktops we’re using a much thicker layer of wood.”
The thick veneer makes the surface hardwearing, and it saves raw material – a lot of it. From the same amount of wood needed to make one solid worktop, it’s possible to produce five thick veneer worktops.
No wood is wasted
Another advantage with this production technique is that you can use the whole tree; the stem as surface, and scrap bits – curvy, bent branches and small twigs – for the particleboard on the inside. The end result is a worktop that is every bit as genuine as solid wood, only more stable and more resistant to humidity.
“Sometimes a small, harmless question can make a big difference. That’s exactly what happened with our kitchen worktops. It started as a challenge to use resources wiser, and proved to have positive effects not only for the environment, but also the quality. I think it’s great when that happens!” says Johnny.
Forests are critical for life on earth
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.
100% wood from more sustainable sources
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.
IKEA Forest Positive Agenda for 2030
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.
We accomplish more by working together
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.
What is veneer?
A veneer is a thin wooden sheet fixed on things like particleboards to add a durable surface and a natural wood look – so we enjoy the many benefits of wood without using solid wood. The most common veneer types are birch, ash, oak and beech and we’ve made a special UV lacquer that helps preserve the wood's natural structure. A benefit with a slightly thicker veneer is how you can repair and sand the surface if it’s damaged to give furniture a longer and more beautiful life.