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.
So many things that you might associate with IKEA sprang from that moment, from the flat pack, to the idea of assembling your own furniture, to the ultimately more affordable price tag that comes with doing things yourself. And the slightly too large table? These days it's called LÖVBACKEN and it's almost identical to that original table from the 50's.
If we look back to 1955, we can see Gillis, the marketing director of the still newly established IKEA exiting a furniture maker's workshop in rural Sweden. In his hands he has a sample of LÖVET, a graceful, leaf-shaped coffee table, to bring back to the IKEA headquarters. We can imagine him get to his car, open the trunk and flip the table to fit it inside. Only it doesn't. Maybe now he moves towards the front seat, angling the table in legs first in an attempt to fit it in. A shuffle here, a twist there. No luck. It's now perhaps eyeing the legs that he comes up with a plan. Why not just saw them off and reattach them later? The rest, as they say, is history. By tapping into the idea that it would be easier and more affordable for people to transport their new flat packed furniture home themselves and then assemble it themselves, the IKEA Concept was born.
Flash forward to 2013 and product developer Glen Bengtsson sits with IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad in the small Swedish town of Älmhult. Amongst plans for new products, Ingvar has a special request. "He wanted us to have a look into the treasury books for some 'good old products' that we could bring back again," Glen says. "Over the years we could see that many people were very interested in these classic designs, and we felt the time was right to bring some back." Working with the Kamprad family, Glen says it was decided to remake a series of classic furniture from the 50's and 60's, including the most iconic piece of all — the coffee table LÖVET. The only hitch was that no one had the plans anymore. "We actually had to go to the IKEA museum to borrow one of their exhibits so we could trace the shape, weigh the table and photocopy the legs to prepare for production." Glen says.
The aim of production was to produce a replica as true to the original as possible, with one important difference. "We no longer use the original jacaranda wood for the tabletop," Glen says. "It's an endangered species these days, so we now use more sustainable species, cut in a way so that they look identical. If you have the two side by side, it's almost impossible to tell the difference." The new version renamed LÖVBACKEN, now joins the IKEA family. Naturally it comes in a flat pack with the legs separate for assembly at home. Just like the original table from all those years ago.
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.