Ikea Under Fire for Logging Old-Growth Forests
May 31, 2012
Swedish-owned Ikea’s logging practices are under fire by the Global Forestry Coalition for logging old-growth forests and other high conservation value forests in Russian Karelia through its subsidiary, Swedwood.
A petition was launched by Swedish NGO Protect the Forest, a member of the Global Forest Coalition (GFC), to encourage Ikea and Swedwood to alter their forestry practices. The Global Forest Coalition --an alliance of NGOs with members in more than 40 countries.
Protect the Forest and Russian environmental organization SPOK, conducted a field inspection in Russian Karelia, which revealed that Ikea’s wholly-owned subsidiary Swedwood, had clear-cut forests with high biodiversity value and very old trees.
“It is very sad that forests that have taken centuries to mature can be lost in a few days,” said Andrei Laletin of Friends of the Siberian Forests, Global Forest Coalition focal point in Russia. “Thanks to Ikea’s promotion of the mass-consumption of cheap timber products, people’s appreciation of the true value of old forests is being undermined, and this threatens the rights of future generations to enjoy the benefits of our forest heritage,”
Ikea uses the “We Love Wood” tag line on products to promote its claim of using only environmentally-sourced wood. Swedwood is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), which claims to ensure ‘responsibly managed forests.’
“The company NEPCon, which certifies that Swedwood’s forestry complies with FSC standards, allows the logging of trees which are 200-600 years old,” said Linda Ellegaard Nordström, board member of Protect the Forest. “This is nothing but a scandal!”
Ikea said that the average age of the trees it harvests in Karelia are 160 years. The company also said that what’s important when looking at total forest management is not the age of individual trees or the presence of old stumps from earlier logging, but proper management that plans logging in accordance with sound conservation procedures.
“Approximately 17 percent of Swedwood’s total leasehold in Karelia is exempt from cutting, either by legislative demand or voluntarily. This is far above all legal requirements and more than what is required of us in the FSC standard,” Anders Hildeman, forest manager at Ikea wrote in a letter to GFC, which the organization posted on its site. “The level corresponds to the goal set by the UN in the Global Convention on Biological Diversity. When the leasehold limits were determined in 2004, we gave up areas of about 9 percent of the total leasehold in dialogue with Greenpeace. The reason for this was that the natural values of these areas were considered too high to conduct responsible forestry.” Hildman concluded the letter stating, however, that “much remains to be done to improve forestry in Karelia.”
According to Protect the Forest, Ikea also is not paying enough attention to the social impact of its logging activities in Russian Karelia, including “a lack of dialogue and low wages.”
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