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IKEA becomes first company to have its very own forest

2 min read

31 July 2015

In order to have more control over what it considers to be its most important raw material, IKEA went and bought itself a forest.

IKEA is likely the world’s largest single consumer of wood. That’s how a 2013 article written by Ryan Gorman regarding IKEA’s need for wood starts. It may even be true. After all, a report by Pacific Standard found that the company uses one per cent of the world’s wood supply to create its furniture.

According to Gorman, IKEA needs so much wood that it has a subsidiary company that handles the production of all wood-based furniture. In fact, the retailer used the equivalent of 530 million cubic feet of round wood last fiscal year – or about 14 Empire State buildings – excluding paper and packaging. 

The retailers plans for domination fell flat slightly at the beginning of 2014 when it was banned from cutting trees in Russia’s Karelia forest by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). It had found that IKEA’s subsidiary had violated its logging agreement. Of course, the company appealed, and the FSC lifted its suspension.

This may have been the reasoning behind the company buying itself a forest.

That’s right, IKEA now owns a forest in Romania – making it the first time that a company manages its own forest operations. IKEA allegedly bought the forest from Greengold Swedish, run by the former partners of Harvard University in Romania.

Harvard University gave up part of the forest in January, amid a huge corruption scandal related to overcharged sale prices. According to Digi 24, this acquisition means that IKEA will hold 0.5 per cent of the total area of forests in Romania.

IKEA said owning and operating forests would help it secure long-term access to sustainably managed wood at affordable prices. Furthermore, it would use some of the wood to locally make furniture for its store in Bucharest.

The move comes as IKEA sets itself target of doubling sales to €50bn by 2020. It would involve more than doubling the volume of products it sells, according to IKEA’s head of sustainability, Steve Howard. IKEAsaid owningand operating forests would help it secure long-term access tosustainably managed wood at affordable prices.