Swedish furniture giant IKEA now owns 616,000 acres of protected forests as it aims to stop development with the latest purchase of more than 11,000 acres of forests in the U.S.
A subsidiary of IKEA, the Ingka Group finalised the purchase of an 11,000 acre forest in the state of Georgia that looked set to be developed in the near future for the property market.
Now, though, Ingka has secured ownership rights for the plot of forest that is central to IKEA’s new “climate positive” pledge for the turn of the decade. The IKEA subsidiary worked alongside the Conservation Fund to secure the 11,000 acre forest plot to stop development.
It comes around two years after IKEA purchased a 25,000 acre forested area in Alabama, and now owns more than 136,000 acres of forests in the United States. In total, IKEA now owns more than 616,00 acres of protected forests as it aims to stop development and deforestation around the globe.
Vice President and Director of the Working Forest Fund, within the Conservation Fund has said that “we buy threatened forests, which are owned by investors that have perhaps short term tenure, and often they get broken up in this area – it’s a high-growth area and its prone to break up into subdivisions and smaller pieces.”
“When you break up the function of large intact forests – tens of thousands of acres – it gets reduced very quickly. So, we try to keep them whole,” he added.
The Conservation Fund often purchases large plots of forest, puts in place new, permanent environmental protections that are bound by law, and then resells land. In total, the fund has purchased more than 8-million acres of forested area in the United States.
Central to IKEA’s environmental and “forest-positive agenda,” in their words, is the commitment to implement more than 98% recycled or FSC-certified wood for the construction of its products. IKEA says that at a minimum, “at least one-third of IKEA wood range will be made from recycled wood.”
Interestingly, IKEA has expressed interest in working solely with organisations that have been certified by third parties for an environmental management team. The press release reads that IKEA will use only wood that is from “more sustainable sources [that are] certified by the most credible, global third-party certification systems.”
IKEA Group CEO, Jon Abrahamsson Ring has said that the company wants to make “forest management the norm, to stop deforestation, enhance biodiversity and support people who depend on forests for their livelihood.”
Ring continued to explain that “by enforcing strict requirements, and partnering with different organisations across the world, we have contributed to moving the forestry sector forward. Still the pressure on the world’s forests and the surrounding ecosystems is increasing,” he added.
So far, the IKEA Group has pledged more than 200 million euros of investment into climate-positive actions, including restoring degraded forests, carbon capture technologies and purchasing forests to ensure they are not flattened for development.
President and CEO of the Conservation Fund, Larry Selzer has said that “well-managed forests provide essential benefits, including clean water and important wildlife habitat, as well as mitigating climate change.”
“The transfer of these lands to Ingka Investments completes our Working Forest Fund process, through which we identify and buy important, at-risk forests; develop sustainable harvest and restoration plans; (and) secure permanent conservation protections to block fragmentation and development.”
Ulf Johansson, IKEA’s Wood Supply and Forestry Manager has said that “as a large user of wood, for many years we have consciously worked to use our scale and global reach as a driver for positive change in the forestry sector, particularly in regions facing challenges.”
“Wood is also a key material for the future and for reaching our ambitions to become circular and climate positive,” Johansson said, adding that wood is “durable, renewable, recyclable and beautiful.”