Thursday, June 28, 2012

Bad Idea, IKEA

You've probably heard of IKEA. You may even have some of their furniture in your home. If so, you might look at it a little differently knowing that its wood could have come from a Russian tree that was quietly unfurling from the soil about the time that the first European set foot on the North American continent. 

Can you say, "Old growth?"

Photo of Russian taiga forest by Anzhi86/ Wikimedia.

It seems that IKEA's subsidiary, Swedwood (recently investigated for foul working conditions in its U.S. production plant in Danville, VA) is now under scrutiny by the Global Forest Coalition for willy-nilly logging practices that have fragmented ancient forests in Russia's Karelia region.

Swedwood is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, which should mean something, but reputed holes in Russian FSC regulation may have allowed Swedewood to clear-cutold-growth forests under the guise of "responsible forestry." 

FYI: Around 60 percent of IKEA's furnishings are made from wood of some form. To produce them, the company logs about 1,400 acres of forest annually.

Personally, I love the idea of reclaimed wood furniture. Every item we buy has a past, but not all of them come with such a high price

Read the official response from IKEA's forest manager.

Dig deeper into the IKEA-Swedwood scandal on Mother Nature Network, The Guardian, and the L.A. Times

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