Ikea will phase out old growth wood in move toward sustainable sources

Ikea has announced that it will phase out old growth solid wood from its products by next September. Timetables for the removal of old growth non-solid wood will be set after the first deadline is met.

“We’ve been working for a couple of years on this issue and we decided it was time to go public,” an Ikea spokesperson told edie. Ikea has set itself a deadline of September 2000 to remove solid old growth wood from its products, after which the company will work on removing non-solid wood, including reconstituted wood used in furniture.

As certified sustainable wood and wood-based products become available Ikea will buy them, but it has decided not to wait for certified wood to increase its market share before it takes action to protect ancient forests.

“It means a lot of internal training and a lot of effort in tracing,” confirmed the Ikea spokesperson.

The announcement to phase out old growth wood from ancient forests was made at a Brussels press conference jointly organised with Greenpeace.

“Ikea wants to stop being part of the problem,” Patrick Anderson, Greenpeace International’s forest campaigner told edie, “and as time goes by Ikea wants to be part of the solution. They will be providing information about ancient forests in their stores as well.”

“Change is starting to take place,” says Anderson, who cites similar decisions by US DIY giant Home Depot (see related story) and the US division of Homebase as a sign that retailers are listening to environmentalists’ concerns about the future of the world’s remaining ancient forests. “In the UK, B&Q have incorporated a tracking system to fulfil its promise to source only certified wood,” says Anderson. “And International Paper, a big American company, has made a commitment to stop logging or sourcing paper from old growth forests.”

For the time being, Greenpeace is working with Ikea as the company sets up its wood tracking systems. “We’ve been discussing how they set up the monitoring system – including what other companies have done,” says Anderson. “It’s complicated, but they’re committed to it.”

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