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Greenpeace: 'IKEA furniture destroys some of Europe’s last remaining ancient forests'

Furniture manufacturers producing for IKEA are sourcing wood from some of Europe's last remaining old-growth forests in the Romanian Carpathians, including in Natura 2000 protected areas, new report finds. A Greenpeace investigation reveals that seven manufacturers producing IKEA's all-time favourite products, like INGOLF chairs or SNIGLAR baby cribs and beds for children, are linked to the destruction of high-conservation value forests.

At least 30 different products from these suppliers were found in IKEA stores in 13 countries: Austria, Belgium, Czechia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Israel, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland, and the UK. Greenpeace calls on IKEA to become part of the solution instead of contributing to the ongoing climate and biodiversity crises.

Robert Cyglicki, Biodiversity Campaign Director at Greenpeace Central and Eastern Europe, said: 'Our nature heritage can't be turned into pieces of furniture. Old forests are vital to the planet's health and must be immediately protected. IKEA must live up to its own sustainability promises and clean up its supply chain from old-growth forest destruction.'

Photo © Dreamstime.

Investigation teams followed the supply chain from analysing permits and satellite imagery of logging sites in the forests in Romania to wood depots and furniture manufacturers, to where those products end up: on the shelves of IKEA stores. Several manufacturers were found to be sourcing wood from high conservation value forests. Based on publicly available information, IKEA is the biggest customer of products manufactured by most of those companies, implying a high likelihood that the problematic wood is ending up in IKEA furniture. According to the report, this appears certain in the case of one manufacturer, Plimob, as Plimob produces virtually exclusively for IKEA.

Greenpeace CEE gave IKEA the opportunity to comment on the findings of this investigation. IKEA didn't dispute the information. Of the manufacturers, one acknowledged receipt of timber from a Natura 2000 area, stating that such destruction is not illegal, while several did not respond.

Greenpeace recognises that furniture in general is a good way of using wood, storing carbon and adding value to raw materials, but this must not happen while sacrificing the planet's most biologically diverse forests. The Carpathians are home to brown bears, lynx and wolves and the European bison and are among the most important flora and fauna refuges on the European continent. The problem is that companies and authorities want to avoid identifying areas as primary or old-growth forests to avoid restrictions, leading to the fact that only just 2.4% (1700 km²) of the Romanian Carpathian forests are currently protected against logging. At the same time, official data suggests that around 7% of the Romanian forests are over 120 years old.

According to the EU's Biodiversity strategy, these forests should be strictly protected. 'IKEA must become a corporate frontrunner for the needed political action to put in place legally binding and effective biodiversity protection measures to fulfil Europe's biodiversity targets,' concludes Cyglicki.

Source: Greenpeace

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