IKEA introduced a Sustainability Product Scorecard last year, according to the company’s recently released 2010 sustainability report. The Scorecard classifies IKEA’s products within 11 criteria that have environmental impacts. IKEA’s most important sustainability goal is to offer more sustainable products, and the Scorecard will help the company achieve that goal.
Other sustainability accomplishments highlighted in the report include increasing the company’s use of renewable energy. IKEA almost doubled the amount of its buildings with solar panel systems. The company’s goal is to operate all of its buildings with 100 percent renewable energy. A new store currently under construction in Centennial, Colorado will use geothermal energy. The store will open in fall 2011.
“I’m proud to share with you some of the things that IKEA has accomplished so far together with our customers, co-workers, suppliers and partners such as WWF, UNICEF and Save the Children. Working together means that we can make huge contributions towards a more sustainable future” said IKEA Group President and CEO Mikael Ohlsson.
IKEA working toward goal of 100 percent certified wood supply
In 2007, a Washington Post expose on illegal logging contained a section about IKEA. The expose claimed that only 30 percent of the wood from its Chinese suppliers was inspected by the company annually. The report claims that a joint IKEA and World Wildlife Federation (WWF) project helped increase the amount of Forest Certified Council (FSC) certified forest areas in Northeast China. Six Chinese forest bureaus have 1.4 million hectares that are certified, which represents 88 percent of the total FSC-certified area in China, according to the report.
When it comes to increasing its use of certified wood, IKEA saw progress, with an increase from 16.2 to 23.6 percent. Next year the percentage of certified wood used should go up partly due to the company applying the forestry requirements for wood to board materials as of September 1, 2010. Applying the requirements to board materials more than doubles the amount of wood-based products covered by its requirements.
IKEA’s wood requirements consist of the following:
- Will not accept wood from forests where high conservation values are threatened
- In sensitive areas the forest manager is required to have a certified management plan that respects conservation values
- Requires suppliers to document the origin of their wood
- Suppliers must deliver a wood procurement plan and demonstrate that they have the systems to meet IKEA’s minimum requirements before the IKEA will accept deliveries
The minimum requirements for wood are:
- Not from forests that have been illegally harvested
- Not from forestry operations engaged in forest related social conflicts
- Not harvested in uncertified Intact Natural Forests (INF) or other geographically identified High Conservation Value Forests (hCvF)
- Not harvested from natural forests in the tropical and sub-tropical regions being converted to plantations or non-forest use
- Not from officially recognized and geographically identified commercial Genetically Modified (GM) tree plantations
IKEA’s long term goal is to source all wood used in its products from “forests verified as responsibly managed.” The report acknowledges that sourcing wood globally means that some of the wood comes from “regions that are troubled by illegal logging and other unsustainable forestry practices.” However, IKEA has “systems in place to avoid controversial wood entering the supply chain,” plus the company cooperates with forest managers and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to increase “the availability of wood from responsibly managed forests.”
U.S. legislation, in addition to the 2007 Washington Post expose, might have provided the impetus to increase the amount of certified wood used in IKEA’s products. In 2008, the U.S. congress passed the Lacey Act which prohibits the importation of products containing illegally felled wood. The EU will introduce similar legislation after 2012, and Japan is discussing introducing similar legislation.