Furniture giant, IKEA, does it again by trying to save the planet by conserving the forests, one tree at a time!
Wood is essential for our survival, we use it for fuel, and we use it to build. Almost everything we use came from a tree – paper, utensils, the frames on our walls, and the tables we eat on. But as we all know, to use these trees, we need to cut them down.
When we think of deforestation, we usually think of trees being cut down to be used for the previously mentioned reasons. Deforestation doesn’t only happen because we need the wood to make goods; we also need the space. Earth’s human population is rising, and, as such, more land is needed to accommodate. Deforestation is a major contributor to global warming.
IKEA’s Plan of Action
While most of us wouldn’t think of a company that makes almost everything it sells from wood as a good thing, one of IKEA’s strategies is to become climate positive and keep true to its principles – protecting the environment and decreasing its carbon footprint.
The Ingka Group, which owns IKEA, recently purchased 10,840 acres of forest in southeast Georgia. The land was once a working forest, meaning the trees there were destined to be chopped down and harvested one day.
IKEA purchased the land from the Conservation Fund, a non-profit that buys up working forest land to protect it. Once they have obtained the land and ensured it would remain protected, the organization resells the land.
“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 it’s prone to break up into subdivisions and smaller and smaller pieces. And 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.”Brian Dangler; vice president and director of the Working Forest Fund at the Conservation Fund
Why This Forest Is Important
Of course, keeping trees intact to help combat global warming is alone a great reason to keep this particular southeast Georgia forest where it is. There are also other important factors, however.
This forest is also home to a priority conservation species of tortoise. The gopher tortoise is found in the Altamaha River Basin, where the forest bought by IKEA can be found. Their action in purchasing the land will help ensure the gopher tortoise a better chance of survival.
Accordingly, It should be noted that the Ingka group has legally pledged to restore the Georgia longleaf pine forest and, in turn, provide protection and safe habitat for the gopher tortoise, the only species of land tortoise native to the southeastern U.S., according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
IKEA Saving US Forests
Another key point, the Ingka Group owns around 136,000 acres of forest in five states. That’s a substantial amount. According to Fast Company:
“no significant amount” of wood from the forests is currently used in Ikea products; the primary focus of the investments is to ensure that the land is sustainably managed. The annual growth of the trees is larger than the amount of timber that is harvested.
Thanks to this recent move, IKEA is proving their efforts in becoming a carbon-neutral company. In a recent announcement, they have also stated that the company will start buying used IKEA furniture from customers to fix and resell. And to top it off, they are using electric vans when transporting their products and using less carbon-emitting materials in both packaging and product!