Those labyrinthine IKEA showrooms full of dirt-cheap shelving units have to come from somewhere. According to a report released May 16 by the Global Forest Coalition, some of them are clear-cut from old-growth forests in Western Russia.
According to the report, the Swedish nongovernmental organization Protect the Forest and the Russian environmental organization SPOK conducted a field inspection in the Russian Karelia, an area along the border with Finland, and found IKEA’s wholly owned subsidiary Swedwood was clear-cutting virgin trees 200 to 600 years old and in areas of “high conservation value.”
The Global Forest Coalition, an alliance of NGOs with members in more than 40 countries including Protect the Forest, has begun a petition drive that it hopes will persuade IKEA to reform the company’s logging practices.
"In response to our critique, Ikea has so far only answered with lies, claiming that they do in fact not cut virgin forests or forests with high conservation values, saying that the forests they log in Karelia are only 160 years old, with only a few older trees scattered around," said Daniel Rutschman and Linda Ellegaard Nordström, both of Protect the Forest, via email. They noted that their investigation began after a conference in Russia in 2008, and that Rutschman has been part of the investigations in 2010 and 2011. "We have our own documentation, statements from Russian NGOs and the international mapping project that proves the opposite."
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