After being exposed by the German NGO Robin Wood for having paper products linked to deforestation in Indonesia (Mixed Tropical Hardwood and Acacia) the Swedish furniture giant Ikea communicated a new policy on paper based products. Until to the end of May 2014 the production of “the whole Paper Shop range” will be converted to “fiber sources of either fully FSC-certified wood or recycled”. This policy was disclosed in writing by Anders Hildeman, Global Forestry Manager with Ikea, to Robin Wood, after the environmental organization had published the results of fiber analyses.

 On November 20th, Robin Wood exposed the link between Ikea's products and deforestation. The NGO had randomly tested stationery from Ikea and the analyses found that notebooks from the furniture store Ikea contain pulp produced by the destruction of tropical forests. This is proven by fiber analyses. In several paper products from the Ikea series Särskild cellulose fibers were found originating from the group of the so-called “Mixed Tropical Hardwood“ (MTH). This shows that trees from tropical forest areas were used in the chemical pulping process. One of the notebooks was composed to approximately twelve percent of fourteen different tropical wood fibers.

Other goods from the IKEA range of stationery products also contain problematical pulp from the tropics. Concerned are the products groups Framställa (gift bags, tissue paper), Historisk (paper tags, notebooks) and Växtglädje (notebooks). They contained pulp of acacias. This tree species grows on huge plantations in Southeast Asia that were planted for the pulp industry, particularly in Indonesia. The conversion of the tropical forests into acacia plantations is still taking place there on a larger scale. Responsible companies that do not want to be associated with this destruction of forests therefore abstain from the usage of such plantation woods.

“Obviously Ikea has recognized that they have to improve their purchasing of paper. That’s a good thing, but we furthermore miss a clear preference for products made from recycled paper”, states Rudolf Fenner, head of the forest unit with Robin Wood.

Products made from recovered and recycled paper consume much less wood, water and energy resources than fresh pulp papers, says Robin Wood, while the production of FSC certified papers on the contrary does not save a single one of these resources, but only attests the respect of social and ecological minimum standards in the forest and plantation management the wood raw materials used originates from.

An improved paper policy with IKEA should apply consequently moreover not only to the Paper Shop range of products but also to the entire field of papers, for example to packaging and catalogues as well as paper for internal and external communication. Robin Wood has therefore asked IKEA to disclose where the raw materials for all of the papers come from and to expose when these papers will be completely converted to recycled or at least FSC certified fiber proveniences. “Only then”, thus Fenner, “becomes visible how credible Ikea's paper policy really is”.

Furthermore, Ikea up to now still owes us an explanation of how – in spite of allegedly documented and monitored raw materials supply chains – the processing of wood from tropical forests for its stationery was possible.

Ikea has up to now also failed to present a timetable and an action plan on how in the next six months the complete conversion of the Paper Shop to recycled or at least to FSC certified paper products should take place.

Robin Wood will therefore continue to press for consistently ecological paper standards with Ikea and for verifiable measures for their implementation.

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