IKEA Buys 11,000 Acres of Georgia Forest

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IKEA is making investments into its climate positivity commitments, and the strategy is an interesting one. FastCompany reports that Ikea’s parent company, Ingka Group, purchased 11,000 acres of forest in the state of Georgia from the non-profit group Conservation Fund.

The goal, rather than use the land for timber for its wooden home furnishings, is to protect the local ecosystem.

This is part of the company’s strategy to be climate positive by 2030, which includes things like investing in trees to remove carbon dioxide pollution from the atmosphere. It also means reducing emissions in its supply chain by using EVs, renewable energy, upcycling and recycling furniture, etc. The purpose of Ingka Group and the Conservation Fund buying up large swaths of land comes down to preventing further divisions and breakups of the land, which, when broken into smaller and smaller pieces, disrupt the ecosystem and local species.

However, even though Ikea has purchased this land for conservation purposes, it also has the ability to source timber from the land. A company spokesperson has said that “no significant amount” of wood is used from the forest’s trees, and that the annual growth of the forest is higher than the amount of timber harvested.

Ingka Group now owns 136,000 acres of forest in five U.S. states, though IKEA remains the largest consumer of wood in the world, a number that has doubled in the last decade – and 2020 wasn’t all improvements to IKEA’s conservation mission. In fact, in the summer of 2020, IKEA fell into the spotlight for sourcing illegal timber in eastern Europe.

On this MarketScale industry update, hosts Daniel Litwin and Tyler Kern discuss the tension between the company’s stated goals and its recent Ukrainian controversy, what it takes for companies to truly enact change instead of giving empty promises, and more.

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