WWF and IKEA work together in partnership on timber and cotton to increase the amount of FSC-certified wood available on the market, combat illegal timber trade, identify and protect ancient forests, and support more sustainable cotton production.
“We have chosen to partner with WWF to help us on our journey towards being People and Planet Positive”, says Simon Henzell-Thomas, Sustainability Policy Manager & Head of Stakeholder Engagement at Inter IKEA Group. “IKEA and WWF share objectives on the responsible and sustainable use of natural resources. WWF has deep expertise in the timber and cotton markets, both important raw materials for IKEA, which makes them a natural partner to help support and challenge us towards our ambitious sustainability goals.”
Healthy, well-managed forests are essential for a living planet. And responsible forest management is at the heart of the WWF and IKEA partnership. Through joint field projects and advocacy, we are calling on a number of governments around the world to implement stronger legislation to combat illegal logging and illegal timber trade and support responsible forest management.
Together, through responsible forest management, we want to ensure that high conservation values are maintained or enhanced in forests.
Beginning with just five forest projects in seven countries in 2002, today, we collaborate in 13 countries on a variety of projects which benefit both people and the environment.
IKEA has minimum requirements for all wood used in its products and collaborates with WWF and the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) to support responsible forest management. In IKEA fiscal year 2015, the proportion of FSC-certified or reclaimed wood in the IKEA range increased to 50 per cent. The long-term goal is that by 2020 all wood used in IKEA products is recycled or comes from forests that are responsibly managed (FSC-certified). In sensitive high-risk areas, requirements are higher and the aim is that these forests are certified by 2017.
“An FSC-certified forest means that forest managers follow rules for environmentally, socially and economically responsible forestry”, says Louise Carlsson, WWF and IKEA forest programme co-ordinator. “This includes identifying and excluding particularly valuable forests from logging. It also means taking into account the needs of local communities and the conservation of species that depend on the forest.”
IKEA and WWF are two of the founders of the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) and more sustainable cotton production is a priority for the partnership.
BCI's goal is to improve global cotton production through encouraging better practices such as using less water and fewer chemicals, and improving the livelihoods and working conditions of cotton farmers.
More than 44,000 cotton farmers in India and Pakistan have significantly reduced their use of chemical pesticides, fertilisers and water.Since 2015, all cotton used in IKEA’s product range has come from more sustainable sources..
“We are very proud to have reached our milestone of using 100 per cent cotton from more sustainable sources – but it’s only part of a much longer journey with an even bigger goal. We want to help change the entire global cotton market. Our vision is to make ‘Better Cotton’ accessible to all buyers around the world and support all cotton farmers to grow more sustainably. It's a win for everyone, including the environment”, says Simon Henzell-Thomas.
The partnership has delivered improved health and income levels for cotton farmers involved in joint WWF and IKEA projects, and reduced impacts on the environment. Co-operation with local authorities has also reduced child labour.
“Making cotton production more efficient and more profitable means more children go to school. Previously, many children had to work with their parents in the cotton fields to help their families make ends meet. Particularly important is the increase in the number of girls in schools”, says Marcus Albers, WWF partnership manager.
IKEA has been pursuing sustainability for many years, achieving success in a number of areas. IKEA’s own code of conduct, IWAY, was launched in 2000, and has contributed to many improvements, both small and large, in the company's supply chain.
Products from IKEA must be manufactured by suppliers who take responsibility for people and the environment. For example, No Child Labour is a minimum requirement and IKEA firmly believes in taking responsibility for the elimination of child labour across our whole industry.
WWF and IKEA have worked together since 2002. Today the partnership runs projects in 13 countries with the objective of supporting responsible forest management and more sustainable cotton production.
Responsible forest management objectives:
Improved forest governance. We work to improve forest governance so that policies and land use decisions better integrate ecological, social and economic values of the standing forest.
Responsible forest management. We support the development of responsible forest management. This includes improving the quality of forest certification systems and increasing the area of credibly certified or well-managed forests.
Responsible & transparent trade. We work to strengthen legislation and policies to combat illegal logging and illegal timber trade, improve transparency along the entire value chain, and show the consequences of the irresponsible trade and consumption of forest products.
Improved production efficiency. We look at ways to reduce the footprint of IKEA supply chains by designing products that get the most out of each log, and by using more recycled wood.
Build farmers’ capacity to produce Better Cotton. Through farmer field schools the partnership is educating and training cotton farmers in Better Management Practices.
Reduce the use of pesticides, water and chemical fertilisers. Using Better Management Practices when growing cotton give big benefits for environment and people.
Increase farmers’ gross margins. Increased gross margins give the cotton farmers more possibilities to improve
Improve working conditions for farmers’ families and workers
Improve soil quality in the cotton field
Catalyse a shift to Better Cotton across the whole cotton commodity market
"The forest was left to us by our ancestors. We should take good care of it. Only when we look after it can it look after us.” Ye Linchang is a forest ranger near Shufang Town, in Northern Fujiang Province. He’s seen first-hand the difference FSC certification can make in people’s lives. When the Longtai Company took over the contract for the local bamboo forests in 2013, lives changed. Longtai is a supplier for IKEA and has to match up to the Swedish giant’s rigorous requirements – one of which is, wherever possible, FSC certification. With the support of WWF and Chinese government agencies, Longtai worked with local producers to help them improve their operations and meet the standard.
World's largest print run now carries FSC label
IKEA’s 2015 catalogue, which reaches over 200 million people worldwide, is the largest print production ever to be fully FSC certified. The process is of impressive dimensions – involving the coordination of printing 67 editions in 32 languages, and the use of more than 100,000 tonnes of FSC Mix Credit certified paper.
Strong, light, flexible, attractive and renewable, wood is perhaps the ultimate raw material. Integral to our lives for millennia, its future uses are bound only by the limits of our collective imagination.
From the forest into the law; how the WWF and IKEA partnership engages in pushing for more sustainable forest and timber regulations in major producing and manufacturing countries.
WWF and IKEA have been partners since 2002, with forests comprising the core of their work together. WWF and IKEA strongly support FSC, but they also stress that the General Assembly must take a close look at FSC’s priorities. Where can FSC have the biggest impact on forests and people and how can it become even more efficient?
Spanning more than a decade the WWF and IKEA partnership has transformed the forestry sector by expanding the market for more sustainable products.