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WWF and IKEA discuss the partnership’s future

WWF and IKEA have started discussions around a possible fifth three-year agreement to cooperate on forestry issues and other potential areas of mutual interest. The current phase four agreement ends in June 2014.

“Great conservation impacts have been achieved and looking ahead WWF wants to take the partnership to an even higher level. IKEA has their agenda and we have ours, but we want to meet where our interests overlap. We would like to see us as the challenging partner,” says Marcus Albers, Manager Corporate Partnerships WWF Sweden.

“We are pleased with the way the current forest projects are going, and look forward to really strong proposals for phase five,” says Simon Henzell-Thomas, IKEA Sustainability Policy & Partnerships Manager.


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IKEA and WWF dismiss idea that partnership is greenwashing

Large multinational companies that partner with NGOs in the field of social and environmental responsibility risk being accused of greenwashing, while NGOs have to be careful about publically endorsing their corporate partners or jeopardize its independence reputation. Or as one UK newspaper put it a couple of years back: ‘IKEA gives cash and a few environmental initiatives, while WWF gives green kudos and some environmental advice.’

But both WWF and IKEA stand tall when winds blow cold, convinced that the partnership has positive impact on people and the planet, not least through their carefully planned and monitored joint forest projects.

“If you really want conservation to work, you need to recognise that businesses have a huge impact and are key to influencing change in the market. We need to work with them to change their practices and this is a very successful way to protect conservation values. It’s a pragmatic solution to finding ways to work responsibly with forests that we both care about, “says George White, Head of the WWF initiative Global Forest & Trade Network (GFTN).

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Simply focusing on legality issues will diminish sustainability perspective

The US Lacey Act, the European Union Timber Regulation (EUTR) and the Australian Illegal Logging Prohibition Bill represent major milestones in recent years’ international efforts to curb illegal logging, and the partnership works actively to support implementation and enforcement. At the same time, IKEA and WWF worry that many companies may be tempted to focus single-mindedly on the legality of its timber products, and lose sight of other sustainability aspects.

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Growing share of FSC certified wood in the IKEA range

Wood is one of the most important raw materials for IKEA and the company is making good progress towards its 2017 goal to source 50% of the wood used in the range from “preferred sources”; FSC certified wood or recycled wood. At the end of April 2013, the share of certified wood in the IKEA range had reached 31.2% %, up from 22.6% at the end of August 2012.

“If our total wood consumption lands at 14 million cubic metres round wood equivalent (RWE) we should have sourced more than four million cubic metres of FSC certified wood. It’s  safe to say that IKEA now is one of the retailers with the largest FSC volume in the world,” says Anders Hildeman, adding that IKEA uses almost 1% of all wood used commercially around the world.

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New members in the WWF and IKEA Forest Partnership Steering Group

The WWF and IKEA Forest Partnership Steering Group recently welcomed two IKEA co-workers as new members. Christina Niemelä Ström works as Business Area Manager, Home organisation storage and Outdoor at IKEA of Sweden, and Peter Becker as Material Leader, Purchase Development Solid wood at IKEA of Sweden.

”To see what IKEA and WWF have done and can do together is great; we can contribute with our collective forestry competence and know-how from the field to really make things happen in reality.  The work is done on different levels from policy building to stopping illegal logging on site and assuring well managed forests with FSC certifications.  We make a real difference. says new member of WWF and IKEA Forest Partnership Steering Group Christina Niemelä-Ström who works as Business Area manager IKEA of Sweden.

“It’s great that we get more business competence into the group. It’s healthy to get a reality check to see what the business case is in the projects we do, and it helps put our work on IKEA’s business agenda – not just the sustainability agenda,” says Rod Taylor, WWF Forest Director.

WWF India invites IKEA to join expert panel on Credible Forest Certification

WWF India’s conference on “Relevance of Credible Forest Certification in Enhancing Market Access” is due to take place on September 24 in New Dehli. IKEA global forest manager Anders Hildeman and Mikhail Tarasov, forestry manager Greater China have been invited be part of an expert panel to talk about IKEAs involvement in forestry issues and achievements through the partnership with WWF.

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Threatened forests along the Danube river saved in Bulgaria

A legislative amendment in Bulgaria in October 2012 opened up for clear-cutting in the riparian forest areas along the Danube river, despite the risk of negative environmental impact and despite the fact that some of the areas have been identified as protected areas by the EU´s Natura 2000 network. Six months of hard policy work from WWF and other NGOs has paid off - the amendment was dropped and 4,500 hectares of forest are now safe and cannot be felled.


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More FSC certified rattan on its way to Europe

The export of FSC certified rattan from Laos to Europe is picking up speed thanks to growing demand in Switzerland, UK, US and Sweden. A large batch of products is currently on its way to the Coop in Switzerland.


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WWF Living Forest Report sees tripled demand for wood by 2050

The amount of wood felled in forests and plantations every year could triple by 2050 due to rising population and demand. This is a conclusion found in the fourth and latest instalment of WWF´s Living Forests Report, produced with support from IKEA.

"A scenario of tripling the amount of wood society takes from forests and plantations needs to motivate good stewardship that safeguards forests - otherwise we could destroy the very places where wood grows," 2 says Rod Taylor, Director of WWF’s Global Forest Programme.


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WWF continues its fight against legislation threatening Romanian forest

WWF Romania has again managed to block a suggested new Forest Act that would legalise exploitation of the country´s virgin forests - since the suggested amendments to legislation was first initiated in October 2011, WWF and its 120.000 supporters have managed to prevent it from being voted through four times!


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GFTN helps clarify new EU regulations to prevent illegal logging

The EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) took effect on March 3, an important milestone in global efforts to combat illegal logging. WWF´s Global Forest & Trade Network (GFTN) is helping companies understand and meet the requirements of the new regulation, as well as encouraging the industry to move beyond legality and take bolder steps toward contributing to responsible forest management.


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Russian forest rangers, police and NGOs in joint actions against illegal logging

Illegal logging of valuable hardwoods has reached crisis proportions in the Russian Far East, and WWF estimates that twice as much oak was logged for export than was authorized for harvest by the government in 2010 alone. This is why WWF specialists, forest rangers and the police recently joined forces in a joint action against illegal logging in the Southern Khabarovsky Province.

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Rattan in Cambodia on way to bigger market

For the first time ever, Cambodia is allowing export of semi-finished rattan products. A recent government decision on export quotas will reduce the risk of illegal rattan trade across the border. The first legal export, involving five metric tonnes of split and polished rattan, will go to an IKEA supplier in Vietnam this year before becoming IKEA baskets, trays and decoration items.

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WWF campaign helps save virgin forests in Romania

An IKEA supported WWF campaign aimed at getting the Romanian government to protect the country’s virgin forests has paid off. The 2011 campaign generated around 2.000 newspaper articles and more than 100.000 people signed a petition to get the attention of the Ministry of Environment. Now, a ministerial order is about to be signed, guaranteeing protection for 13,000 species in virgin forests and proving that ordinary people can make a difference.

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Partnership helps save Bulgarian forests

The IKEA WWF partnership’s lobby and campaign efforts have played a key role in averting proposed legislative changes that would have allowed deforestation and construction even in protected areas in Bulgaria.

A proposed amendment to the Forest Act was pushed through parliament in June 2012, leading to hectic efforts from WWF Bulgaria with support from IKEA, and generating massive public support for the protection of the country’s forests and protected areas. As a result, the controversial amendments to Bulgaria’s Forest Act have now been dropped from the final version of the legislation.

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WWF’s GFTN launches strategy for 2020

WWF’s Global Forest & Trade Network finalised its Global Strategy in September, supporting the ambitious WWF target to achieve zero net deforestation and degradation in production forests by 2020 and outlining the road ahead.

The strategy for 2012-20 reflects GFTN’s global outreach and ensures that GFTN enhances its global-to-local approach in WWF priority places. With a renewed commitment to promoting responsible forest management and trade, the strategy builds on recommendations provided in the independent evaluation conducted earlier this year as well as from key stakeholders within WWF.

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Mark Edwards / WWF-Canon

Third chapter of the Living Forest Report released

WWF's Living Forests Report has introduced four future scenarios to explore the feasibility and implications of stopping runaway deforestation and degradation of the world’s remaining natural forest, and sustaining this until 2050. The third chapter was recently released, looking specifically at consequences for the climate and future carbon emissions of the various scenarios.

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New manual to help customs reveal illegal wood at Russia’s borders

WWF believes that tougher customs control is important to combat illegal timber trade. This is why WWF Russia has contributed to the development of a manual to help customs fight illegal export of timber and wood products. The manual Customs control and classification of wood items was developed in cooperation with the Russian Customs Academy, the European Commission and the ENPI FLEG programme.

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Stuart Chapman / WWF-Canon

WWF China inspires publishing business to support FSC certification

WWF China works actively to promote Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification, and has come up with a creative way to introduce the concept to the country’s publishers and printers. As one of the first FSC certified publications in China, an album of children drawings was published in March as an attempt to build the conjunction between well-managed forests and books.

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Common principles to increase understanding of legal requirements

Significant opportunities for improvements in energy efficiency have been identified through the "Climate Positive Opportunities for Suppliers" project, and an "Innovation Platform" has been piloted to help IKEA suppliers speed up the adoption of new, sustainable energy technologies. This pilot involved a number of innovative climate entrepreneurs from around the world, specialised in developing low carbon technologies, with a particular focus on textile and plastic production.

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Bosnia and Herzegovina project to run until 2014

This forest project in Bosnia and Herzegovina started in July 2011 as a trial project. The trial period turned out very well and the project has now been decided to continue until 2014. The decision means that critical areas and values of forests can be maintained, and sustainable development in the country will be supported.

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Tough laws good for forests and responsible businesses 

In 2008, the US passed a ground-breaking amendment to the "Lacey Act", and the law banned commerce in illegally sourced plants and their products - including timber, wood, and paper products. As the Lacey Act applies to the legality of the wood, irrespectively of where  in the world it is harvested, it is of great importance to exporters of forest products to the US. Also, similar legislation will be introduced in the EU after 2012 and is being discussed in Australia, Switzerland and Japan. IKEA and WWF welcome such legislation, as it helps motivate and drive global improvements in forestry management and gives responsible exporters a competitive edge.

To read a fact sheet about the Lacey Act, click here

Martin Harvey / WWF-Canon

Contributing to Russian Forest Policy development

The Partnership has contributed to a government decision to develop a national Forestry Policy in Russia. WWF has made analysis on best forest policies development practices, opinion polls and developed recommendations that were used by the Federal Forest Agency (Rosleskhoz) and others to demonstrate the importance of a policy to senior government representatives. A nation-wide dialogue on forest policy is about to start, and WWF is now involved in its formulation.

First FSC certified forest triggers interest and efforts

Interest and efforts to sustain natural rattan forests in South East Asia have increased since a WWF project produced the world's first FSC certified rattan forest in Laos last year. There are plans to expand FSC certification in Laos to another 24 villages and 20,000 hectares, and WWF Indonesia has started activities on Borneo to set up a sustainable rattan project here.

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© WWF-Greater Mekong

Rattan forests in Laos - the world's first to be FSC-certified

For the first time ever, rattan forests have been certified as responsibly managed according to the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). Some 1,200 hectares of rattan forests in four villages in the Bolikhamxay province in Laos are now FSC certified thanks to a WWF project supported by IKEA since 2006.

Rattan is a palm relying on other vegetation to grow in the forest. Overharvesting and land conversion is causing a rapid decline of natural rattan.

Read more about the FSC-certified rattan

Read more about FSC

New projects in Indonesia to support responsible forest management

In July, IKEA and WWF joined forces to support responsible forest management in Indonesia. The goals for the two new projects in Indonesia are to improve national policy and legality of the rattan supply chain and to ensure that the wood supply to IKEA comes from credibly certified plantation sources.

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© Delphine Joseph

New project in Bosnia and Herzegovina to support forest certification

WWF and IKEA have started working together in Bosnia and Herzegovina to support forest certification and responsible forest management contributing to biodiversity and landscape protection.

The first step in the project is to analyse the main barriers to the certification process before solutions can be developed and implemented.

The wood processing industry is one of the most important export industries in Bosnia and Herzegovina, a republic with three ethnic groups faced with economic stagnation due to complex administration.

© S. Kunovac

GFTN celebrates 20 years and calls for increased efforts

The Global Forest and Trade Network (GFTN) has launched a call to the entire forest-related sector to redouble the efforts to end illegal logging, and make responsible forest management and trade the market standard around the globe before the end of the next decade. The call was made at the celebration of the GFTN's 20th anniversary in London on September 26.

Over the past 20 years, the GFTN has seen significant results and now boasts 272 companies from over 30 countries, including IKEA. Collectively, members trade an estimated 18% of the global supply of forest products by value, and manage 21.5 million hectares of FSC certified forests.

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Forest and habitat mapping in Siberia contributes to protection agreement

Four years of hard work with maps and data on High Conservation Value Forests (HCVF) and Woodland Key Habitats (WKH) in Siberia has started to give significant results. Using the material produced by WWF Russia, local environmental NGOs have convinced a key forestry company in the Irkutsk region to protect large areas of undisturbed forests. It will be the first agreement in Siberia of its kind.

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Keen interest in WWF China workshop on timber legality

In May, 37 IKEA suppliers and 17 IKEA co-workers attended a WWF workshop in Qingdao, China on timber legality compliance in practice. The aim was to clarify theoretical and practical hot-spots for Chinese wood companies with the help of Chinese and Russian experts.

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IKEA WWF textbook used to teach sustainable forestry throughout Russia

A textbook on sustainable forest management, developed in 2009 by WWF Russia with support from IKEA, has now become the basis for university level forestry education throughout Russia.

The “Sustainable Forest Management” textbook was officially approved by the Ministry of Education and recognised by the forest community as an innovative and practical publication to form ecologically oriented, economically viable and socially responsible new forest sector practitioners.

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One quarter of leased forests in Russia is now FSC certified

The IKEA and WWF cooperation to support Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification in Russia has contributed to the rapid increase of responsibly managed forest areas.

Since the start of FSC certification in Russia in 2000, certified areas have reached 31 million hectares, about 25% of all leased forests in the country.

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Successful FSC promotion campaign in Russia

The first stage of FSC promotion campaign, which was initiated and organized by WWF and FSC in Russia, has achieved good results. The survey, which was held among the corporate customers (forest products) to estimate results of the campaign shows that 6.8% of respondents know about the certification of sustainable forest management while 3.3% can also correctly describe of the FSC trademark. This contributes to the ultimate goal of WWF – to transform global market into a force for saving the world’s forests.

The forest fires in the European Russia and an active informational campaign of the civil society organizations, led by WWF resulted into development of a political will to revise the forest legislation to introduce more effective approaches for forest management.

Movie about responsible forest management produced in Lithuania

The project in Lithuania has produced a fantastic short movie (~8 min) about the nature trails we are managing and using for education about responsible forest management.

Take a look and learn about the forest!

Rattan revival

Natural rattan belongs to the design classics and it is making a comeback in design circles. Unfortunately, conventional forestry practices may damage tropical forests when the rattan is harvested. The rattan Programme (which is also funded from DEG and European Union) has been working with Swedish designers, graduates from Lund University, in cooperation with local companies, to develop rattan products that are environmentally friendly and suitable for the international market. These products range from doormats made of rattan waste to foldable baskets, and a unique rattan lounge chair.

An innovative collection for rattan home accessories has been showcased both in Stockholm, Sweden and at the international design fair Ambiente in Frankfurt Germany during February.

“Sustainable rattan only has a chance if there is a market for it and if the forests where the rattan grows are still standing”, said Thibault Ledecq, WWF Sustainable Rattan Project Manager. He is convinced: “With credible forest management, responsible trade, and consumer awareness we can ensure that this fascinating natural raw material has a future”.

The first delivery of certified rattan with an FSC-label from Laos is expected in early summer this year.

Read more at: www.panda.org/rattan

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