Protect the Forest Sweden accuses Ikea and its subsidiary Swedwood of systematically logging old-growth, high conservation-value forests in Russian Karelia, launches petition calling for forest protection

HJORTKVARN, Sweden , April 26, 2012 (press release) – The environmental organization Protect the Forest Sweden is launching a campaign today to shed light on IKEA's systematic logging of old-growth forest and other forests with high conservation value in Russian Karelia. As part of the campaign, we petition IKEA and Swedwood's management to change their ways.

"You must immediately stop logging old-growth forests, and you must stop lying! Those are two of the demands we make of IKEA," says Viktor Säfve, chairman of Protect the Forest. "During our field visits to Russian Karelia, we have documented the reality of IKEA's forestry, and it's a far cry from the fine words in their advertising."

Working with the Russian environmental organization SPOK, representatives from Protect the Forest have seen the forest areas which IKEA have leased in Russian Karelia through their wholly-owned subsidiary Swedwood. Forests with centuries-old trees are logged and transformed to clear-cuts, using forestry methods imported from the so-called "Swedish model".

"Swedish forests are already impoverished, and now the same thing is happening with the valuable forests in Russian Karelia," says Linda Ellegaard Nordström, board member of Protect the Forest. "The same environmental certification system is used in both Sweden and Russia: the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). This is a disaster for the forest both here in Sweden and in Russia. The company NEPCon, which certifies that Swedwood's forestry is compliant with FSC standards, allows the logging of trees which are 200-600 years old. This is nothing but a scandal!"  

Protect the Forest has also launched a petition to the management of IKEA and Swedwood, with five demands for a more trustworthy IKEA. Everyone who wants to protest IKEA's logging of old-growth forest is invited to sign the petition.

 

"We demand that IKEA ensure the protection of the remaining forests with high conservation value on the lands they lease," says Robert Svensson, board member of Protect the Forest. "This is the least they can do to compensate for the losses of valuable forest and biodiversity that they have caused. There is already so little old-growth forest left that it threatens the long-term survival of many plant and animal species, so continuing to log such forests is deeply irresponsible."

 

Another problem Protect the Forest wants the campaign to shed light on is IKEA's lack of dialogue with the local population, who are using these forests in a small-scale and sustainable way. Old colonial patterns emerge when IKEA comes into a region such as Russian Karelia as a large investor - for example, the Karelian government conforms to IKEA's every wish.


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