Ikea furniture is ubiquitous in dorm rooms and apartments all over the world, but it’s difficult to fathom exactly how much of the world’s resources are actually used to make Ikea products. According to Pacific Standard, Ikea uses about one percent—yes, one percent—of the world’s entire commercial wood supply. That amounts to about 17.8 million cubic yards of lumber last year. It’s difficult not to have mixed feelings about so much of the world’s forest going to the production of cheap furniture, but the Swedish retailer isn’t all bad.
Love it or hate it, Ikea is a fact of life in much of the developed world. The yellow and blue superstores are just as much a staple of outer-suburban shopping districts as the company’s coffee tables are in young adults’ apartments. It’s easy to dislike Ikea for making products that are cheaply made and aren’t intended to last for very long, but the company has made a serious effort in recent year to improve its supply chain and source more sustainable materials.
Ikea has set a long-term goal of sourcing all of its materials from forests that have been sustainable managed and harvested. Currently about 25 percent of wood used by Ikea has been certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, but the company aims to double that number within the next five years. In addition to seeking out sustainably-harvested wood, Ikea participates in several forestry projects, including Sow a Seed and WWF, that are aimed at improving the company’s environmental impact. So while we would love to see Ikea produce more durable, long-lasting products instead of the cheap objects that fill their catalogs, the company is at least making an effort to source source sustainable materials.
via Pacific Standard and Gizmodo