Earthsight said Ikea was the largest consumer of timber in the world ©  Naomi Baker/Getty Images
Earthsight said Ikea was the largest consumer of timber in the world © Naomi Baker/Getty Images

Ikea investigates claims of illegal timber in its furniture

Ikea is investigating allegations it has used illegally-harvested timber in its furniture.

In a report NGO Earthsight claimed timber company VGSM had supplied timber to Ikea that had been cut illegally from forests in the Ukraine.

In response Ikea said it had asked Assurance Services International, the Forest Stewardship Council’s (FSC) independent auditor, to investigate the findings.

“Earthsight’s 18-­month-­long investigation has found that Ikea is selling beech chairs made from wood which was illegally felled in the forests of the Ukrainian Carpathians, home to endangered lynx and bear,” said the report.

“Illegal wood has been used to make a number of well­-known products, including its iconic folding, slatted Terje chair and best­selling Ingolf dining chair.

“Tens of thousands of chairs made from illegal wood are being sold at Ikea stores across the globe each year, including in the US, UK and Germany.”

Earthsite said Ikea was the largest consumer of wood in world, using 21m cubic metres of logs in 2019. It said Ikea’s wood consumption had doubled in the past decade and it consumed around one tree every second.

Earthsight was also critical of the FSC and said it had failed by certifying timber produced by VGSM.

Ikea did not respond to an SM request for comment but told The Times: “We have immediately begun investigating the allegations and are committed to engaging further with Earthsight. We have initiated an independent audit of our wood supply chain in Ukraine. We have also asked Assurance Services International — who are FSC’s independent auditor — to investigate the report’s allegations.

“If we encounter any information that suggests wood which does not meet our requirements has entered our supply chain, we take immediate action. This includes the termination of suppliers’ contracts.”

VGSM has denied breaching any laws. The FSC said it condemned illicit acts by certificate holders and “where these are identified or reported, they are investigated and [if proven] the certificate is suspended or terminated”.

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