IKEA Buys 11,000 Acres of U.S. Forest to Keep It From Being Developed

IKEA is continuing to try and remain true to their principals—protecting the environment and striving to become a carbon neutral company, while still remaining one of the world’s  most pleasurable shopping experiences.

Stacy Funderburke for IKEA

Their latest move is a large purchase of 11,000 acres of forest in Georgia that looked like it would be lost to development.

To ensure it remains intact and working to suck up CO2 from the atmosphere, the forest was bought by IKEA as part of a strategy to reduce more carbon than it creates through its value chain.

Home to the valuable gopher tortoise, the working forest in the Altamaha Basin is now owned by the IKEA subsidiary, Ingka Group, which has worked with The Conservation Fund, a non-profit that has protected over 8-million acres of forests in the U.S. from fragmentation and development.

A working forest is one in which lumber is harvested and regrown—and it’s these forests which often suffer from being broken up into smaller segments and developed, something the Conservation Fund and Inka are ensuring will not happen by creating permanent easements that legally prevent the forest from ever being split up into smaller pieces.

And, these actions will, in turn, protect the gopher tortoise—a priority species for conservation.

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Ingka Group currently owns 616,000 acres of such forests in the U.S. and Europe, while privately choosing to ensure the highest international standards for good forest management. A spokesperson added that “no significant amount” of wood from the forests is currently used in Ikea products.

“Well-managed forests provide essential benefits, including clean water and important wildlife habitat, as well as mitigating climate change,” said Larry Selzer, President and CEO of The Conservation Fund.

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Gopher tortoise by Val Keefer for The Conservation Fund

“The transfer of these lands to Ingka Investments completes our Working Forest Fund process, through which we identify and buy important, at-risk private forests; develop sustainable harvest and restoration plans; (and) secure permanent conservation protections to block fragmentation and development,” he noted.

Forest stewardship is just one way that the world’s largest furniture outlet is trying to become a carbon-neutral company. They recently announced they would begin buying used IKEA furniture from customers for resale, while electric vans and less carbon-emitting materials are used in both packaging and product.

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