IKEA linked to illegal logging in Carpathian mountains, home to lynxes and brown bears

A mum bear and her cub, photo: Marco Secchi on Unsplash
A mum bear and her cub, photo: Marco Secchi on Unsplash

A report by the non-profit organization Earthsight claims that suppliers of furniture retailer IKEA have illegally sourced wood from the Carpathian Mountains, home to endangered lynxes and brown bears.

On Tuesday, the Swedish company said it would review its wood supply chain in Ukraine accused of illegal logging. “IKEA does not accept illegally logged wood in our products,” the furniture specialist said in an emailed statement to Reuters.

“We acknowledge that illegal logging remains a widespread global issue, and work proactively to implement measures to verify that our suppliers comply with legality,” it added, saying it had begun an independent audit into practices in Ukraine.

The Carpathians Mountains are home to about 8,000 brown bears and 2,800 lynxes in Slovakia, Poland, Ukraine and Romania.  

Over 18 months, Earthsight has investigated Ikea’s Ukrainian timber purchases. Using official files, on-the-ground reporting, satellite imagery and whistleblower accounts, researchers followed supplies of suspect wood from Ukraine’s precious Carpathian forests to Ikea stores in the UK, US, Germany and elsewhere.

According to Earthsight, IKEA is the largest buyer of wood and the largest retailer of wood furniture on the planet.

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