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'Ecologically conscious' IKEA uses ONE PERCENT of the world's wood annually

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
July 8th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Swedish furniture manufacturer IKEA is known for its classically simple designs, very reasonable prices and popularity among trendy young people. While the company purports to be socially and environmentally conscious, it has been revealed that IKEA consumes a staggering ONE PERCENT of the world's wood every year. 

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The wood is used to make the approximately 100 million pieces of furniture sold each year by IKEA. Officials with the company are quick to point out that almost a quarter of the wood is sustainable, with plans for half to be by the year 2017.

In addition, the retailer insists that none of the wood is illegally logged.

Pacific Standard says that the Swedish conglomerate needs about one percent of the world's wood supply to make the furniture sold in its roughly 300 global stores.

IKEA consumes so much wood, that Swedwood, a subsidiary company, handles production of all wood-based furniture. IKEA insists that they have a sustainability plan for all this wood.

Almost a quarter -- or 23 percent, of all wood used by the company meets Forest Stewardship Council standards, according to last year's IKEA Sustainability Report. The goal is to have half of all wood used meeting those standards by 2017.

The report says IKEA does not accept wood that has been illegally logged and further supports an additional 13 projects run by the World Wildlife Federation, "so that more wood can come from certified forests."

There's a rub to this - any consumer of IKEA furniture knows that the wood is ground up to make particle board. That particle board all comes from one place, Hultsfred - a factory in southern Sweden dedicated making the hardwood alternative.

Hultsfred plows through 150,000 loose cubic yards of pine saw dust every single day. Spruce trees are thrown into massive wood chippers that combine with the saw dust and a glue-like mixture containing synthetic urea to make the particle board.

So capable of producing this product, a giant dryer capable of holding 45 tons of the saw dust-wood chip mixture refills every hour before sucking all the moisture out of the former trees at a temperature of 840 degrees Fahrenheit.

After combining the wood with the glue, urea -- found in urine, the processed particle boards are loaded onto giant rotating drying racks that can hold 90 of the massive boards.

It takes over 16,000 people across 50 different Swedwood sites in 10 countries to make the 100 million pieces of furniture sold each year by its parent company, according to the subsidiary.

Swedwood has grown between 20-25 percent annually since it's founding in 1991, and it plans to keep growing.

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