A U.K-based environmental watchdog has accused Swedish furniture giant Ikea of sourcing illegally logged wood from Ukraine.
In a report published last week, Earthsight says VGSM, a company that supplies chairs and chair parts to Ikea, has been cutting down trees under illegally-issued licenses. In Ukraine and other Soviet-bloc countries, forests marked for logging are operated by state-run operations. Earthsight says one of these state agencies allowed VGSM to cut down beech trees during a "silence period" - a period from April to mid-June which certain forms of logging are forbidden. The time period is apparently a crucial breeding period for certain animals in the forest.
Earthsight also says the logs in question were cut down under a "sanitary felling" permit, which it says is a widely abused loophole in Ukraine forestry. The permit allows large amounts of trees damaged by disease or insects to be felled and sold. Apparently, these trees often don't have this damage.
Ikea began an independent audit of its timber supply in Ukraine after the allegations surfaced.
"IKEA welcomes the reports of organizations and takes any allegations of our suppliers' involvement in illegal logging very seriously. We have already launched an investigation based on a new report published by Earthsight," the company's press office in Ukraine announced in an official statement.
"We emphasize that IKEA does not use illegally logged timber for the production of its goods. Deeply aware of the global problems of illegal logging, we strengthen our suppliers' checks for compliance with local and international laws, as well as internal IKEA requirements. If we receive information that wood that doesn't meet these requirements, entered or could enter the company's supply chain, we are taking urgent measures," the company said.
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