KARELIA, RUSSIA - IKEA's Swedwood Karelia forestry operation has regained its Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certificate of sustainability. The Rainforest Alliance said it lifted the suspension March 10 following an independent appeals committee evaluation of the annual audit.
“We are pleased to get the suspension of our FSC certificate withdrawn since it is important for us to demonstrate a responsible forest management. Our focus is now to continue our work with good forest management and make sure that the outstanding deviations are closed,” said Anders Hildeman, Forestry Manager IKEA Group.
Swedwood’s certificate is for approximately 700,000 acres in the Karelia Forest, in northwestern Russia. IKEA Industry said Swedwood Karelia has been FSC certified since 2006.
The FSC certificate was suspended in January following an October 2013 audit by NEPCon which found six major non-conformities relating to facilities and equipment issues, forestry management and the training of forestry workers. FSC certificate suspension is given with more than five non-conformities. IKEA Industry's and Swedwood Karelia's appeal resulted in the withdrawal of two non-conformities and the downgrading of another.
NEPCon Executive Director Peter Feilberg dismissed rumors that Swedwood's certificate suspension was linked to the felling of trees over 600 years old. "This appears to be a hoax. The truth is that we have not seen any evidence for the felling of trees of that age at Swedwood Karelia’s concession," he said.
The Rainforest Alliance said it lifted the suspension based on the recommendation of an independent committee comprised of experts external to Rainforest Alliance and its representative in Europe and Russia, NEPCon. “The strength of the FSC system results from the various checks and balances, and therefore the scrutiny, it provides to forest management the world over,” said Richard Donovan, Rainforest Alliance senior vice president and vice president of Forestry. “In this case the right balance has now been struck and the certificate holder is working to improve its forestry practices.”
According to The Rainforest Alliance, IKEA is one of the biggest purchasers and producers of FSC-certified wood in the retail sector.
News that Swedwood Karelia regained FSC certification comes one month after IKEA Industry announced it would "divest the sawmill operation in Swedwood Karelia, with the main ambition to have an external part taking over the sawmill operation." At the same time, IKEA also revealed plans to close the Swedwood Karelia wood components factory and merge the production into Swedwood Tikhvin.
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