A lake surrounded by mountains and tropical rainforest in the Thua Thien Hue province in Vietnam.

Climate-oriented forest management

Alongside ending deforestation, adapting forest management practices and reforesting degraded land provide some of the most impactful actions to mitigate and build forests’ resilience to climate change. Land is often degraded due to policy failures and insecure ownership rights. This undermines the incentives for long-term sustainable land use. Land use development that truly benefits people and nature is complex and requires a long-term holistic view. To do this we are taking a highly strategic, scientific and data-led approach.

Maximising the removal and storage of carbon through forestry and wood-based products

Trees in responsibly managed forests capture a substantial amount of carbon dioxide (CO2). When trees grow and are made into wood-based products, they act as a carbon stock keeping it out of the atmosphere. This storage effect is further extended through developing long-lasting products which can be reused, refurbished, remanufactured and then recycled at the product’s end-of-life.

Two stacks of FÄLTLÖNN decoration houses next to a glass vase holding a pink flower.
The main contribution to carbon removals and storage comes from increasing the carbon stock levels in forests that our suppliers source wood from. In 2020 Inter IKEA Group decided to invest EUR 100 million to develop and implement methods for removing carbon from the atmosphere through projects connected to reforestation, restoration of degraded forests and better forest management practices. There are vast areas of degraded land which need to be restored. However, it is important to ensure that the right tree is in the right place and for the right purpose to secure a self-sustaining long-term impact for people and planet. By sharing lessons from these projects we hope to inspire a shift across the broader forestry sector for scaling up impactful reforestation.

Many forests now used for wood production are passively managed. More active management will increase their capacity to remove carbon from the atmosphere.

Alongside more active management of forests, conservation of old growth forests or other areas of high conservation value is also very important. These forests often have a significant amount of carbon stored in them and provide irreplaceable support for biodiversity, soil protection and many others.

Increasing carbon storage through acacia plantations in Vietnam

Our first project takes place in Vietnam, one of the top markets IKEA suppliers purchase wood from for producing our products. Smallholders and communities, including minority ethnic groups, manage roughly 65% of Vietnam’s plantation forests. Certain management practices and a lack of support towards smallholders who, on average manage 2-3 hectares of acacia plantations, means that the land’s production capacity is not always achieved. It even risks reducing productivity as the soil degrades over plantation harvesting cycles. This not only endangers income for smallholders but also reduces the soil’s ability to hold on to its carbon, releasing it back to the atmosphere.
Seven Vietnamese forest workers working in a recently cleared area of forest adjacent to a stand of tall, thin trees.

Through our project in the Thua Thien Hue province, IKEA has partnered with a local forestry cooperative supporting more than 1,000 smallholders and their families. We will focus on building and sharing knowledge amongst the smallholders to improve existing management practices and improve their profit for them as land users, as we believe this will secure the permanence of the new land use system. Over time, wood from these well managed acacia plantations will be used in IKEA products, designed in a way that they can be reused, refurbished, remanufactured and eventually recycled when the product reaches the end-of-life, ensuring that the carbon remains in recycled wood material long-term.

Together with our partner Forest Owners Sustainable Development Association (FOSDA), we have set a number of goals for our project:

  • Removing carbon from the atmosphere and storing it in land, plants and products
  • Establishing native forest restoration areas and improving resilience in the landscape through establishment of native wood species
  • Securing the long-lasting impact of the project by demonstrating the economic, environmental and social feasibility

The importance of global accounting standards and goals

In order to make sure that companies, governments and other stakeholders calculate climate impacts in the same way, we continue to contribute to the work of the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol developing global accounting standards for how to measure the impact on climate change from carbon removals and storage.