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IKEA purchases a Romanian forest

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Ikea has bought an entire Romanian forest to help to secure its timber supplies, raising fears among conservationists of logging in Europe on a vast scale.

The purchase of the 83,000-acre woodland in northeastern Romania is the first time that the furniture company will manage its own forest operations. It is thought to have cost €100 million.

Ikea said the deal would allow it to manage wood sustainably at affordable prices.

Illegal logging and strip-logging of virgin slopes forced the Romanian government to bring in tighter controls over international companies in May. The country welcomed the Ikea deal but conservationists are concerned that it may pave the way for encroachment into areas such as the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains.

Last year Ikea was banned briefly from cutting trees in Russian Karelia by the Forest Stewardship Council, which said the company’s Swedwood subsidiary violated its logging agreement.

The company appealed and the suspension was lifted. Viktor Safve, the chairman of Protect the Forest, called Ikea’s practices in Russia “very brutal”.

Ikea has had a long relationship with Romania dating back to its communist era. Last year it was claimed that the company, which had used political prisoners to build its products, had secretly paid six-figure sums to the Securitate, the country’s brutal secret police agency. Ikea denied the reports.

Source : Allan Hall - The Times
www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/news/world/europe/article4514240.ece

03 August 2015

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