IKEA supplier Swedwood in Karelia: TV documentary exposes impacts of FSC certified clear-cuts in HCV forests

Another news documentary causing embarrassment to the FSC appears in its home country, exposing the questionable practices of certified companies. ARD’s Plus-minus programme travelled to Russian Karelia to inspect the forestry practices of IKEA subsidiary and timber supplier, Swedwood. What it found there was not pretty. As the documentary points out, Swedwood’s large clear-cuts in ‘old growth’ forest appear to breach FSC’s requirements concerning the treatment of High Conservation Value forest. The use of heavy machinery on vulnerable soils could have a lasting impact.

In response to the concerns raised in the piece, IKEA told Plus-minus that “we are taking these charges seriously and investigating them in-depth with the help of external FSC certifiers”. FSC-Watch is not quite sure what that means, given that the FSC appears to have given up any pretence of carrying out proper investigations of alleged breaches of the Principles and Criteria or other failings by the certifiers – and instead is asking the certifiers to investigate themselves. It will come as no surprise to regular FSC-Watch readers to know that Swedwood’s clear-cutting of old-growth forest was certified by the Rainforest Alliance SmartWood. A person identified in the documentary as the certifier responsible for the Swedwood certificate declines to be interviewed.

The full piece, with English sub-titles specially prepared for FSC-Watch by Pro-Regenwald is here:



  1. FSC has put a statement about Swedwood on its website (http://bit.ly/v6NzTL – and below). “The issue is being handled through the certification body’s formal complaints procedure…” which sounds an awful lot like FSC is asking the certifying body to investigate itself. FSC appears to have handed control over the use of the FSC logo almost entirely to the certifying bodies.

    Swedwood Complaint

    A recent Friends of the Earth Sweden complaint against Swedwood Karelia’s FSC certified operations in Russia takes issue with the definition of high conservation value forest (HCVF) in the region and alleges that some of the areas that are being logged are actually HCVF. FSC’s national standard was developed in Russia in consultation with Karelian NGO SPOK, among others, and is based on Russian forest management best practices, which are different to those in Sweden or Germany. The issue is being handled through the certification body’s formal complaints procedure and will include a full stakeholder review and thorough investigation. If it concludes that activities are taking place which contravene FSC’s National Standard for Russia it will take corrective action, which may include revoking the certificate.

  2. Oh wow, this is so sad.. I always thought Ikea was a good company, and took care to avoid things like this, and use sustainable practices. I won’t be going there again until I hear things have changed.
    I have shared this on my Facebook wall, too, incase Ikea is listening.

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