Dallas Morning News
By Dom DiFurio
Nov 22, 2019
IKEA’s parent company is nearly doubling its U.S. forestland portfolio with two recent land acquisitions, including one in East Texas’ Piney Woods.
The most recent purchase of 42,000 acres, which includes the Piney Woods land, follows a separate deal for 18,000 acres of forest in Southeast Oklahoma. The combined 60,000 acres nearly doubles the amount of U.S. land in the Swedish furniture company’s portfolio.
“We are pleased to continue our forestland acquisitions in the U.S, as we see a good match between what the market has to offer and our high standards related to responsible forest management,” said a statement from Krister Mattsson, managing director of Ingka Investments. “The proximity to our current ownership also makes this an efficient addition to our current holdings.”
IKEA parent company Ingka Group previously owned 64,000 acres across multiple states in the southern U.S. It now owns more than half a million acres of forests in the U.S. and Europe.
IKEA began buying plots of forestland around 2015 at a time when timber prices were expected to rise worldwide. The intention has been for IKEA to develop a sustainable source of wood for its furniture for years to come. Though it’s run into some controversy with conservationists in other countries, IKEA has touted its practices as part of its effort to become self-sustaining and a responsible steward of the environment.
IKEA said its management of forestland is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council “to ensure responsible forest management of its properties.”
“We are committed to manage our forests in a sustainable way, with proper care for people and environment, and at the same meeting our business objectives,” Mattsson said.
East Texas’ Piney Woods is home to the majority of the state’s commercial wood processing. Roughly 12 million acres of the forest is considered commercial forestland. It’s also home to more than a dozen state parks and four National Forests.
IKEA and its parent company have committed to becoming “climate positive” under goals detailed in the Paris Climate Agreement. It even issued a statement recently to its employees saying it “remains committed” to the Paris Agreement, despite the U.S. issuing a formal request to withdraw.
IKEA has 374 stores in 30 countries across the globe, including North Texas locations in Frisco and Grand Prairie.