At the time of this article (2019), they owned 66,000 acres of forest in the country.
IKEA is the largest private forester but most of Lithuania's forests are owned by the state  and overseen by various state bodies, some of whom operate them as commercial concerns including, almost certainly, selling timber to IKEA.
That's a strange way to put it.
More obviously, 1 acre ~= 0.4 hectares or ~4000 m²
Alternatively, 1 hectare ~= 2.5 acres
There are 50,000 and 60,000 acre tracts owned by separate logging companies near me, and that’s a small part of one county in northern California.
Point being that 10,000 acres isn’t actually as much land as it sounds like, when it comes to forest land.
However, I don't understand how it is any kind of signal of virtue.
Would it be virtuous to buy productive farm land and take it out of circulation?
How is forest land any different?
In a previous life, it would be broadly correct to say that I worked in the forest industry. My body still hurts when I think about it.
I worked for wood lot owners, felling trees, trimming off the branches, sectioning the logs, splitting the wood and then stacking it to be sold by the cord. These woodlots had been in operation for over 150 years. Same land, different trees. They still operate now.
I also worked as a tree planter, hired by small contractors working for 'big forest'. Us tree planters went in after the heavy equipment had ripped out the trees, tearing the land to shreds in the process. It felt like what ground would have been like after a B-52 strike, an eerie hell scape, but with an explosion of small plants and flowers with new access to the sun, deer and other wildlife roaming free, wondering at the strange human interloper. Sometimes wolves and bears, at which point it felt rather lonely, me with a Swiss Army knife (mostly for the fork) and my nearest crew mate being well outside shouting distance.
The churned up land we were planting had been pulp forest itself for over a hundred years. As I planted, others were taking soil and water samples. To the forest company, the forest was a long term asset and that it thrived was in their interest.
I didn't think about it much then, but others long dead had planted that ground before me. Those foot long trees I planted have long been harvested and new trees planted in their place.
Trees are like wheat, or corn, or quinoa. Except instead of being a once a year crop, trees are once every twenty five years or so.
Otherwise, what's the difference?
Kind of irrelevant to the article which you're commenting on though because they're not buying productive forest land to take it out of production, they're buying productive forest land to continue managing and harvesting it, rather to keep it from being rezoned and developed.
If this land was used for timber, it would reduce biodiversity in Georgia. That would unquestionably be a bad outcome for the environment. Deforestation and a reduction in biodiversity is a major problem the world faces, and it impacts much more than just the trees and plants - much of wildlife like animals, insects, and fish are losing their natural habitat and being driven extinct as a result of this practice.
You can hype up timber forestry tactics all you want, but what Ikea has done is a good thing for the world, no matter how disingenuous they might be due to their products consuming large amounts of timber for furniture.
Not that anyone is saying this directly, but I disagree with the argument that good, productive land left fallow is better than good productive land that is producing.
My brother makes a living and feeds his family based on his wood lot. Traces of original settlers from nearly two hundred years ago are found throughout the forest. Which is to say, it is pretty obvious now that it was not suited for farming.
But as forest, it is wonderful. There are at least six species of viable commercial trees at scale. Maple, oak, cedar, black cherry, pine. Most original species, or those introduced by the original indigenous people or the first settlers. The crab apple trees pop up in strange places.
My brother has a government approved forestry management plan that takes from the forest each year far, far less than what the forest produces. The forest will remain diverse and support a family well, indefinitely.
The trees are coming out in a managed way that is creating trails, with clear evidence that wildlife is making good use of the trails. Across the forest, he has installed a wide assortment of habitat for species at risk, birds, bats and others, several of which had not been seen in the area for generations - and they are being used! Under the managed forest, wildlife is returning in which there is no evidence had been there for at least two generations. This wildlife is moving into the adjacent conservation authority land, not the other way around.
If this was not an owned and managed forest, this would be happening at a much slower rate.
If I had to compare that against a plan that left the land alone, I'd tilt my hand to the one that actually supported people, in harmony with nature.
I'm also ignoring any of the chemicals that farms use on the land, but it is something to also consider.
"IKEA’s goal is to purchase wood which is 100 per cent FSC-certified from these countries. At the same time there are many indications that forests with high conservation values are being logged by FSC-certified companies. FSC-certification is far from a guarantee for socially- and environmentally friendly forestry and FSC has received serious criticism from many environmental organizations, both in Sweden and internationally. Several environmental organizations have left FSC in protest. " 
So practically, you have a situation where IKEA acts on some shady rules established by this FCS that are unreliable. Moreover, countries with corrupt officials will eventually end up in prison but too late, before the harm is done. Generally, if as a Romanian I go outside to protest against IKEA and corrupt politicians exploiting the Carpathians, I'm told that I don't respect private property and that IKEA acts according to the laws of that country (created by corrupt policians with shady lobbies), in the end IKEA becomes the victim.
Majority never will, see Navalni exposing theft after theft and ending up in jail himself.
Shouldn't they start fixing the world there?
The actual solid-wood furniture I have seen is either quite expensive, or (somewhat ironically) unfinished.
All this being said, if you do have the money to spare, spending a bit on quality or better labor practices is good. For example, I bought my bed frame from a company in the UK, and was quite happy with the finished product (despite some unfortunate luck with a part of the frame, which I put down to the fact that I ordered during the holidays).
It's also super heavy, which I personally hate. Annoying to move in, move out, move around.
Happy to shed some further insight into the world of wood. You are indeed right about engineered wood being easy to shape & produce. The main driver really is all about cost. The reason IKEA's furniture is so cheap is down to how they've designed it which is also purely automated. Their design process will start with "how cheap can we possibly make this whilst having a structural integrity that will be accepted as satisfactory". Which essentially means, it won't last forever, but long enough for a few years. Which we all know and accept, myself included. You could say they are not environmentaly friendly in this regard, however, that's certainly not fair given their excellent sustainability efforts in other areas, such as aiming to be climate positive by 2030 and having a million solar panels on their store roofs.
"Engineered" wood is both high & low quality product, depending on the use. A glue-laminated beam can be as strong as steel in buildings. Composite cladding on facades of buildings can last for a centuries (tbc as we've not had time to see it degrade yet). But then there's the cheap end of laminated, fibre board, OSB, MDF cardboard filled, etc, which is mimicking wood but is far from it. A simple knock or exposure to moisture will ruin it's aesthetic and structure. There's many different uses for different situations.
So engineered wood can be both expensive and cheap depending on how it's made. It's often made from the recycling of wood or sawdust from other timber processing.
So then we have solid natural wood. There's a good reason it lasts for a long time and that's simply because tree's themselves have evolved to stand tall and strong. There's many types of softwoods and hardwoods which I won't go into. But the additional problem with producing at IKEA scale is not only is it more expensive, there is also the natural element of knots, splits, cupping, etc which deform the wood. We might lose 20% (waste factor) of the wood we buy (as we only make beds with 100% solid wood) because it's simply unusable. Even when the wood meets the structural criteria, it can also visually be very different between the same species because of whatever natural environmental influencers happened to that tree. So the whole process of using solid wood is much more challenging, expensive and time consuming to ensure the quality of the product is consistent. The "consistency" is also key for IKEA. However, the beauty and eco-benefits of natural wood are well worth, as well it lasting almost forever. So it's worth the investment for the long term.
Hope that helps.
(Thanks for your order btw)
> And then it it all ends it can became firewood, which ikea furniture can't.
Of course it can. You wouldn't burn it in a fireplace, but then fireplace is very inefficent way to burn things anyway. If you burn it in a trash burning facilities like they have in Sweden, you get the most energy out of it, you can heat local homes with waste heat in winter, and it creates less pollution (fire places are being banned in dense urban areas where I'm from). It's a fairly good solution for the seasonal energy demand in northern areas.
I personally think IKEAs approach is realistically the most sustainable, but they could improve it by improving the recycling/reuse of the wood fibers in their products.
I've used and refurbished old solid wood furniture myself. It's a luxury IMO. There's not that much of it to go around. It doesn't scale. It's not a solution to the worlds problem.
I also think the quality issues of IKEA furniture is exaggerated. I have a cheap TV table I bought as a student 15 years ago. It has been moved around several times. Seen a lot of abuse. I didn't really have a use for it in our new home so I've used it as a tool table while renovating. It still looks fine. A tiny bit bent, but still good. Can probably give it to another student to use.
If you want to say that buying long-lasting furniture is significantly better, I think you need to point to a study showing how many resources each approach uses, and the average life-span in the real-world. It's far from obvious that solid furniture is better.
Obviously most people buy the cheap stuff, but that's the case of any low/medium end furniture chain really
For example, my most recent purchase from Ikea was one year ago, when I bought a couple of tables made of steel, on which I keep some E-ATX computer cases.
Those steel tables look like they should last more than a human lifetime.
Ikea used to be well made and decent quality 20 years ago. It all went downhill from there and now most of their furniture gets damaged by just looking at it.
I'd gladly invite to my study, which is decorated using IKEA Galant (office) furniture. Every item in the set is high density wood composite and tables are built upon steel structures. They would outlast my children easily if they're not abused on purpose.
Or my Kitchen, which is again built by IKEA with high density composite and its workmanship made a good carpenter jealous.
If you want top of the line items in a category, look for "Stockholm" series.
And if water gets in and doesn't get removed immediately you're in for a world of excitement.
Given that kitchens are remodeled every 7-10 years "on average" paying for solid wood/plywood might not be worth it. But there's a reason commercial kitchens are stainless steel.
> And if water gets in and doesn't get removed immediately you're in for a world of excitement.
On higher end IKEA furniture there's no hex structure inside. It's filled. Solid. There's no inside.
My kitchen is 8 years old and it has a solid wood counter. I re-oil it occasionally but, there's no degradation whatsoever. It's guaranteed for 25 years so, it's not something flimsy. Again panels and cabinets are not hollow. There's no inside of these cabinets.
It sounds like Galant may be MDF which is more durable but still experiences expansion when wet.
The countertop is solid wood to help prevent that type of damage - and as long as you maintain the plumbing it should last quite awhile.
For the table tops, IKEA's Professional Office Buying Guide quotes:
"Tested for tough treatment: The BEKANT desk series have been tested according to the highest standards for professional office use (EN 527, ANSI/BIFMA X:5.5 for desks and EN14074, EN1730 and ANSI/BIFMA X:5.5 for conference tables) and meets our strict standards for quality and durability."
Galant's table tops are rebranded BEKANT recently, however it's the same stuff AFAIK.
The buying guide is here: https://cdn.ikea.com.tr/buying-guides/Professional_office_bg...
Looking at the wood, I suspect it's spruce or pine, with visible joins in the shelving uprights, as well as in the shelves themselves.
In terms of longevity, I don't see that much of a difference. They both require basic care and maintenance to keep in one piece.
People throw away furniture, regardless of who/how its made. Thats the issue we need to tackle.
But is it a sustainability problem? No. In fact if I can recycle wood destined for the furnace into engineered wood, it’s better. If I can recycle engineered wood to become engineered wood again, it’s better.
The other benefit of real wood you mention (restoring and finish) happens less in the western world. Here they dump and move on. Sadly.
Anyway, stop buying their $5 tables and get something a bit more sturdy.
Most people grossly underestimate how wild and pretty much lawless inland rain-forest regions are in the Brazilian state of Amazonas. There are small pockets of settlements everywhere but except for Manaus there is very sparse infrastructure, Police will take days to get somewhere by boat, Healthcare deep in the forest is pretty much a death sentence if you happen to need urgent critical care. You have people that have never been registered with social security, etc.
My point is that having a piece of paper saying that a specific rosewood tree belongs to IKEA or <NGO> would mean nothing, by the time you try to enforce this, the tree would have been fellen, cut, and shipped on a boat to the highest bidder.
If you want actual change in the region you need to develop the local economy with jobs that allow these people to be productive in a way that is somehow more profitable than the existing illegal activities. But the practicalities of this are much harder to implement then simply blank buying forest land.
That could be true, but only holds for one tree (or a small number of trees). The problem starts when people build a business around trees. By the time their businesses are fully operational you can enforce laws. And this makes it unattractive to even start in this line of business.
Even assuming good faith from Brazilian law enforcement/military the remoteness and shear size of the rain forest makes it a huge challenge to enforce any rule of Law.
> A (...) satellite-based system, DETER, went into operation in 2004 (...)
> “DETER completely changed the way rangers went about enforcement work,” said Rajão. Rather than doing random patrols and checking for permits, rangers would send squads of enforcement officers — with satellite images in hand — to investigate areas of recent, suspicious activity. That made it much easier to remove or apprehend equipment. The word spread among deforesters. The existence of DETER meant that environmental authorities would likely notice if large tracts of land were cleared, and fines and agents would follow soon enough.
- the most obvious was mentioned already: forest fires, when missiles explode in a forest you are trying to protect, things tend to burn and fire tends to spread i.e. there might be little forest left to save after you're doing killing everyone who has bad intentions.
- where do you even set these up that they arrive on time to actually hit moving targets?
- how do you ensure you don't kill innocents?
- how do you even _find_ nefarious actors, when forest canopy makes it very hard to find anything, not to mention the Amazon forest is mind-numbingly huge.
- AFAIK the military generally has an inventory of weapons they have to keep stockpiled, so the tax-payer will pay for extremely expensive weapons to be used and built again (great if you want to support military-industrial complex).
As stated elsewhere, the issue is deeper and not addressable by blowing people up. The people doing this have nothing to lose because they have little or no opportunities for making money, so they take any job they can find. Do you believe we should just murder people who make questionable decisions based on their survival? You and I are sitting comfortably behind a computer having this discussion and I would venture that neither are us are qualified to talk about what it's like to be that close to starving.
- poor starving people just trying to feed their families and in order to survive, will take any job and are being exploited to this end by <cartels/greedy corporations/etc>
- dirty scumbags killing innocent animals and cutting down swathes of protected forest just to make a quick buck
or any other narrative that sells clicks, not to say all media is corrupt/greedy, but it sure seems like most public reactions are based on media narratives.
That said, if you entirely removed morality from the equation, I suspect it would actually be an efficient use of resources, to 'surgically' target varying levels of unwanted enterprise to make a somewhat dissuasive point.
The only challenge I see is that the folks running the saws and the skidders aren't the ones profiting from the operation. So maybe you take some extra precautions to avoid killing the crew, but destroying the equipment seems like a perfectly acceptable use of resources.
You seem misguided, rainforest is not equivalent to high humidity or rain all year round, you absolutely have wildfires and it is not a 'pretty low' risk. 
Also most of these operations are lead by organized crime and explore poor people in their day-to-day operations. Killing desperate and poor people that work on these illegal operations seems like a very disproportionate colateral for anyone that cares about upholding rule of Law, or you know just general ethics.
There's a similar problem with your idea. You could buy a stretch of land in Brazil and bask in the glow of taking it off the market. But the problem you perceive with overuse of the Brazilian rainforest wouldn't be solved; that land was mostly not on the market anyway. How would you stop farmers from encroaching on your land? A "No Trespassing" sign won't do the job.
Buying land to prevent development will work better in the US, mostly because there's no one in the US who lives off the land. You can't stop small farmers from moving on to your unsupervised land. But you can easily stop giant logging or mining companies from doing it.
A bit more than 300$ went into Kiva donations (you can choose for every loan, to cover administrative costs). 20$ went to currency losses. 80$ went to default losses.
The default losses are 10% of what I put in, or 1.6% of the total amount lent. And I explicitly chose a few loans that were explicitly marked as high-default-risk, because of the social situation of the recipients or due to the political/economic situation in the region.
I cannot confirm that my money dried up in default losses. I still think it's quite a good model (but I haven't followed economic research about microloans in the last few years).
Edit: I grew up in the amazon region, parents worked in an NGO. Giving people gifts/donations is worthless to most, since something gifted feels like it has no value. If you build a water well for free, it will be broken in a few months to years. If you make the village pay a part of the costs on the other hand, and if they must help building it, they'll value it more and keep care of it. It's a cultural thing. I could imagine that loans work the same way: You don't get a donation, you'll get a loan that you have to work for. In that culture, it will be valued more. (Of course, that applies to the region I grew up in, I don't want to over-generalize.)
100 dollars have been used for 500+ loans, the last 8 years or so. While you can pick the recipients yourselves, I've opted for automatic re-lending on the platform.
That really depends on how much they want the security. People defend territory all the time. It's very, very expensive to do that -- have a look at some city walls -- but it's cost-effective because they are using the territory.
But no, no matter how large the group, they cannot buy cost-effective security for their giant stretch of wilderness if their plan for it is "don't use it" and there are other people who do have a use for it. Compare American government efforts to stop people from using land to grow marijuana. Is the problem that the American government just isn't big enough?
People are generally doing that in areas where people are allowed. Also the government has a stupendously large amount of land that it didn't pay for and a low budget for keeping anyone out.
It's different if this is land you're purchasing in the modern age. If you're buying a million acres for over a hundred million dollars, then that's about 150 miles of border to patrol. If you hire 150 people for that, at above-median wages, that's 3 million a year. Add some overhead, some expense for equipment and buildings, it's affordable enough compared to the purchase price. If that's too expensive then go up to 10 million acres, which triples the land area per mile of border. Or 100 million acres.
> If that's too expensive then go up to 10 million acres, which triples the land area per mile of border. Or 100 million acres.
I don't really follow. The use case is that you want to prevent small farmers from encroaching on the jungle. This will only ever happen at the border between where the small farmers end and the jungle begins. If you buy land behind the border, that's nothing but a waste of your money (until the border is so thoroughly dejungled that your old hinterlands is the new border).
In turn, this means that all of the land you're interested in is border. You can't rely on the fact that a circle has a high ratio of area to perimeter to claim cost-efficiency, because you're structurally constrained to owning maximally cost-inefficient strip shapes.
But assuming your scenario is the right one:
Buying only the border land is a strict improvement in efficiency over my plan. Instead of paying X million for land and Y million for security to protect a huge swath of rainforest, you only have to pay X/50 for land and Y million for security. Who cares about what percent goes to what, you're saving tons of rainforest for even less money.
In the extreme you might realize you don't even need to buy any land, you're just paying for security to protect the rainforest. Instead of paying 100 billion to own and never visit, you pay 1 billion a year to protect land you don't own. Which... sounds fine to me!
You probably need a watch tower about every 1~2 km, or even less if you'd use a strip of minefield to protect against hordes.
Shop around, not all organisations are equal. Also, there is probably similar programs in your area. A lot of good, well established wetland repurchase & conservation efforts in the US.
I think in general, supporting things like working forests from a government level (tax benefits) is probably something that isn't done enough, given forests are one of the best carbon sinks available to us.
They might want to write that into their books, but note that by buying an existing forest, no additional CO2 reduction is achieved on a global scale.
I know it's counter-intuitive, but it's *almost* better for the environment to NOT recycle paper and bury it in landfills. We're essentially reversing the process of extracting oil.
At best, a young and growing forest can be a temporary carbon sink, until it reaches maturity (and steady state).
Alternatively, a forest might support continual carbon sinking if and only if the recently dead and/or mature trees were somehow harvested and treated/stored in such a way that their carbon would not decompose and re-enter the rest of the biosphere.
The only thing comparable these days is peat bogs that act as carbon sinks (because their plant matter does not decompose due to acidic and anaerobic environment).
A growing forest does consume CO2 more than it releases, but it does not seem to be the case now
A forest that is left untouched acts as a CO2 sink by photosynthesis and "capturing" the CO2 as bio-mass.
A re-forestation of land previously used for agriculture acts as a bigger CO2 sink because the potential for biomass capture is greater there.
- Big company/person X is does beneficial thing Y
- It's just a PR stunt!
- It's a ploy to leverage something else and make more profit!
- It's so tiny that it doesn't even make a difference! If they REALLY cared they'd do A, B, C...
- They're actually doing Y to accumulate Z for some nefarious purpose!
- I once did some interaction with X or their products and it went poorly!
- X has skeletons I, J, and K in their closet! Watch out!
- Man, what's with all the X haters on HN today?
- Hoo boy, here come the X fanboys!
I don't think people should just assume it's a positive impact without all of the facts. It could very well be a negative. You seem to be only focused on one dimension of this, forest conservation.
Here's IKEA's original Press Release which has been worked into this "news" article. The original PR actually has much more clarity: https://www.ikea.com/us/en/this-is-ikea/newsroom/ingka-inves...
IKEA makes it clear that the forest was formerly owned by a conservation group and was seemingly not in danger of being developed, contrary to the headline here.
"Ikea uses about one percent—yes, one percent—of the world's entire commercial wood supply. That amounts to about 17.8 million cubic yards of lumber last year. " 
I guess they need this PR purchase to appease some eko organization. And this is equally ridiculous.
Ikea is making furniture, something people really need. Why they have to explain themselves for doing something useful? What should they use to produce furniture? Would plastic be any better? Iron? Stone?
Aside from one wardrobe which I had to get rid of (it was 237cm -- too tall for this house, so I gave it to my parents), the only furniture I can think of that hasn't lasted is the stuff from places that wasn't Ikea.
I get the feeling that Americans don't rate Ikea as highly as Europeans for some reason, possibly because it's a foreign firm (thinking of popular american TV shows of the late 90s and early 00s showing people struggling with assembling flat pack furniture)
> When entering the US market, it faced a major challenge because the business model it had been using was not replicable in US. Soon IKEA realized that the local culture was a challenge and there was a definite need to adapt to it
Also, even though furniture snobs hate it, I love pointing out their KALLAX or BILLY units behind them in online meetings :D :D Then it's "oh yeah but this is my home office, it's not so important".
In my place literally all my furniture is from Ikea and I love it. I don't like spending much on it, and IMO the durability is really excellent. What really helps is that they sell cheap covers for my couches, so if I get bored of them or they get dirty I can just buy a new cover for 29 euros and it's like a brand new couch again!
All aggreed that the delivery service is rubbish.
But yeah N=1 :)
Generally, while they are in one piece and not moved, they are fine. But trasnporting or disassembling this stuff is a risk. The tiny wooden pegs, plastic bits and agressive screws going straight into soft board can rip out chunks, snap off, etc. Good luck getting a replacement door, etc.
I don't doubt you've had trouble, and I don't know what their website or otherwise remote customer service is like, but to say that the service is just not available at all in the US appears incorrect.
Assuming there is a store nearby and even that the company is still in business. It's vendor lock-in.
Meanwhile, my solid wood sideboard could be repaired by any competent cabinet maker, without needing specialist hinges or plastic brackets. Not that it is liable to fall apart as easily as particleboard & veneer.
IKEA can be repaired by any competent cabinet maker. IKEA doesn't use anything fancy and weird, all their stuff is standard or a slightly variation of standard and could easily be replaced by a standard one. In fact most of the IKEA stuff is so popular it has become standard.
IKEA sells both particleboard & veneer for their cheap/budget friendly stuff and hard pine/other wood for more expensive stuff.
You can't have cheap and solid wood, it's just too expensive.
Go down to the local wood shop and buy all the wood you need to make a sideboard and tell me how much it will cost. Certainly will be leagues higher then buying a particleboard & veneer version of the same thing.
Pine is a softwood.
Any novice woodworker/joiner should be able to fix IKEA w/o any parts from IKEA even.
With some practice, West System epoxy, filler and fiber glass can easily repair chips and chunks. It helps that I'm not fastidious about aesthetics, so lacking the laminate on top after a repair suits me. The little bits are more challenging to source if Ikea has stopped manufacturing or supplying them. I'm hoping 3D metrology and printing can help with that, so waste from people tossing out old furniture for want of a small part nearly goes away.
I recently ordered a replacement door myself, just to make it look new again.
Coincidentally this appears to be changing as of yesterday - https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-55796429
What's left are shelves and the two wooden sides of the bookcase itself. The shelves can be ordered: https://www.ikea.com/us/en/p/billy-extra-shelf-white-1026529...
So I would rephrase your "no item numbers apart from connectors" to "everything can be replaced except for the two sides of the main body". And even those you can get by ordering a new cabinet without any doors or extras, since that's basically the sides + a number of shelfs.
This is clear because, as you say, you cannot buy the sides, or the unique bottom piece on its own. And the piece which is most likely to degrade is the one which has many connectors pushed into particle board potentially multiple times - the sides.
Maybe it was a poor example, but I think my point still stands. There are many other furniture products for which no spares are sold, or happen to be available to purchase for other reasons.
Of course in many cases is easier (faster/cheaper) to replace the entire 'thing', altogether.
It's not like we buy them as show pieces.
ABS edging is cheap (like really cheap), can get a cutting tool for 10 euro, and glue the edge with double sided tape (or contact adhesive - more messy thought)
I cannot confirm that IKEA furniture is not durable. It's mostly not hardwood, yes! Of course if you're not careful you can rip out a screw. But that screw or that board is usually easily replaced. And of course, IKEA also has cheaper and more expensive models, models that are not very robust, and models that are.
The IKEA kitchen island I have is made of solid wood and standard hardware. The top is butcherblock and can easily be resurfaced. This island will last many years.
The IKEA 'linmon' desk I have is laminated cardboard. The weight of my monitor causes the desk to bow. The surface has the durability of flat paint. My phone slipped out of my hand from 12 inches above the desk and put a 1/4 inch deep dent in it. I'm pretty sure if I squeezed it hard enough with my fingers, I could crush it.
The chair show it's ages on the fake-leather upper side (where your back lays) but then again... It's been used at elast nine years (but maybe it's been ten or eleven).
But then again, a lot of more expensive furniture doesn't fare any better.
Okay it's not grandma's stuff that's made of thick solid wood and lasts centuries, but it has really held up well to reasonable abuse.
It is exceptionally cheap though.
A decade seems reasonable to be honest. In order to be comfortable and ergonomic for ~8 hrs a day the chair will inevitably have some soft components that wear out.
Heirloom furniture is in some ways less sustainable than Ikea products. I am not sure there would be enough sustainable hardwood in the world to meet demand at the scale of Ikea.
People have different furniture needs than they did decades ago, and in terms of weight, logistics, material use, Ikea are quite efficient.
It's not hard to imagine a government rather fancying getting a tax receipt from extraction companies, particularly if it is seen as green. Who would presumably lobby rather hard against it. This suggests the absence of pricing at source is to some extent a result of successful lobbying.
Sure they would make less money off corporation taxes with lower exports, but as those receipts are generally low anyway the tradeoff going to carbon tax would likely be favourable.
Main problem is figuring out how to incorporate emissions into price signals.
It didn't really work out so far, otherwise we wouldn't be talking about an emergency.
1. Electrify everything possible
2. Shift all electricity production to renewables, massively increase power output with nuclear nuclear nuclear.
3. Carbon capture.
Sometimes I wonder, as a mind experiment, how close we could get to practical carbon burial with a process based on sinking polymer blocks in the ocean: the specifics of the polymer blocks wouldn't matter at all as long as the surface doesn't degrade into spreading microplastics and total density would be high enough to sink, and they could be shaped like standard containers for easy logistics. The result of the mind experiment is always the same, even that could not possibly compete with leaving fossils underground.
Additionally, carbon capture does not necessarily mean we are burning "fossil" fuels. Carbon capture could be using the Sabatier process to create methane from the CO2 in the air, which you then use to power rocketships/jets/etc, which we are still not very close to electrifying.
Why? What is wrong with capturing carbon the way trees naturally do? (Honest question)
The closest thing we have today to those "eternal tree corpses" are peat bogs were decomposition is kind of broken even today (and guess who discovered that dried up peat can burn, even if it's a very dirty fire? Humans. We just love oxydating carbons).
Though word is in the air that the previous assessments might have been very optimistic.. although that will probably only be discussed in 2022 when the 6th assessment report is to be published. Which presses the issue only further.
With green energy, digital gold is a lot more green than physical gold. Bitcoin is like electric cars – not super green right in this moment when the grid is still dirty, but all it takes to make it greener is to green up the grid.
Meanwhile the classical banking system: uses all forms of transport which green up slower (armored cars, planes, etc), requires crazy amounts of construction (I don't even want to guess how much cement has been used in the construction of physical banks all over the world), all those buildings use energy for AC/lighting/etc, require huge amounts of manpower to manage trust in the system (people definitely aren't green), and also need their own datacenters anyway. And I'm sure I'm forgetting some things, where as with BTC pretty much all consumption is baked into mining, which again just gets greener automatically as the grid gets greener. Nobody is running a Bitcoin mining operation off of diesel generators. If you did the math (impractical given the breadth of the existing banking system), I think you'd find Bitcoin is already far greener than the existing banking system, by a huge margin.
And cryptos like Ethereum have the potential to 10x/100x/1000x that with things like PoS vs. PoW as well as the fact that Ethereum smart contracts can not only replace banking but probably other industries as well, such as title companies and various other middlemen.
It's been 13 years now and nobody's done it, because that's a terrible idea. The reason lawyers exist is that all contracts have ambiguity and require a human to review and consider. All contracts have circumstances that aren't captured. Just ask the DAO folks.
Middlemen exist for a reason. Efficiency, conflict and ambiguity resolution, and so on.
Blockchains are only useful for things that are entirely captured within the blockchain. As soon as you interface the blockchain with the outside world you have to trust something to enter and capture that data accurately - garbage in, garbage out. Once you're trusting someone, you don't need a blockchain, just fire up and RDS instance and save everyone the headache.
And with tokens that are tied to real-life things, the benefit is that once you've used real-world trust systems (e.g. real-life contracts / lawyers / courts / etc) to tie something to the blockchain, you can (going forward) hand everything over to the trustless and secure system. i.e. You tie your property to the blockchain once, and from then on you don't need to involve all those inefficient systems, you just transact the tied token directly on the blockchain.
Just because it hasn't been done successfully yet doesn't mean it's not viable. How long did the internet exist before [thing that is taken for granted on the internet now] was successful?
Finally, Ethereum launched in 2015, not sure where you're getting 13 years from.
But I see your point.
We should make a pyramid/MLM scheme where you're promised rewards for planting trees, segregating waste, cleaning up in any potential wildlife habitats, and reducing/reusing stuff in general.
Panic is rarely useful. It might lead you to move at high and low velocity.
A lot of human progress is result of human actions but not planning. Centralized planning around "climate change" would 100% be a recipe for disaster and a monumental failure about which future generations will write for 100s of years just the way we talk about slavery today.
Your use of carbon makes my existence on the planet a bit risky and hence you should pay me some compensation. But how much ? That is an impossible task for anyone and not just for the centralized government systems but even for highly efficient private players looking at very small problems. This is something that even outright climate change deniers like me admit.
Moving the lifecycle of a piece of furniture from 3-5 years closer to 20 is highly worth it; even if I no longer need it I prefer to leave it on the curb for someone else than have to shove it into the trash can. And these metal shelves will last longer than I will - and can move to the garage if I no longer need them.
Last time I moved I found that thrift stores are very picky about what furniture they accept.
Tried that as well. They took a dining table with a few scratches in it, but no charity I talked to wanted bookshelves or TV stands/media benches.
Spotted a few comments from people saying they have had second hand items (3rd, 4th etc) - and I think that in my head is where my version of "disposable" has come from.
When I no longer want an Ikea product because it doesn't fit, or no longer needed - I will sell it online, and get a new one - for me I have "disposed of it" but actually its been "recycled" to someone that really wants it.
Anecdotally - I have never thrown away any IKEA furniture due to old age or defects. It's always been passed on, or I have received a new one. - Admittedly this is just my POV, and I fully understand people have their own experiences - but I would like to think that in some small part, I am helping with that sustainable process.
IKEA in this case, I am glad that they are at least trying to do something (again not saying other companies don't but we are in a thread about IKEA's recent work!) - and I would like to think that to round of the ring of sustainability that it isn't just the companies that need to input, its the people that use it too.
Maybe I am being too idealistic, but I will do what I can in my small little bubble to be part of that sustainable process!
I realise I got this far and didn't think about the point I was trying to make! - But yeah, from my perspective I don't feel like IKEA design it to be disposable, but I am sure other people have other experiences too :)
I'm very much surprised about the amount of comments here on HN (today and in many previous discussions) that claim to reuse IKEA furniture; it's completely contrary to my experience. My opinion of IKEA furniture is that it's single-assembly - trying to break it apart irreparably destroys it.
I conclude there must be either high variance in IKEA's production quality, or we're comparing apples to oranges. Maybe some IKEA products have more reassembly potential than others. Someone mentioned an office chair elsewhere in the thread - yeah, that obviously can last years and be moved, because it's made of metal and hard plastics. But most IKEA furniture I experienced is made of dried toilet paper glued with formaldehyde^W^W^W^W^W^Wmedium-density fibreboard and assembles destructively.
I am sure there are different experiences out there, could also be the circle of friends that do a lot of IKEA "freecycling" meaning I do see a higher quantity of re-used items being moved about.
I know that depending on the type of item as well there is a build quality issue - like Kallax shelving, it is a little more sturdier than the slightly cheaper version, and given I started with Kallax, I have stuck with it - Same with the Billy book cases too!
Although, the Diam Cake you can get from IKEA... that 100% is not going to waste, and 100% no one is getting a "second hand" one from me... there will be none left ;)
But returning back! It could be Apples to Oranges, there are so many products, and in my experience I have seen people stick to the same grouping of products as well, which could see re-use more possible than say another grouping (for any number of reasons).
Who knows, tomorrow the shelf behind me might just fall apart and I will be back eating my own words :)
Look for furniture that will withstand someone leaning or sitting on it. The cheap designs are held together with cam-lock nuts and bolts or screws, and it's inevitable that at some point someone will lean on the desk and pull the screws through the particle board.
Furniture that will last longer has multiple fixings to keep it square, or diagonal cross-pieces (or a flat sheet).
This is going to last much longer:
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Some local pollution, but you ultimately are sequestering the carbon, so all is well.
The answer is, partly. We probably couldn't fix global warming, but we probably could negate a reasonable chunk of emissions.
This certainly can be more efficient and environment-friendly than using prime slow-growth oak (for example).
A bottle of coke should incorporate the cost of fishing the plastic out of the ocean.
Also still included in an EV is the carbon cost of mining, refining and manufacturing:
- Metal parts
- Plastic parts
- Organic fabric parts (raising cattle, big cost. Pleather? Still costly, and now it's plastic too, can't win)
- Battery minerals and production
- Electronics manufacturing
- Glass manufacturing
I am still all for EVs mind you, hell yes. But they are a massively consumptive item.
Much of it will last a lifetime as long as you never disassemble it or move it further than the next room. Some of it is more fragile than that. Very rarely something is more durable -- here's looking at you, Klippan!
Why only the companies should be responsible?
I would say it's fairer to share the "blame" with everyone else. The consumers, the government, the whole society.
Most furniture from 30+ years ago is broken. The older it gets, the more likely it is to have been broken. For your grandparents (and the folks they passed it on to), it means: You were able to have space for the table all the years, and didn't move into a place where it didn't fit. It means it didn't have accidents. Do you have chairs that came with it - or did they break too (very common)? If you do have the chairs, are they sturdy enough for a child to climb on and wiggle in? (many aren't).
It means they didn't have a fire or break the table when moving it (if they moved over the years).
It means they could wax it and so could everyone else. It means they could do repairs when needed. It means that it didn't rot despite waxing.
It means that you (and/or other family members) also had a space for it: If you bought an old piece used, it meant that there was an avenue to sell it.
And a bunch of things like that. 90 year old furniture isn't the norm, and can hardly be used to verify that older things are made better (and besides, they had some cheap stuff too).
Danish Design type of furniture is what breaks if you are not careful. I.e. slick nice looking chairs and what not.
Ikea doesn't compete with hardwood furniture... They compete with Wayfair, target, and Walmart furniture. Ikea builds a significantly better product with the same materials IMO.
The low prices at Ikea and others definitely encourage over-consumption - buying a new table instead of restoring an old one for example
Personally I don't necessarily subscribe to this argument, I think that we can focus on bigger sources of pollution/waste than transporting flatpack lumber, but I can see the argument
No way. Not as long as population growth is a thing. A lot of people shopping at IKEA are buying furniture for the first time. Imagine if we switched to all hardwood furniture. People would still need to buy as much furniture for the next 20-40 years or so at least, but now those furniture will have a huge environmental impact. Maybe you reduce the long-term impact, but probably not for 50 years at least.
Making things out of cheap and low-impact particle boards, cardboard cores, etc, is probably the most realistic way of reducing the environmental impact. It maximises the use of the wood, you can make it out of fast growing wood, and you minimise use of materials. If you reuse more of the wood fibers through recycling, it'd be even better.
I feel like this whole "we should use long-lasting re-usable furniture" thing is more about upper middle class people wanting to feel good about buying expensive furniture or spending the time to find and refurbish old furniture. There's nothing wrong with it, but it doesn't scale.
Not only that, it being made out of particleboard doesn't necessarily make it disposable. My parents have a set of Pax wardrobes that they've had for 20 years (give or take?), and they're perfectly functional, and with some small amount of TLC (a small tin of paint) could even be classed as pretty!
I question that. Population growth is not that fast, and I can easily see how the amount of replaced furniture is bigger than the amount of furniture bought for the first time.
Manufacturing is done by machines but maintenance and repair are generally carried out by humans.
Agree that hostile design or just lack of attention are also huge issues.
If you want to fix furniture, you need space and tools, so you need bigger houses (or the ability to move the furniture to a community spot) and tools. Tools will generally be made of metal, and needs factories to make these tools. Some of the parts are available freely: I'm guessing not all are.
Manufacturing will need to be different as well if your pieces aren't designed to be repaired in such a way: Who knows if this would be more environmentally friendly.
Not to mention that it is a skill, so a repair might not even repair it but break it further - but now we've made the tools and things on top of the furniture (that didn't even use up scraps of wood, but caused them).
They last decades, and can be used to repair tens of thousands of items.
To suggest that their environmental impact is higher than that of equivalent favtory equipment needed to produce furniture is delusional.
You are simply reducing manufacturing of one type of furniture with another (that doesn't use the scraps in production) and very much increasing a lot of other manufacturing and increasing the space people need to have available to do these things.
Edit: I'll mention that many folks are simply going to buy the cheapest tools to fix stuff: A decent drill isn't cheap, but a cheap drill might get you by if you only use it lightly and occasionally. If people are using them more, I suspect more will be thrown away. At least the furniture is using some renewable products: Drills aren't made of wood and pressure and glues.
Western society has become full of contradiction...
Consumerism is environmentalism,
War is peace
Freedom is slavery
Ignorance is strength
(Throwing it away also includes giving it to the thrift store.)
This is never going to fly with regular folks, though. We could probably reduce pollution a ton if people started patching their clothes, but that's never going to happen either.
I don't see how using it is bad.
By this logic, so is oil.
FWIW, hardwood takes DECADES to grow, and "softwood" is pretty much junk.
That carbon in your furniture isn't going into the air anytime soon, hopefully never.
It's a shame that wood is not as popular nowadays.
Of course people should regrow two trees for every one cut.
The problem is that, like with clothes, people THINK they need more and newer things all the time because Marketing tells them that they do.
I read somewhere (can't find the link right now) that shit tons of clothes and other items are not laying around in warehouses not being sold (due to lockdown) and I don't see people walking around naked in the streets.
So, before buying something, ask yourself: 1) Do I really need it? 2) Can I buy it used?
I only ever buy furniture because I really have a need for it. Not because I think it's cool or anything.
This is a problem with capitalism, not IKEA or clothing.
>American Airlines has tried to make amends, by announcing a significant pay raise for flight attendants and pilots , to take base pay rates to industry highs, years ahead of when union contracts would become amenable.
>The stock AAL, +6.63% tumbled as much as 8.6% in intraday trade, before paring some losses, even though the airline reported first-quarter earnings that beat expectations, while revenue rose in line with forecasts.
>“We are troubled by [American’s] wealth transfer of nearly $1 billion to its labor groups,” Baker wrote in a note to clients.
Exactly, IKEA *processes* one percent of commercial wood supply to build furniture for people. People who want furniture from IKEA use one percent of commercial wood supply. People want furniture made out of wood.
Same logic applies to oil companies who extract oil and WE use it to drive cars, take buses, use plastics, build roads etc.
If we convert that into acres we get... c11k Acres.
So they have bought and protected roughly what they will use across the next year, effectively like an offset.
Yeah, seems a little over the top to me too.
Ikea makes particle board furniture. Particle board is basically glue plus waste products from all the other things that use wood. You might as well complain that the dog food and fertilizer industries uses some % of the world's meat.
I won't say Ikea is a benefactor company because they preserved that land, but it certainly won't bother me!
They've had these issues for at least 5 years, I remember reading about it back in 2015.
OTOH, it was recently announced that in order to promote sustainability, IKEA is going to sell spare parts too.
That's pretty good imho.
And keep in mind that we're talking about wood, something that's fairly recyclable, all things considered: imagine if apple started doing the same with iphone and macbook pro parts (that is selling spares directly to consumers)
And even if that were true, their prospective sales don't depend on the "Western" world only, not to say anything about the fact that equating "the Western world does not buy stuff anymore" with "the world doesn't buy stuff anymore" is peak orientalist (but this being standard corporate communication it does not surprise me).
Of course it is, they just use illegal loggers in Romania to offset their actual need for the crappy disposable stuff they produce. They seem to get away with that no problem, despite EU restrictions on it.
I've never seen the appeal of IKEA when it came to furniture, the long lines at some of the bigger ones I've been to (for breakfast) are baffling and you'd think they were giving the stuff away given how long some people would wait to get in. It all looks and feels so cheap, it looks like what they use when staging a home for sale or what a cheap studio set looks like for a 1 shot scene in a movie.
IKEA had to settle so many wrongful infant deaths in the US, something that arguably could have been prevented by the parents, but it doesn't undo the fact that it comes down to a sub-standard QC/QA practices and literately no engineering in their design team. But, IKEA (now a Dutch company not Swedish despite its branding) is the China of furniture and focuses on that business model: cheap, disposable items that are profitable only at immense scale.
> Well, just because they're producing something useful doesn't mean they can't give back at the same time! Small changes add up.
Ha, useful... I'm guessing you've never lived near a University. the amount of IKEA crap that shows up in the dumpsters near off campus apartments at the end of the term is enough to make you forget about the word 'useful' when describing IKEA ever again. I've spent most of my time near Universities in the US, and its always the same crap littering the area after finals. The cheap plywood gets warped if it snows outside so most of its damaged beyond repair for even 2nd hand use. I wanted some night stands to use as in the garage for my tools once when I was in HS and was willing to do some repair work, but after dragging the thing a block it literately fell apart and the plywood had disintegrated and warped beyond use.
By that I mean that Ikea furniture doesn't chase current trends the way all the other big chains do (I'm in Austria). So buying furniture from Ikea means that you can use it for a long time without your home looking from a certain area.
Also, going to Ikea with kids is a great experience. It's almost like going to a theme park, and alternatively you can drop them off at the Småland.
Some of them, multiple times.
Did you mean "era" given that you mentioned time? "Area" also sort of makes sense which is why I wanted to clarify.
Basically "IKEA" as a total entity is split into two parts, one is the stores and things related to that like customer support and property management. That bit is ultimately owned by a Dutch holding company and then a Dutch foundation.
The other bit is "the concept", the design and production of the furniture, and the logistics. That is ultimately owned by Interogo Foundation registered in Liechtenstein.
In practice it's all controlled by the Kamprad family, which currently live in England and Belgium according to wikipedia.
Reportedly the reason to have ownership in the Netherlands is to avoid taxes, which is a integral piece of the IKEA culture of cheapness.
If the Netherlands would rewrite those laws, the Kamprads wouldn't be able to do what they're doing.
Unfortunately we live in a world where virtue signaling is more important than actual virtues and winning arguments is more important than actual winning. Yes this is a PR thing and will help to create a positive public image that IKEA hopes will help them thwart the evil eyes of the rent seeking politicians.
Note: A tree is useful and carbon negative only if it is growing a tree in forest that has stopped growing is mostly useless for offsetting carbon, if anything we need a Logging 2.0 where we cut down a lot of trees and use them for long term purposes such as furniture, housing, infrastructure etc. and plant and grow new trees.
> Why they have to explain themselves for doing something useful?
They don't have to and neither does Amazon, Google, Exxon and thousand other companies have to explain anything to the public or govermint and yet you see so many attempts by government and activists to force them to explain.
To those in the second camp I'd ask, why shouldn't society seek to place limits on corporate behaviour when it believes that behaviour is harmful to the long term goals of society? Why should the profit motive be put before social need?
Without social and governmental intervention we'd still have cigarette companies paying doctors to promote their products as safe and healthy. We'd still be experiencing crime waves brought on by leaded gasoline and fireproofing would still be made from asbestos. Should the government and activists have allowed these things to continue? If not, what differentiates them from expecting Ikea to responsibly manage it's consumption of lumber?
Don't trees grow till they die?
Only if it burns, dead tree are generally eaten away over decades by insects, fungus and birds.
AKA, whether you burn it, or leave it in the environment to rot/compost/etc the carbon eventually turns back into C02. In order for trees to be a carbon sink they have to be sequestered in an O2 free environment forever. AKA, they need to be feedstock for the oil the cockroaches are going to use to build their civilization in a 100M years.
Also people say IKEA is cheap but IMO it's actually rather expensive for what you're getting. Walk into an auction room and see what you can get for that 200 euro.