The furniture giant's investment company purchased 10,840 acres of forestland near the Altamaha River Basin.
The investment group behind the Swedish furniture giant IKEA, The Ingka Group, has just purchased forestland in southeast Georgia in order to protect the area, as well as its diverse ecosystem, from development. The group announced on January 14 that they had acquired 10,840 acres of land near the Altamaha River Basin. They reiterated the importance of responsible forest management and conservation. This is only one of many acquisitions of forestland by The Ingka Group. The company also holds lands in other parts of the United States, in addition to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Romania, CNN reports.
The Ingka Group purchased the land from The Conservation Fund, a non-profit organization. The land is home to more than 350 plant and wildlife species, such as the endangered longleaf pine and gopher tortoise. These species are now protected under the oversight of the investment group. Ingka Investments managing director Krister Mattsson said in an interview with CNN, "We truly believe responsible forest management is possible and we see that a large part of our responsibility towards the land we own—and by extension the planet—is to restore forests and plant more than we harvest. In all our properties nature conservation is important. In this particular US investment in Georgia, first, it is important that the land cannot be broken up into small units and it remains forever forestland."
Mattsson affirmed that local timber-based economies will continue to be supported and that the public will have access to much of the forest for recreational purposes. The Conservation Fund president Larry Selzer also made a statement. "We are honored to work with Ingka Group and applaud its dedication to preserve and enhance forest quality in the US and Europe," he announced. "Well-managed forests provide essential benefits, including clean water and important wildlife habitat, as well as mitigating climate change." The non-profit hosts the Working Forests Fund, through which it purchases working forests and protects them with "easements" that prevent the land from being broken up in future sales. When this easement is finally secured, the land is sold is resold. Profits made from the sale will be used to acquire more forests for protection.
At present, Ingka Investments has purchased an estimated 612,821 acres of forestland across the world. Additionally, the firm has planted close to 7 million seedlings globally. "For all the forests we own, our commitment is to manage them responsibly, to preserve and increase the quality of the forests over time," Mattsson stated. "Our vision on forest management is to consider all the functions of a forest and plan for dozens of years ahead. We look at it as a commitment to balance the economic, environmental and social aspects related to the forest." The investments are part of IKEA's commitment to climate positivity. One of the company's objectives include reducing more greenhouse gas emissions than the furniture giant currently emits by 2030.