Ikea keen on Sabah acacia joint-venture
Published on: Wednesday, December 05, 2018
Text Size:

Kota Kinabalu: The world's largest furniture retailer, Ikea, hopes to continue its long-term collaboration with the State Government in restoring degraded forests in Sabah. The Swedish firm embarked on a 20-year project with Yayasan Sabah and planted over three million trees to restore 18,000 hectares of rainforest in the Luasong area since 1998.

It is also eager to work with joint venture partners in developing and sourcing acacia wood in Sabah for furniture as it is one of the firm's best products through acacia plantation timber.

This was disclosed by Ikea Global Wood Supply and Forestry Manager Ulf Johansson after his courtesy call on Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal at the State Administrative Office, Tuesday.

"Our main reason being here is to discuss with the Chief Minister about the continuation of the 20-year project to restore a very degraded rainforest close to Luasong," he said.

He noted that wildlife have started moving into the area and of the possibility of turning the area into a research model for degraded rainforest restoration.

"It could be used not only for research but as a meeting centre for people interested in ecotourism and of course create more job opportunities for the locals while making sure the area is protected from exploitation," he said.

He said Ikea sees big opportunities in Sabah to further develop degraded land.

"This are some other areas we have been discussing. We feel the Chief Minister has a very ambitious plan for developing Sabah that matches the ambitions we have in Ikea," he said.

He said acacia may provide the biggest opportunity for it in the State for the moment. "We are already using acacia from Sabah but it could be developed a lot and it's an area where we have supply constraints today.

"We are luckily successful when it comes to selling acacia furniture, we do mainly garden furniture out of acacia and that is very well received by our customers, the durability of the wood, the outlook of the wood, the fact that all the acacia we use is certified, makes a good offer.

"We have a need for developing more manufacturing capability of acacia and we would be happy to do that in Sabah," he said.

"The more we develop acacia wood on degraded land, the more jobs, the more tax revenues we can create the more happy customers we will have in Ikea and at the same time less pressure we will put on the natural remaining forest," he said.

It is understood that Ikea has an on-going collaboration with the Swedish University, Universiti Malaysia Sabah and other universities in Malaysia working on a rehabilitation area in the Maliau Basin.

With the forest now recovering, more and more scientists, a main part of them from Malaysia and Sweden, conduct studies with very high focus on biodiversity in the area.

"We have scientists coming to do research from the US and from Australia and this is hopefully something we can also contribute with our network to spread the word about the values that exists here in Sabah," said Johansson.

Also present were Ikea Wood Supply and Forestry Project Manager Annie Sandgren , International IKEA Group Head of Sustainability Lena Pripp Kovac and Sweden University of Agriculture of Science , Lecturer Jan Falck. - Sherell Jeffrey


Other News

Follow Us  

Follow us on            

Sabah Top Stories