The Swedish nature conservation organization Protect the Forest has asked the accounting firm NEPCon to withdraw the forest management certification issued to Swedwood Karelia. The conservationists are claiming that the Karelian subsidiary of the Swedish timber company Swedwood is felling unique undisturbed forests of high natural value, which is in violation of the principles of voluntary certification by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).
The accusation that Swedwood Karelia is destroying valuable Karelian forests resulted from field inspections of the company’s logging operations on its leased forest lands in the Kalevala region and in the vicinity of the city of Kostomuksha. The Swedish ecologists organized two expeditions to northern Karelia in 2010 and 2011, and they found clearcutting in old-growth forests leased to Swedwood’s Karelian subsidiary. Swedwood is part of the IKEA group. The participants in the expeditions recorded the coordinates and took photographs of the logging areas, as well as of stockpiles of pine logs from trees between 200 and 600 years old.
As stated in Protect the Forest’s appeal, Swedwood and its owner IKEA have deceived their consumers by asserting that their forestry operations are environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable. The Swedish ecologists also expressed hope that future development of the timber industry in Russia and Karelia will emphasize more effective use of secondary forests without destroying protected areas of undisturbed taiga.