The trip started with Anne and Sanne meeting Mr Ximen, the owner of an FSC certified bamboo forest and two factories in Shengzhou. Mr Ximen was keen to show the students his products and explained how he spreads the message about FSC in China. He said: “FSC is very close to my heart. People here think I am crazy, because working with FSC involves additional costs and bamboo is a niche product. But I think that FSC will play a part in the future, environmentally as well as economically.” The two students also worked with craftsmen at a workshop in Shengzhou to make a model of their design.
FSC makes a difference
The award-winners then visited an FSC certified forest managed by Muling Forest Bureau. Jonas Engberg, sustainability manager at IKEA Denmark, joined them. IKEA buys wood from this forest and works with the World Wide Fund for Nature to expand sustainable forestry in many countries, including China.
Jin Zhonghao, WWF manager for the Global Forest and Trade Network in China said: “Through FSC, the local population and the foresters are involved in the work done in the forest, and feel a sense of ownership. They are very proud of their forests.” Local people’s influence on the forest has increased since their involvement with FSC. They are now involved in decisions regarding the forest that may affect them, and logging companies have to consider any complaints or suggestions from all stakeholders around the certified forest.
Jin explained that many Chinese forests in a terrible condition and urged international companies to demand FSC certified timber and wooden products. “When companies have their goods manufactured in China they can demand FSC. And that does not just apply to big companies, but also small enterprises: every drop counts if we want to change the situation.”
Visiting an IKEA factory
Anne and Sanne’s trip began with FSC certified trees in the bamboo forest, and finished with the end product. Their final stop was the IKEA factory in Dalian, where the frames for IKEA’s popular ‘Poäng’ chair are made. Bartlomiej, who works in logistics for IKEA, explained that by next year, 100 percent of the factory’s wooden products will be manufactured using FSC certified wood.
The FSC Design Travel was organized in collaboration with IKEA Denmark.