Saturday, 19 February 2011

IKEA bags IKEA trees

IKEA, the all conquering home furniture giant, are well known for having a very sharp marketing department. And one of this departments sharpest moves may well have been to suggest that IKEA sells their large blue woven plastic bags for the tiny sum of 50p.

Emblazoned with the IKEA logo, these have provided free advertising for the retail giant across the UK, sometimes in the most unlikely places.

Within the BFTF household, there are three of these hard wearing bags in service. Together they manage to hold an entire weekly shop (which can be packed much faster than if one was using supermarket carrier bags), are sometimes pressed into service as holdalls for trips to the seaside and have even been considered as winter sledges.

A measure of their hardwearing nature is that they are still going strong after over 2 years of service.

Whilst this type of bag is hardly new (I can certainly remember using smaller, more "grannyish" versions as a child), such robust bags seemed to be rather out of fashion during the 1990's and 2000's, so it is good to see that at least one store is selling them at a reasonable price.

This blog being what it is, it has sent a message of congratulations to IKEA, as shown below:

"Just wanted to let you know that your large blue IKEA bags are brilliant. We use them for our weekly shopping, as holdalls when going on holiday- even as sledges in the winter. Well done on such a robust design and reasonable price."

Having said that, from the BFTF perspective, IKEA is no snow-white example of perfection. In particular, it is difficult to be sure that the wood used in its furniture comes from a sustainable source. When asked about this, staff at the store seem unsure and give a variety of unconvincing answers. So, having just given them a nice fuzzy warm feeling, BFTF proceeded to jab IKEA with a pointy stick:

"Just wanted to let you know that I often decide not to buy products from IKEA as I do not feel sure that the wood has been sustainably sourced. I have asked staff at IKEA about your policies and have received conflicting answers. The only certification that I trust is FSC, and I will remain uneasy about purchasing wood based products from IKEA until I see a FSC logo on them."

Dear reader, perhaps there is a business or service out there that YOU could steer in the right direction with a word of encouragement or constructive criticism.

As BFTF guests from Greenpeace and FSC have commented, it can take a surprisingly small number of emails or letters arriving at head office to make a change in policy. . .

Update (24th Feb 2011)
Recently received a response regarding the Bags in which IKEA said that thank you for the positive comments and that they would pass them on to the relevant department.

Also received a response regarding the source of the wood in their products in which IKEA pointed me towards a link on their website. BFTF has followed the link, and it describes a number of worthy projects that IKEA are involved with. However, that is not really the issue at hand, as described in the email bounced back to IKEA:

"Thank you for responding. I've visited the link suggested and have looked in particular at the "IKEA Forests Projects" page. Whilst all the projects listed are admirable, they are rather besides the point.
The question I ask myself at IKEA is "Is this specific product made using wood
from a sustainable source?". The answer, generally, is "I don't know". So I often walk away."
In contrast, I am often reassured when shopping at B&Q by the "FSC certified"
logo on many of their wood products."

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