Saturday, July 20

Ikea eyeing acacia from Sabah


Shafie (right) presents a souvenir to Johansson while from second left, Sandgran, Kovak and Falck look on.

KOTA KINABALU: Ikea is not planning to open a store in Sabah yet but the Swedish home furnishings company is focusing on making deliveries to customers as cost efficient as possible.

Ulf Johansson, Global Wood Supply and Forestry Manager, Ikea of Sweden AB, said the company was also looking at sourcing acacia raw material originated from Sabah and producing furniture in the State through local partners.

“We are looking for partners in the countries we operate today that could supply furniture for the long term for Ikea.”

He said in an interview after paying a courtesy call on Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Shafie Apdal here yesterday.

When asked whether Ikea plans to open a store in Sabah, Johansson said the company was continuously growing its retail operations in new countries.

However, he said Ikea was also seeing a shift in retail shopping via smartphones.

Therefore, he said the company had enabled customers to shop online in Malaysia.

“Living in Sabah, you can buy your (Ikea) products on your phone.

“We are now focusing on making delivery to your home, to you (customers) as cost efficient as possible.

“That is our challenge in Ikea – to build distribution solutions for the new digital world.”

Nonetheless, Johansson said Ikea was looking at using acacia originated from Sabah as raw material for its furniture.

He added that the company was also mulling producing furniture in the State as well through local partners.

He said Sabah also had huge potential in planting acacia.

Johansson said Ikea was already using acacia produced from Sabah but it was an area that could be further developed in light of the current supply constraints.

He said Ikea’s acacia-based furniture was well received by its customers due to the durability and appearance of the wood, adding that the company also ensured its raw materials were certified and produced responsibly.

“There is a need to develop more manufacturing capability of acacia.

“We would be happy to do that in Sabah.”

He said Ikea would like to see more acacia wood being planted on degraded land, which in turn created more jobs and tax revenue.

Also present were Lena Pripp Kovak, Head of Sustainability at Inter Ikea Group; Annie Sandgran, Project Manager of Wood Supply and Forestry of Ikea and Jam Falck, a sivilculture lecturer at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.