Long-term partnership to promote forestry and the forest industry

Södra and IKEA of Sweden are now partnering with Linnaeus University in a unique long-term and strategic investment in research and education to promote forestry and the forest industry.

“We operate in a region, and a country, in which forests and forest products play a major role in people’s daily lives, as well as the social economy in general and the climate-change challenges we are facing both nationally and internationally. It is therefore particularly gratifying that we are now deepening our partnership with two major international groups that are based in Småland,” said Peter Aronsson, Vice-Chancellor of Linnaeus University, who would also like to welcome other partners.

Long-term funding is essential if the initiative is to lead to long-term skills development in the forest and forest product sectors. Forestry and the processing of forest raw material currently generate sales of about SEK 300 billion in Sweden. The value added in the processing step is approximately SEK 40 billion, and Småland accounts for nearly one-third of that figure.

“By partnering with industry, we can create a unique platform for experience exchange and resource mobilisation. We need research and education that is adapted to today’s world, and to new national and global conditions. This partnership will allow us to focus on several different fields of research,” said Professor Johan Bergh, Pro-Dean for the Department of Forestry and Wood Technology at Linnaeus University.

The partnership will gather expertise in forest management, ecology, social sustainability, economics and the raw material’s properties and uses under one roof. That will create conditions for coordinating and promoting a dynamic exchange between academia and the business community in order to strengthen competitiveness, create common benefits and increase international visibility.

“Today, we are at the forefront of the shift towards modern and sustainable forestry, and have high ambitions for faster growth and increased climate benefits. This new partnership is highly significant if we want to follow our chosen path of developing both forestry and our industrial investments, such as building systems, bioproducts, energy, sawn timber and pulp. We are already in need of a broader recruitment base, and that need will continue to grow. The partnership will also mean that we can offer internships, as well as additional training for our own employees,” said Lars Idermark, President and CEO of Södra.

Expertise in responsible forestry and effective wood utilisation is a key issue for IKEA, particularly in the interface between forestry, economics and wood technology. Greater knowledge and technological advancements are needed in relation to new wood-based materials.

“Digitisation, internationalisation and business are some of the keywords, not to mention the new demands posed by climate change, such as the need to adapt our forests and to deliver wood-based substitutions for today’s fossil-fuel materials. Used correctly, wood can play a major role in efforts to halt climate change,” said Ulf Johansson, Global Wood Supply and Forestry Manager, IKEA of Sweden.


Johan Bergh, professor and head of subject for forest-related research and education, Linnaeus University, phone +46 70 292 25 25, email

Annika Sand, senior press officer, Linnaeus University, phone +46 76 830 01 05, email

Ikea Press Office, 

Södra’s Pressroom, phone: +46 (0)470 890 90, email: