IKEA and the Norwegian Government should know better than to destroy the cornfield at Vestby

Local authorities are eager to get about 300 jobs from the new IKEA facility. This should not outweigh Norwegian soil protection laws, the need for increased national food safety as stated by The Total Preparedness Commission’s new report (contested area could produce 10.000 bread a year), the war between Russia and Ukraine – the worlds corn chamber, especially the recent blowup of the Kakhovka dam and an increasingly warming world where it is expected that some corn areas in the United States will not produce a crop.

Sustainability is an integrated part of our business. The total IKEA sustainability agenda is outlined by the Strategic Sustainability Council.

All the major cities in Norway are surrounded by some of the best soils for agriculture, hence why the cities are placed where they are in the first place. This means that agriculture on these soils often dates back to the 13. century. Still, agricultural soil only counts for 3% in Norway, far less than most countries we like to compare us with.

As the world’s population increases, soil protection has become a central issue. The 68th UN General Assembly declared 2015 the International Year of Soils (IYS) (A/RES/68/232).  All political parties in Norway approve of the importance of this matter. However, at a local level, more and more land is being used for other purposes.

When Vestby municipality chooses to approve that this area to be re-regulated into a furniture warehouse, it is definitely not taking responsibility for food preparation. This is a truly headless decision.

Recently, the government decided to tighten the soil protection target.
The responsibility for managing the area used for food production should also be raised to a higher level, for example to the State Administrator. The municipalities cannot have this responsibility if they are not able to manage the land areas, but use them for things that will destroy them forever. They must ensure that you do not put trade, industry and housing on cultivated land.

Bjørn Gimming, Norges Bondelag (Farmers Union)

The flour in this bag is grown in the Akershus municipality Vestby. Photo: Erlend Dalhaug Daae/NRK

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