10 December 2015
Global Landscapes Forum

How green are bamboo products? INBAR presents new report

A new report released on 9 December at the COP21 Paris Climate Conference, presents a scientifically validated process to assess the green credentials of products made from bamboo. It shows how items made from this versatile plant can be carbon-neutral – or even carbon-negative – over their lifecycle. This is a tool that producers can use to certify their green credentials for the increasing number of bamboo products on the market.

The report uses a Lifecycle and Carbon Footprint Analysis, to demonstrate how evidence can be produced to measure bamboo’s environmental impact for the manufacture of durable products. This analysis evaluated bamboo flooring, decking, cladding, panels and beams. It shows that these products have a carbon-neutral footprint – after production and processing in China, transport to consumers in The Netherlands, and incineration at end-of-life for energy production.

Because of its fast growth, sustainable harvesting, and wood-like properties, bamboo is widely perceived as an attractive green alternative to other materials that are used in the building and interior decoration sectors. But some argue that the environmental cost of production combined with the fact that bamboo resources are located far from Western consumer markets, requiring long-distance transport, mean that environmental costs outweigh these products’ green benefits.

“If bamboo business is to expand to reach its full potential, especially in developing countries, the industry needs to transparently demonstrate its environmental performance. A robust lifecycle assessment provides the evidence that consumers, markets and regulators are asking for,” says Hans Friederich, Director General of the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR).

Hans Friederich was a speaker at the discussion Climate Smart Agriculture for healthy landscapes and livelihoods at this year’s Global Landscapes Forum in Paris.

For more information see INBAR’s press release