Thursday, 1 July 2010

Bamboo - Areas of Concern

The biggest reason to be concerned about a bamboo product stems from the fact that more than likely it was made in the People's Republic of China. Bamboo in itself is great and one of the most remarkable plants on the planet; but, sadly, everything has a political context. The context here is that it is very unclear how sincerely the authorities in Beijing are committed to green issues. They effectively scuttled the Copenhagen climate change talks when President Obama insisted on some independent way of monitoring how the Chinese were carrying out their promises.

So when a Chinese company making bamboo furniture or bamboo flooring claims that the bamboo was grown in an environmentally friendly fashion can you believe that company? Maybe not. However, if the bamboo product you buy is from a company with FSC (forest stewardship council) accreditation then you have more reason to give credence to the green credentials of the bamboo product. For a list of FSC accredited companies selling strand woven bamboo flooring follow the link.

It is not only a matter of not clear cutting forest to grow bamboo. It is important from a green interior design perspective that any bamboo furniture that you buy has not been covered in toxic pesticides. Check before you buy any bamboo product to see if the bamboo is organic.

Finally, there is the matter of human exploitation. The communist authorities having set up a workers state feel it unnecessary to have fair trade programs whereby farmers are fairly paid for their efforts. So when you buy bamboo from China you never know if the farm workers were paid fairly for their efforts or whether they were provided with the basics of sanitation, health care and access to other amenities while they worked the bamboo forests of the Zhujiang river delta in Guangdong Province.

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