The friction between the private sector and environmentalists is long standing. So long and historically right. We’ve been down the path of crop commercialization before. Therefore it’s never in history worked out well for the environment. Or a new species, a new crop, a new product.
Yet a silver bullet plant that can provide exactly what industry and markets needs. And yet typically such plants go one of two ways. Because the way of Jatropha. A way which after a few years of being touted as the miracle plant of the biofuel industry, simply faded. Faded moreover into nothingness. As well as the way of oil palm. That’s where industrialization boomed. With it came a mile wide trench of environmental devastation. Oil palm is not alone. Especially from corn to eucalyptus. Because the majority of plants that have undergone rapid commercialization fail. That’s because they have caused a number of environmental and social issues.
Therefore no plant is inherently green. And bamboo is no different. It can be grown well, and sustainably. All under which framework it can be extremely positive. Or it can be the cause of deforestation. As well as the conversion of natural ecosystems. Finally and the subsequent environmental and social degradation.
With a suite of new bamboo products seeming to appear everywhere. Consequently too on an increasingly frequent basis. Therefore we started to look at how commercialization of this crop might be different. This research kept leading us back to a single company. I mean that appears to be paving the way for this global conversion of bamboo from a small scale crop turned into handicraft and maybe some flooring. Also to a real viable fiber. All the while apparently maintaining all of its benefits.
The growth of Bamboo
So why is bamboo forging a path that is likely to be different? Simply, the foremost player currently responsible for the plant’s industrialization at a global and commercial scale. Because it is setting a benchmark of sustainability in front. Especially as they pioneer and grow the plant at scale. I mean rather than in their wake as an after thought.
EcoPlanet Bamboo did something few private sector companies do. It went after, and actually received independent 3rd party certification. Especially within months of its plantation operations. Consequently underway in Nicaragua.
Also and moreover the Forest Stewardship Council forest management certification, validation and verification of the plantations’. As well as the climate change benefits through the Verified Carbon Standard. As well as an additional assurance. Especially of the social and environmental benefits. All through gold level. That’s Climate, Community and Biodiversity certification.
Then in addition, the Kowie Bamboo Farm also followed suit. All by acquiring the Forest Stewardship Council certification. That’s again within a few months of the completion of planting.
Of course, certification schemes like FSC are not bullet proof themselves. I mean they often come under issues. Hey but they have proven benefits. As well as it’s better than no external auditing at all.
Through these early moves the company seems to have set the benchmark. A benchmark for what sustainability means in the context of commercially grown bamboo. As well as why the plant should never be grown otherwise. EcoPlanet Bamboo is coining the term “tree free” and “deforestation free”. All to describe their bamboo fiber and marketing the company’s focus to only grow bamboo. Especially on degraded land with relatively low inputs per ton of fiber output.
These benefits all translate into added social impact. That’s with sustainably grown bamboo having the ability to transform lives in underprivileged rural communities.
So maybe EcoPlanet Bamboo can successfully scale its model of stringent certification and conscious capitalism. Maybe bamboo is indeed poised to successfully provide the marketplace with a sustainable alternative fiber.
Organizations such as the World Bamboo Organization provide an additional – non private sector. I mean a layer of attention to ensure that as bamboo continues to get the attention it deserves. Because it is done so in a positive and realistic manner.
EcoPlanet Bamboo has put out a number of highly informative videos that provide a clear snapshot. Especially of how their framework for bamboo is pioneering a path as a truly sustainable alternative fiber. More then timber and manufacturing industries globally.
They also run a Bamboo Plantation Blog that helps both laymen and aspiring bamboo farmers to join them in their framework of making sure that bamboo maintains its positive attributes.