Awhile back, when TreeHugger Lloyd asked if bamboo flooring was really TreeHugger green, he noted that the lack of chain of custody certification made it tough to tell whether or not the bamboo came from sustainable sources. There's no arguing that bamboo is quickly renewable, but its green benefits can be canceled out if growing and harvesting it result in deforestation and habitat and biodiversity loss. Thankfully, some of the guesswork has been taken out of this process with today's announcement that Smith & Fong has secured Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification for its bamboo flooring and plywood.
This certification enables the company to produce "the world's first range of FSC-certified bamboo plywood and flooring," according to their press release. Combined with Smith & Fong's use of glues with negligible levels of formaldehyde, a pretty nasty carcinogen and contributor to indoor air pollution, the certification makes the company's bamboo products a pretty green choice.
Bamboo flooring gets green(er)
Smith & Fong's certified products will qualify for the FSC Pure designation, as they are 100-percent FSC material from an FSC-certified forest and have been sold and/or processed by an FSC chain-of-custody certified company. "The independent European FSC-certifier Institut für Marktökologie (IMO) was impressed with our forestry practices and agreed that if we could meet the same FSC standards for a tree forest, it would certify our bamboo source," Smith & Fong president and founder Dan Smith said. "We have been working with the bamboo forests and telling our story for more than a decade now, and we're grateful to both FSC and IMO for validating our efforts."
What does the certification mean for the bamboo industry?
Bamboo isn't the perfect building or flooring material, but at least this (big-time) hurdle is cleared. We'd love to see a similar certification for labor practices, since so much of it comes from China, or even for indoor air quality, but it's great to know that there's a certified source for the fast growing grass. Now that Smith & Fong have set the bar, we expect other bamboo flooring companies to follow in their greener footsteps, and, with it, bamboo's suspect chain of custody could possibly become a thing of the past. For now, Smith & Fong say the product will be available in the North American market by summer. ::Smith & Fong