FSC-Certified Bamboo Plywood Now Available
Bamboo has been used as a construction material since prehistoric times. Now that it has become an international commodity in the form of strip flooring and plywood-like panels, pressure on the bamboo forests of eastern Asia is greater than ever, leading environmentalists to question whether all bamboo products are still a good ecological choice (see EBN ). Having addressed concerns about indoor air emissions with a formaldehyde-free binder (see EBN ), Smith & Fong of San Francisco has now set a new benchmark with the first bamboo products to carry independent certification in accordance with Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) standards.
As of this summer about 30% of the Plyboo panels available in North America from Smith & Fong will carry the FSC label. FSC certification will extend to all Plyboo panels over the next few years, as the area of certified forest in China expands and can supply more raw material. Pricing for the FSC-certified panels has not been determined, but any premium will be as much due to the cost of the formaldehyde-free binder as the certification, according to president and founder Dan Smith. FSC-certified bamboo flooring will be available on a special-order basis. Few changes were required in bamboo resource management practices to achieve the certification—the challenges are mainly in the documentation and verification process, according to Smith. The certification proves, Smith says, that the company’s operations in China, and in fact all bamboo production in the Zhejiang region, have been environmentally sound all along.
Smith & Fong worked closely with its suppliers in China to get its bamboo forests certified according to FSC’s existing standards for forests in the region. Smith & Fong also received chain-of-custody certification for its manufacturing operations and its distribution facilities. Certifications in China were carried by the Switzerland-based Institute for Marketecology, while the U.S. operations were certified by the SmartWood program of the Rainforest Alliance.
– Nadav Malin
For more information:
Dan Smith, President and Founder
Smith & Fong
San Francisco, California