The third and final day of the Global Bamboo and Rattan Congress focused on innovation and the important role of business for bamboo and rattan sector development.
The final day of the Global Bamboo and Rattan Congress focused on ‘business and innovation’. To start the day, INBAR and the Global Science Technology and Innovation Conference (G-STIC) co-hosted a high-level dialogue to focus on these issues. Veerle Vandeweerd, Senior Advisor to G-STIC, stressed the importance of innovation for climate change and poverty alleviation, and mentioned that bamboo is attracting increased attention. Vandeweerd shared that at G-STIC 2017, the INBAR-led bamboo session was “the best attended and best noted.”
Vandeweerd introduced a number of speakers to the stage, to discuss innovation. Firstly, Madame Jiang Zehui, co-Chair of INBAR’s Board of Trustees, introduced some of the winners of the INBAR China bamboo innovation competition, and provided an overview of how China is contributing to the development of the bamboo sector.
Robert Nasi, Director General of CIFOR, Indonesia, discussed some of the most important innovations in forest-relevant areas, including remote sensing technologies and new ways of managing forests, as well as bamboo’s new potential use in emissions trading systems.
John Hardy gave a keynote speech about his famous Green School: a bamboo school complex he built with his wife in Bali, Indonesia. The Green School uses the natural shape of bamboo to create its structures, and aims to inspire children to connect more with nature. According to Hardy, we are not yet realizing the full potential of this plant: “Bamboo deserves to be more than panda food. It deserves to be big, beautiful buildings too.” At the end of his speech, Hardy presented a gift of a giant bamboo culm, inscribed with INBAR’s name, to INBAR Director General Hans Friederich.
Professor Yang Huanming introduced the new Global Genome Atlast for Bamboo and Rattan, sharing the results of his research and explaining possibilities for further developments. And Mr. Ye Lin, from China’s Engineering Research Centre Bamboo Winding Composites, introduced his patented new biobased material, which can be applied in a number of ways: as bio-based pipes, some of which are already installed in Hohhot, Inner Mongolia; flatpack housing, which takes two to four hours to assemble; lightweight and safe train carriage fuselage. Mr Ye shared how bamboo winding composites aim to compete with steel, cement, metal, plastic and timber as a low-carbon, lightweight and flexible alternative material.
On a similar note, Mr. Einar Haveland, the CEO of Norwegian company Ecopole, discussed his organisation’s work replacing timber with bamboo in energy distribution poles across Africa. Ecopole’s work started in Kenya in 2012, and is currently expanding. The poles cover untreated bamboo in polyethylene pipes, providing a product that Haveland describes as sustainable and non-polluting.
Finally, Professor Jan van Dam discussed innovations which will help with the sustainable development of biocommodities.
From 1040 until 1530, participants could attend a large number of panel discussions. Several continued to discuss the role of business in bamboo and rattan development: from job creation for women and rural communities, to the importance of setting standards and the ways to link internationally recognized brands to bamboo and rattan. Other sessions focused on specific bamboo and rattan products, including the bamboo bicycle, as well as innovative processes which will make the production of engineered bamboo more sustainable. Throughout the day, a sustainable bamboo building symposium discussed issues of bamboo design and the challenges with the bamboo construction market.
By 1600, all sessions were finished. In a closing ceremony address, Hans Friederich listed some of the key outcomes from BARC: including the launch of a large inter-Africa project across Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana and Madagascar; a call to extend the ongoing Dutch-Sino project; and the agreement by all INBAR Members of a ‘Beijing Declaration’, with commitments to further develop the bamboo and rattan sector. “I said that I did not want this Congress to be ‘just a talking shop’”, Hans said, “and I am delighted to report that this has absolutely not been the case.”
In a clear demonstration of this spirit, Dr. Li Nuyun, Executive Vice President of the China Green Carbon Foundation, announced the start of a new project, which aims to offset the carbon emitted at the Global Bamboo and Rattan Congress. The China Green Carbon Foundation will support INBAR to establish a bamboo plantation in Yunnan province, China, which over time will aim to sequester all the carbon emitted over the course of the Congress. The project is being co-funded by Mr. Yang Ziyi, the CEO of Kunming Suge Greening Engineering Company Ltd, and Mr. Yang presented a check for RMB 100,000 at the ceremony. Finally, Madame Jiang Zehui and Mr. Peng Youdong, Deputy Administrator of the National Forestry and Grassland Administration, thanked everyone for their attendance and expressed the hope, shared by Hans, that the Congress would inspire real action.
As with days one and two of the Congress, the spirit of day three can be summarized by this quote, from INBAR Director Hans Friederich:
I hope you believe, as I do, that we have made some real steps forward for the development of bamboo and rattan. Over the next few weeks and months, we will be processing all of these new developments and will be letting you know more about what happens. So I would ask you all to stay tuned, and encourage you to remain part of the conversation about bamboo and rattan!