International Bamboo and Rattan Organisation

International Bamboo and Rattan Organisation

Sustainable Bamboo Value Chains

17 Nov 2020

INBAR continues work to identify and promote more sustainable bamboo product development and trade.

Bamboo products can be an important part of more circular economic growth, provide a low-carbon, biodegradable and/or renewable alternative to traditional materials. However, a number of challenges – from a lack of standards, to gaps in product development – need to be overcome before bamboo can replace timber, plastic, PVC, cement or steel.

In early November, a team from INBAR went to Fujian Province to investigate the development status of export-oriented bamboo processing enterprises, as part of work for the ongoing ‘Trade, Development and the Environment Hub’ initiative. The team travelled to Sanming, Nanping, Fuzhou, Zhangzhou, Longyan and other counties and cities, to interview key export-oriented bamboo businesses about their value chains, raw material supply, product development and international trade and markets. In total, the team visited more than 30 enterprises in 10 counties and cities.

Surveying bamboo products in Yong’an, Fujian with INBAR Director General Mr. Mchumo (left side).

The Trade, Development and the Environment Hub (‘Trade Hub’) is a global initiative to promote the sustainable trade of major global agricultural and forestry products and commodities. It is financed by the UK Research and Innovation Global Challenges Research Fund, led by the UN Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Center, and jointly implemented by more than 50 institutions around the world, including INBAR. INBAR is focusing on promoting sustainable trade of bamboo and rattan products by eliminating obstacles among bamboo supply chains, facilitating bamboo products as an alternative for timber and emissions-intensive materials, such as plastics, and increasing general awareness of bamboo’s importance for policies regarding circular economic growth, low-carbon economy and sustainable development.

With more than one million hectares of bamboo forest, and a very developed sector, Fujian province in China is a good starting point to evaluate the bamboo industry’s sustainability. Over the course of their trip, INBAR project staff surveyed a number of companies about everything from bamboo pole supply and resource efficiency, to marketing, research and development, existing standards for products and trade regulations.

As part of the project, INBAR will also survey bamboo enterprises in other provinces of China, in order to build a full picture of the current status, trends of China’s bamboo industries, as well as the challenges it faces. The project team will then identify key policies which can encourage the bamboo sector’s development and facilitate international trade of bamboo products.

Fujian houses a wide range of bamboo product enterprises. Left to right: bamboo furniture, ‘wood-laminated’ bamboo flooring,  bamboo single-use takeaway boxes.

For more information about INBAR’s role in the Trade, Development and Environment Hub, read here.