Keeping a good thing a good thing. The lessons from palm oil.

Header Good Thing

There are many reasons we love bamboo. For its softness. For its comfort. And because it’s such a sustainable crop. In our blog The difference bamboo makes to the air we breathe we highlight the many reasons that bamboo is good for biodiversity and a solution to the land use crisis.

We’re advocates. But we’d be irresponsible if we didn’t recognise that, as with anything, you can have too much of a good thing. And there are lessons we can learn, most notably, from Palm Oil.

Bamboo Forest 03

What happened with palm oil?

Palm Oil is an incredibly efficient crop. Palm oil supplies 35% of the world’s vegetable oil demand using just 10% of the land.

And it’s versatile. Palm oil is in nearly everything from pizza and chocolate to shampoo and deodorant.

When the world cottoned on to palm oil’s potential, production went into overdrive. Natural and diverse rainforests were cut down to make space for palm oil plantations.

But this deforestation of some of the world’s most biodiverse forests destroyed the habitat of the Orangutan, pygmu elephant and Suatran rhino. It created an increase of monocultures – the very opposite of healthy biodiversity.

Something had to be done

Recognising that over production of this wonder crop was creating irreversible harm, in 2004 the Roundtable of Sustainable Palm Oil was formed. RSPO created best practices for producing and sourcing palm oil. And RSPO certification means that companies must be transparent in how they source and use palm oil as well as giving them the opportunity to encourage and support smallholder programmes and sustainable landscape initiatives.

Applying these lessons to bamboo

If we’re going to transfer the lessons from palm oil to bamboo, we have to do it now so that the industry develops sustainably. That’s why we’re focusing on it as part of our Impact Positive Land Use goal.

We’ve commissioned a study through ADAS to measure our impact on land use and on biodiversity. ADAS are expert consultants in agriculture and environmental science and you can read their case study Achieving a positive impact: How sustainable is bamboo?

This needs collaboration which is why we’re actively engaging with and inviting other bamboo brands, experts and industry stakeholders to work with us.
Bamboo is so good for the environment. We plan to keep it that way.

Palm Trees