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Are Bamboo products shipped from Asia sustainable?

Updated: Nov 3, 2022

Most of the bamboo comes from China, which can lead to higher energy expenditure in shipping.

However, here are some facts that still make this product CO2 negative:

· bamboo grows 9 times faster than wood

· in fact, is one of the fastest-growing plants!

· it doesn’t need to be planted again, as it’s harvested without cutting the roots

· bamboo flooring has greater durability, hardness, and water and sunlight resistance than hardwood

· a grove of bamboo release 35% more oxygen than an equivalent stand of trees

So, how sustainable is bamboo?

Quick answer: bamboo is CO2 negative! (And this is including the energy expenditure on manufacturing and shipping)

At Upcircle we carefully check the sustainability standards before specifying or recommending a product to our clients.

According to a INBAR study using Life-Cycle Assessment and carbon footprint calculations to analyse the environmental impact of industrial bamboo products that are manufactured by the company MOSO International, the conclusion is that almost all industrial bamboo products are CO2 negative. (The credits for bioenergy production during the end-of-life and carbon sequestration due to land change outweigh the emissions during production and shipping.)

Carbon footprint over life cycle
Bamboo in construction

An interesting but not surprising graphic shows the carbon footprint of the bamboo vs. various common building materials.

We’ve been working closely with Moso Bamboo Flooring & Westo, Decospan, and Bamboo Family, just to name a few suppliers.

Residential project using bamboo flooring from Moso
Moso Bamboo flooring

What is INBAR?

The International Network for Bamboo and Rattan is an intergovernmental organization bringing together some 41 countries for the promotion of the ecosystem benefits and values of bamboo and rattan.

Bamboo and rattan are astounding resources with unique potential to combat poverty and natural resource challenges. They grow locally to some of the world’s poorest communities in the tropics and subtropics, and have many uses, providing a vast range of sustainable products, livelihood options, and ecosystem services. If we can harness the potential of bamboo and rattan, the Global South will be closer to achieving its ambitious development, climate, and environmental aims, including the Sustainable Development Goals, green growth, REDD+ targets, the Paris Agreement commitments, and the Aichi Biodiversity Targets.

What’s your favourite sustainable product in the architecture or interior design industry? Add yours in the comments below!


Technical Report no.35. The Environmental Impact of Industrial Bamboo Products. P. van der Lugt, PhD & J.G. Vogtlander, PhD. You can read the full report here:


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