Bamboo: What a Revolting FSC Development Part III

By Mike DiGiuro | Posted: 01/12/2014 2:49PM


Mike DiGuiro Flexible Materials For years, there has been some question about the role of bamboo in the Forest Stewardship Council's (FSC) scheme. Bamboo is technically a grass, so most people considered it as neutral when calculating FSC claims. And since it was neutral, it could be included as a valid FSC input.

Despite its classification as grass, there has been in recent years, a move to get bamboo FSC certified.

For a while, there were folks who would calculate standard bamboo veneer laminated to an FSC core as FSC certified, and others that would require FSC bamboo veneer laminated to an FSC core to be so designated.

Well, FSC, never an organization to shirk an opportunity to control something (anything) has announced a clarification on bamboo products.

Despite bamboo being a grass, FSC has come to the following conclusion:

“In addition, bamboo is often used in many of the same applications as wood products, and is considered by the FSC to be a forest product despite its technical classification as a grass. Therefore, bamboo may be included in the calculations for both MRc6 and MRc7. If bamboo is added to the MRc7 calculations, all bamboo on the project (FSC or otherwise) must be accounted for in the value for all new wood-based components for the project. Applicable Internationally”.

Sooo… as I read this, bamboo must be FSC certified to be included as an acceptable FSC input and to have a valid FSC claim. There is FSC-certified bamboo. It is, however, substantially more costly than standard bamboo, and is not nearly as readily available.

What has not been addressed with this ruling is whether there is any bamboo that may be certified as "controlled wood," that therefore could be used as an acceptable input for FSC claims. The specific link to the FSC response may be found at:

I’d like to thank Rob Ziegelmeier of the Architectural Woodwork Institute Sustainable Resource Committee for finding this nugget of information and passing it along.

Read more Mike Digiuro:

What A Revolting FSC Development This Is!

What a Revolting FSC Development Part II

Mike DiGiuro recently retired from Flexible Materials of Jeffersonville, IN, capping off a 40-year career in the veneer and plywood industry. He is a frequent presenter at seminars and industry meetings, and writes the occasional article for trade journals. He may be contacted at

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David Short    
New England  |  January, 15, 2014 at 06:15 AM

The concept of bamboo being "green" is a joke to begin with. Produced by the world's leading polluter with a process requiring lots of energy & chemicals and then shipped half way around the world

Camille Rebelo    
Chicago  |  February, 04, 2014 at 05:52 AM

The above comment is not a recent clarification nor one made by the FSC. Rather, it was the result of a USGBC ruling to a 2009 request for clarification on bamboo's role in LEED certification. The FSC only considers bamboo to part of the forest matrix under specific circumstances and management regimes. As for David's comment below… as with any species, bamboo can be produced sustainably as EcoPlanet Bamboo is doing, or it can be produced at the expense of the environment.

Springfield  |  February, 08, 2014 at 03:45 PM

There are lots of forms of sustainably harvested bamboo. It is a misconception that the worlds bamboo all comes from Asian regions or must be shipped from the other side of the world. Lamboo, Inc. the world leading materials technologies company sources tremendous volume from sustainably managed farms from Mexico, Central and South America in fact the worlds largest natural groves of bamboo exist in Brazil, and surrounding regions.


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