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2015 Eco-Leaders

Cali Bamboo

Posted by Alan Naditz

Aug 29, 2018, 9:31:42 AM

This manufacturer maintains a high, educational profile.

Cali Bamboo manufactures and promotes the use of sustainable building materials as viable alternatives to traditional wood-based products. The company specializes in composite decking made of reclaimed wood fiber and recycled plastic, eucalyptus flooring and engineered hardwood flooring made with a sustainable wood core. Cali Bamboo is headquartered in San Diego and has distribution centers in Los Angeles, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Hawaii.

EcoLeaders Cali Bamboo-1

Cali Bamboo’s proprietary fossilization process turns eucalyptus flooring into a product that looks just like “real” hardwood, but is more durable and easier to maintain.

Conventional household products and services have never been on Cali Bamboo’s agenda. The company’s founders, Jeff Goldberg and Tanner Haigwood, didn’t even plan to go into the business of turning bamboo into furniture. That epiphany came in 2003, when the two men took up part-time work in Hawaii chopping bamboo to help pay for a year-long surfing trip.

Bamboo, they realized, is the fastest-growing plant on Earth and is rapidly renewable. It can be continuously re-harvested every three to five years without damage to the plant or its surrounding ecosystem. It could also help reduce global warming and save animal habitat loss—the No. 1 cause for extinction.

Fast-forward to 2018, when Cali Bamboo made Inc.’s list of 5,000 Fastest Growing Companies for a 10th straight year. Attribute much of that growth to television, which is the company’s best friend. Cali Bamboo’s products have appeared on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, MTV’s Real World, DIY Network’s House Crashers, The Vanilla Ice Project, Animal Planet’s Treehouse Masters, and the Travel Channel’s Hotel Impossible, to name a few.

The company returns the favor. It regularly donates to community nonprofits, sometimes in unorthodox ways: In 2016, Cali Bamboo sponsored a Green Against the Machine benefit concert that raised more than $10,000 for local charities. That morphed into the Endless Summer Session in 2017, which raised $20,000 more.

“This isn’t just about making a quality product—although that certainly helps,” Cali Bamboo President and CEO Doug Jackson notes on the company’s website. “Cali is in this very unique position where, despite our omnichannel reach today, we have spent almost 14 years fostering a close relationship with our customers. That relationship enables us to anticipate needs and trends faster, and keeps their satisfaction at the forefront of everything we do.” 

They’re an Eco-Leader because...

  • In its 14-year history, Cali Bamboo’s promotion of sustainable building materials has saved more than 1 million trees by using renewable materials instead of traditional lumber, kept more than 50 million pounds of CO2 out of the atmosphere, and saved more than 21,000 acres of habitat by diverting logging in natural forests.
  • Recent green product lines include TruOrganics, a composite decking that combines reclaimed wood fiber with recycled HDPE plastic to create a decking product that never has to be sanded, sealed or stained; GeoWood, which layers sustainable bamboo over a limestone composite core to create an easily installed, maintained and budget-friendly flooring; and a recently launched a line of sustainably made area rugs, woven out of highly renewable jute fiber, upcycled fabric from the garment industry, and PET yarn made out of recycled drinking bottles.
  • Cali Bamboo is an active sponsor of environmental non-profits such as the Surfrider Foundation, to which it donates thousands of dollars each year to support the organization in its protection of the world’s oceans, waves and beaches.

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