Arbré Technologies is helping combat climate change and deforestation by providing the RFID tracking system for giant bamboo being planted on 1,500 hectares (nearly 4,000 acres) on the Philippine island of Mindanao.
The company is a subcontractor on a project, funded through USAID, that teams local indigenous populations with a U.S.-based bamboo construction materials company. The USAID contract was awarded to BUKTAMACO, a Philippine local cooperative and the commercial arm of the Bukidnon Tagoloanon tribe, led by Attorney Burt Estrada.
“It’s an incredibly exciting opportunity as well as a project everyone can feel good about,” said Arbré Technologies’ President Matthieu Vollmer. “And the experience and tools we bring to the project will help all stakeholders see and understand its progress.”
Approximately 15 percent to 20 percent of the biomass grown through this project will be harvested annually and turned into high-quality, fully traceable building materials for international markets. In addition, because the project is adding to the planet’s ability to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, it will generate “carbon credits” that can be sold to countries or entities that add CO2 to the atmosphere, further enhancing the project’s economic benefits.
The project delivers against several of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, and will:
- Help provide a lifelong annual income to farmers in an area where 32 percent of all families live in poverty
- Enable high-yield, sustainable food production by reducing drought and shielding crops from wind and floods
- Help restore groundwater quality and reduce erosion
- Provide jobs harvesting and processing bamboo, particularly for women
- Manufacture high-grade building materials for export and more affordable materials for local markets
- Create economic opportunities for veterans of Mindanao’s civil war
- Guarantee landowners income before their bamboo reaches maturity
Because this is the first emissions-reduction project working with bamboo at scale, it requires a significant amount of data to help judge its success. Also, because only a percentage of the bamboo is being harvested each year, all plants must be tagged and tracked to identify optimal candidates for harvest.
Furthermore, tagging systems need to remain with the plant after harvest through processing, providing valuable data on processing efficiency and other measurements.
Because Arbré Technologies’ tools can do all these things, and because of the company’s experience providing RFID-based tracking systems for horticulture businesses and the bamboo industry in particular, it was the perfect partner for the project.
“Tracking plants from seed to sale is what we do,” Vollmer added. “While this project is a little bit of a departure, it’s still right in our wheelhouse.”
Carbon capture can be tracked based on the planting date. That information can be aggregated and used to calculate the amount of carbon offsets the project is able to offer.
As some plants are harvested and turned into building materials, their progress through the processing system can be tracked, and as the bamboo forests increasingly have plants of mixed ages, the Arbre system will help identify plants most ready to be harvested.
By planting 1,500 hectares of giant bamboo and native trees, the project will result in 600,000 tons of carbon removal over 10 years. Over a 30-year crediting period the project is projected to sequester more than 500,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide, with the first credits issued before the end of 2026.
“No matter what shape the final project takes, we’re excited for the opportunity to do our part,” Vollmer said. “It’s definitely a story worth telling.”
For more information on the project, download the factsheet.