It's a phrase used in describing everything from packaging to fish to flooring, and every voice from political pundits to infomercials tout its importance in the world's shift to becoming green: environmentally sustainable.
There's so much more to the idea of environmental sustainability beyond "chop a tree, plant a tree," but most of us haven't given it much thought.
I'm glad to have a better understanding now, though, after reading John Vick's article "From the Jungle" in Hardwood Floors magazine, which really put the term and its value into perspective.
Vick tells the story of how challenging it can be for a company to keep environmental sustainability as a major goal in its product development—and how even in light of such a challenge, a company dedicated to protecting the environment can succeed in its ventures and not compromise the vitality of our environment to do so.
The article highlights the efforts of the Bozovich Group, a company in Lima, Peru, that processes flooring that comes from a tropical hardwood, called cumaru, harvested in the highest standard of environmental sustainability.
Because the Bozovich Group follows the guidelines laid out by the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization in harvesting these trees, their final product can proudly be called environmental flooring, something that many new home owners are asking for.
The company takes so many things into consideration in obtaining the wood they need—even down to protecting the nesting patterns of the Peruvian bald eagle! Their activities include five-year planning and specific tree selection. They only use trees that are in their final stages of life, as well as make certain only an appropriate percentage of the tree inventory is used in a given parcel of land so the trees can continue to populate.
Images of giant bulldozers smashing through unprotected rainforests are slowly fading in the new horizon of environmentally sustainable material production, thanks to progressive companies like Bozovich. What they and companies like them do is vital to keeping corporate interests in balance with the Earth's interests. They provide the market with beautiful, exotic hardwood flooring, but not at the expense of preserving that beauty for posterity. And when you look down at the gorgeous floor in your dining room, there's no guilt to feel. You can actually feel proud that your purchase didn't come at too high an environmental cost.