In episode 200 of the Disruptors for Good podcast, I speak with Ben Christensen, co-founder of Cambium, on transforming trees into sustainable materials and the inefficiencies in the lumber industry.
The business focuses on salvaging wood from urban areas and processing it locally, creating a more sustainable supply chain.
The company’s carbon-smart materials offer significant carbon savings compared to traditional forestry. Ben highlights the positive response from cities and architects and the potential for job creation.
He also discusses the challenges of scaling the business and outlines the company’s goals for the future.
timing of chapters might be a bit off after editing.
00:00 Introduction and Background
03:15 Identifying Inefficiencies in the Lumber Industry
08:35 Building a Sustainable Supply Chain
13:22 The Carbon Savings of Cambium’s Approach
16:41 Positive Response from Cities and Architects
18:43 The Potential for Job Creation
20:58 Challenges in Scaling the Business
23:58 Timeline and Goals for the Future
Cambium, a pioneering company in the field of sustainable wood utilization, is revolutionizing the way we think about urban wood waste and its potential impact on the environment.
At the core of the company’s mission is the transformation of fallen urban trees, which would otherwise be discarded, into high-value wood products.
This innovative approach not only prevents wood waste but also contributes to new tree planting, creating a sustainable cycle that benefits both the environment and local communities.
Founded with a deep understanding of sustainable wood use and climate action, Cambium’s journey began with a focus on reimagining the urban wood supply chain.
Carbon Smart Wood™ Solution
Cambium Carbon’s Carbon Smart Wood™ solution represents a revolutionary approach to sustainable wood utilization, playing a vital role in combating climate change and promoting sustainable practices.
This innovative material is sourced from fallen trees, which would otherwise contribute to landfill waste. By salvaging these trees, Cambium prevents the release of carbon dioxide and methane that occurs when wood decomposes in landfills.
A key feature of Carbon Smart Wood™ is its low environmental impact compared to traditional lumber production.
The process of transforming fallen trees into this sustainable wood not only reduces carbon footprint but also keeps the carbon sequestered in the wood, instead of releasing it back into the atmosphere.
This makes Carbon Smart Wood™ a strategic choice for mitigating climate impact, especially in construction and other industries where wood is heavily used.
Beyond repurposing fallen trees, Cambium’s approach also includes a commitment to urban reforestation. A portion of the profits from Carbon Smart Wood™ sales is allocated to planting new trees in urban areas.
This not only supports the ecosystem but also contributes to the natural process of carbon sequestration, further aiding in the battle against climate change.
The adoption of Carbon Smart Wood™ sets a new standard in the wood industry, encouraging other companies to shift towards more sustainable practices.
This industry-wide change can significantly reduce the carbon footprint of the construction and manufacturing sectors.
For consumers, choosing Carbon Smart Wood™ is more than a product selection; it represents a commitment to a sustainable and climate-conscious approach.
Each purchase supports a movement that prioritizes the health of the planet, making every consumer a part of the solution to climate change.
The Traece® App
Central to Cambium’s operations is its innovative supply chain management system, enabled by the Traece® app.
This technology ensures efficiency, traceability, and connectivity, overseeing the entire lumber supply chain from rescue to revival.
The use of Carbon Smart Wood™ in construction and other applications is a significant step towards decarbonizing the built environment.
It presents a net carbon sink, effectively reducing emissions that are usually associated with traditional building materials.
Cambium’s impact is not limited to environmental benefits alone. The company places a strong emphasis on community reinvestment, funding tree planting, and capacity building, particularly in areas that lack adequate tree cover.
This approach not only enhances environmental health but also addresses social equity issues by creating job opportunities and improving public health.
The company’s efforts have been recognized and supported by various organizations, including a partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation and recognition from the World Economic Forum.
Cambium’s work exemplifies a scalable solution to some of the most pressing environmental challenges of our time, making it a model for sustainable urban development and environmental stewardship.
Overall, Cambium is not just a business; it’s a movement towards a greener, more sustainable future where every tree is valued, and wood waste is transformed into a force for good.
Grant is the founder of Causeartist, one of the most influential impact business platforms in the world. Since 2013, Causeartist has been read in over 150 countries. Grant has personally interviewed 800+ impact entrepreneurs from around the world, highlighting innovations in ethical fashion, climate change, ethical technology, impact investing, and sustainable travel.