Mango Wood for sustainable decorations items

Mango wood carvings for decoration items sell in Europe for cheep money. How sustainable are those items and are they an option to reduce plastic.


In decoration shops you recently find plenty of items with the look and feel like handmade. They are from wood or other organic materials. This trend has two sides of a coin, the good thing is that less plastic is used but the other side is that mass industry flood the market with cheep items. Instead of plastic they are now using organic materials. The products mimic a homemade DIY item to serve that market and clients too.

In a weak moment I bought a little wooden heart with a sparkling silverish glittering frame bordure at my favorite garden center. It looked pretty with the raw wood framed with silver glitter.

At home I discovered that the wood was not ordinary European wood, which I had expected, but made in India from Mango wood.

Immediately I started Internet research to find out how sustainable the little wooden heart really is. The least I want to support the tropical wood industry and their deforestation of the rainforest.


Mango wood from plantations gets a second life for furniture and decoration carvings

The research indicated that this mango wood heard came from plantations at Saharanpur in India. Further reading told me that this region is known for fruit farming and wood carving. Mango wood is often used for this traditional carvings.

The mango trees in the plantations reached their mature height after 15 years, during that timespan the trees are highly productive. After that period farmers cut the trees down to have space for a new generation of mango trees. Than this wood is used for the traditional carvings and for furniture.

To my readers in India, please feel free comment if this is true! Would you consider items from mango wood sustainable?

Mango wood decoration items shipped from India – are they fair traded? 

It surely is a better choice to buy than any plastic item. But why am I so concerned about the sustainably of a little wooden heart from India ?

Assuming that the tree reached maturity as it was cut down so that the further use as furniture and carvings is a sustainable usage.

The region where it comes from is known for it wood carving manufacturer, therefore my purchase should ensure jobs and support the local community. The wood carvers there have a local supply on wood and are well trained – that is their competitive advantage against other regions.

But does it really? What about the wages for workers nowadays?

  • In Germany they sell those little hearts between 5,00 to 10,00 Euros. Almost equal pricing in US Dollar.
  • The heart had to be shipped from India to Europe and to the shop where I have bought it.
  • At least three or possibly more distributors are involved in the supply chain
  • All need to make profit so that not much is left for the actual production price at the manufacturer.
Unfortunately we as the end customers do not have the transparency to answer our questions. It might be true that my purchase does good to the Indian community, but also may have inforced poverty, unfair salaries or did other harm.

Additionally To those I transparencies in the supply there is the environmental aspect. The little heart probably has left a huge CO2 footprint. The long transport with vessels and trucks is not environmental friendly. Those environmental costs are not included into the end customer price nor at any price within the supply chain. Those costs are external costs and eventually paid by all tax payers.

I as a consumer would be happy to get answers to my question directly at the shop. With a label and a second price tag for environmental concerns. With those information I could make a much better buying decision. 


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