The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is still considering changes to its LEED building standard that could allow wood products certified by other groups besides the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). As we’ve written about before, this is an issue of huge importance for the timber industry. If some environmental groups are successful in maintaining the FSC monopoly on USGBC standards, then the timber industry as we know it will cease to exist.
The latest news in the debate over the LEED building standard is that the USGBC has issued a third draft of its new rules that would allow other forest certifications, such as the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) — but only in a limited way. The USGBC would give projects with FSC wood a full credit, and other standards like SFI just a half-credit in the LEED point system.
As Building Green points out, this proposed change is opposed by both sides:
Industry groups opposed to this approach argue that LEED would continue to provide FSC with an unwarranted advantage, while environmental groups are concerned about any move that would allow industry programs into LEED.
While the USGBC continues to consider its rule change, we are heartened to see that SFI has taken an active role in promoting the cause of opening up the LEED standard to other wood certifications. The Sustainable Forestry Initiative is spreading the word through its Twitter account as well as the Good For Forests blog.
For instance, on Good For Forests, you will find that such leaders as The Conservation Fund, Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire and Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty have endorsed the campaign to open up the LEED standards to other certifications, and that the trend internationally is to adopt an inclusive policy on forest certification.
Be sure to add Good For Forests to your bookmarks, follow the SFI Twitter account and become part of the movement to open up the LEED standard.