Certification issue rages on


Efforts to discredit valid and widely accepted green standards for forest products continue to generate news, as they have drawn the attention of Canadian forest interests in addition to many across the U.S.

Recent One Voice blog posts (“Staying Green with SFI” and “Charcoal to the Rescue“) discussed efforts by the Washington Forest Law Center to destroy the Sustainable Forest Initiative (SFI) standard that has been used successfully across the U.S. for 16 years.

In a story today, the Canadian publication The Working Forest Newspaper noted that the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is leading the charge for “a forest certification policy that eliminates most of the credible certification programs in North America, including CSA,” the Canadian Standards Association.

In a press release, SFI also strongly criticized the USGBC’s efforts:

The Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI) continues to urge the USGBC to end a forest certification policy that discriminates against North American forests and against most of the independent forest certification standards used in the United States and Canada.

As currently drafted, the USGBC’s complex benchmark system may result in the continued exclusion of independent forest certification standards used in North America, including SFI, the American Tree Farm System (ATFS), the Canadian Standards Association’s Sustainable Forest Management Standard (CSA), and the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification schemes (PEFC).

In the Working Forest Newspaper story, John Dunford, Chair of a Canadian Standards Association User Group, rebukes the USGBC for not addressing comments on previous drafts and restricting comments on the latest draft.

The newspaper reports:

…USGBC has restricted comments to just 5 of the 80 benchmark criteria, without any rationale for why the other 75 benchmarks did not change and no feedback on why the associated comments from the second round of public comments were dismissed.

“This is not a model for the accountability and transparency the USGBC is demanding of others,” Dunford said.