Jason Metnick, SFI Senior Director of Market Access and Label Use, provides an update on LEED benchmarks.

As you may have seen, the USGBC recently requested comments on a fourth round of draft benchmarks to evaluate forest certification programs in its LEED green building rating system. SFI has cautioned the USGBC that a process like the one currently proposed could result in never ending revisions, assessments and evaluations year after year with no clear results.  We believe it is time for USGBC’s leadership to end this process and give credit for wood use and forest certification standards.  SFI strongly supports green building, and we believe SFI and other credible certification programs are a clear fit for green building rating systems.  Wood from responsibly-managed forests, like those certified to the SFI Standard, is an excellent choice for any new construction or renovation.  Wood is renewable, it sequesters carbon and is powered by solar energy.  These factors, coupled with wood’s desirable aesthetic and structural characteristics, make it a great choice for green buildings.  We therefore suggest that the USGBC should:

  • Give 1 point for use of wood products based on wood’s superior environmental attributes.
  • Give another point for use of wood products that are certified to any credible third-party certification program (note that we recommend the National Association of State Foresters’ criteria on what constitutes credible certification programs).

USGBC leaders should listen to elected officials, government agencies, professional foresters, and others who are telling them to end the discrimination against North American forests and accept wood certified to all forest certification standards used in North America – SFI, Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), Canadian Standards Association (CSA), American Tree Farm System (ATFS) and Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC).

It’s not too late to show your support and urge the USGBC to sunset the forest certification benchmarks.  Please sign our petition, and check out our short green building video.  Also, please forward the petition and video to friends and family who care about the future of North American forests.  You can find more information about the comment period on the USGBC’s website, and you can check out our public statement regarding the fourth round of public comments on SFI’s website.


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