LEED Policy on Certified Wood Gets Only Minor Changes

Posted by Rumin Mann
June 18th, 2010

In the latest step of its controversial process to refine what passes for sustainably harvested forest products in its LEED rating systems, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has released new revisions of the policy, and opened a new public comment period. The fourth comment period runs through July 4, 2010.

Two camps, both unhappy

USGBC’s current policy of recognizing only forest products certified to Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) standards has drawn fire from groups representing other certification standards, especially the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), that claim to be just as good. Meanwhile, environmental and social justice groups have rallied against any broadening of the policy, calling for recognition of only of “FSC or better.” Both camps have taken shots at the new policy throughout the previous three public comment periods (see “Revised Wood Credit Slammed From Both Sides”). In the emerging policy, forest certification standards will be evaluated against a benchmark with numerous criteria. Depending on how they fare, the forestry standards—and in turn, purchases of products meeting those standards—will earn half-credit, full-credit, or double-credit depending on their degree of compliance. The latest revisions to this policy are unlikely to make either camp any happier.

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