Pressure Mounts on USGBC to Open LEED to SFI, Other Credible Standards

Posted by Rumin Mann
July 22nd, 2010

Members of Congress Weigh In as USGBC Receives Petition with Nearly 6,000 Signatures

WASHINGTON – In a letter steered by Congressmen Kurt Schrader (D-OR) and Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) to the U.S. Green Building Council, 79members of the U.S. House of Representatives, representing 35 different states, have urged the organization to “accept all credible forest certification systems for qualification under the LEED rating system” including the Sustainable Forestry Initiative.  On the heels of the letter from this bipartisan group of Members of Congress, USGBC today received a petition with nearly 6,000 signatories calling for LEED recognition of all “wood and paper products certified to independent, respected and credible standards including SFI, ATFS, CSA, FSC, and PEFC.” In addition, six members of Congress have sent their own letters urging an inclusive LEED policy.

“From the halls of Congress to other elected officials across North America to architects, builders, family tree farmers and forestry and sustainability experts around the world, the support for a change in LEED has grown exponentially,” said Kathy Abusow, President and CEO of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI Inc.).  “Wood should be recognized for its environmental merits, and third-party certified forest products should be given additional credit.”

More than three quarters of certified forests in North America are certified to standards not currently recognized by USGBC.  The letter from the House members states that maintaining the status quo will mean builders seeking LEED certification “would be discouraged to use third-party certified SFI and ATFS products” grown in the U.S., while opening LEED to other forest certification programs “could stimulate the market for American produced forest products and the communities and jobs that depend on both.”
In a letter to USGBC President Rick Fedrizzi that was delivered with the SFI petition, Abusow wrote that it has “stimulated a tremendous outpouring of support, tapping into a broad and diverse community” and that “it’s difficult to ignore the voices of almost 6,000 people from around the world who took the time to respond.”

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