FSC Remains LEED Wood Standard

Posted by Rumin Mann
December 12th, 2010

The ballots have been counted, and the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification for sustainable lumber products remains the only accepted criteria for LEED certified projects. U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) members voted to not approve benchmarking criteria that would have allowed other certification programs to be accepted under the LEED Rating System. Programs like the Sustainable Forestry Initiative have been trying to get USGBC to recognize their products for years.

One of the major criticisms of the SFI program is that it is not a third-party verification of sustainable practices. It is managed completely within the lumber industry, leaving the door open for potential improprieties.

The balloting process for this issue started in 2006, when the USGBC’s Materials and Resources Technical Advisory Group took up the issue of certification of forest product sustainability. Along with the LEED Steering Committee, they developed a benchmark for certification programs looking to be included in the sustainable lumber category.

The proposed benchmark was then subjected to four comment sessions during 2008, each resulting in further refinement of the standard.  It was then presented to the membership for approval on October 26, 2010.  USGBC requires a two-thirds approval vote to pass any substantial changes to the LEED program.

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