Blog 3 – SFI Statement on LEED: Petition Support

Not only have we received broad support to open the LEED rating system from government and forest community leaders, but have also received thousands of comments on the petition. More than 5,600 individuals have signed. Many of these comments encompass points we’ve made in our U.S. and Canadian statements. I’ve included a few below, and I encourage you to read other comments (and sign the petition/comment if you haven’t done so already).

“Exclusive recognition of FSC by the USGBC and LEED foolishly narrows the availability of sustainably managed forest products and adds fuel to the unnecessary debate over which certification standard is ‘better.’ The USGBC should embrace standards that support sustainability, not standards that reflect political activism. ”
— Guy Gleysteen, SVP of Production at TIME, Inc.

“I strongly urge LEED to include wood sourced from all forests that are certified as being sustainably managed by credible programs using third party verifiers. This is critically important to ensure that green building is broadly adopted and has global significance.”
— John A. Helms, Professor Emeritus of Forestry at the University of California, Berkeley

“In 1995 I was a member of the team from SFI and FSC that compared the two systems under the mediation of Tim Mealey of Meridian Institute. That comparison over a decade ago found little substantive difference between the two systems in their actual application, and since then there has been continuing steady convergence toward a high degree of commonality. (See About the same time, Richard Donovan of Smartwood, an FSC certifier, told a meeting at the World Bank that in his own experience ‘there’s not a dime’s worth of difference between the two systems on the ground.’ If LEED wants to be a constructive force for improved forestry, it needs to take an open, unbiased view of forest certification and not allow itself to be — or appear to be — the captive on one system and its advocates. That posture is a disservice to forest certification and green construction.”
— Scott Wallinger, Forest Sustainability Advisor

Seeing these and other heartfelt comments gives me optimism for the expansion of responsible forestry. In a recent Dovetail report, Kathryn Fernholz concludes, “Significant changes have occurred within the major certification programs in recent years, and, in several ways, it is increasingly difficult to differentiate between certification systems in North America.”  This statement supports why we at SFI think LEED should be open to all the credible standards in North America.  We’re encouraged by the widespread support and the comments we’ve received from around the world, supporting changes to the LEED standard and advancing wood as a viable option for green building.

Dovetail also released a report on green building in 2010 that said recent developments point to increasing convergence in green building requirements among various standards: “Consistent elements of such green building programs and standards are: third-party certified wood, regional materials, recycled-content materials, and reuse of salvaged materials. And, as indicated, programs are beginning to align in awarding use of life cycle assessment to inform building design and materials selection.”

Several organizations have demonstrated inclusivity in their standards, which I’ll talk about in tomorrow’s post. Additionally, find the latest information regarding the LEED issue on our website.

One thought on “Blog 3 – SFI Statement on LEED: Petition Support

  1. I must be brief, but I have to contradict my esteemed colleague Scott Wallinger. At no time would I ever say what is stated above. As we are seeing from recent events in Canada, and frankly based on my experience in MANY countries, there are substantive and real differences between PEFC/SFI and FSC. From transparency, to rigor of the chain of custody system, to treatment of indigenous peoples rights and resources, High Conservation Value Forests and the system for “auditing of auditors” or accreditation, the differences are important and real. Sorry to have to clarify this. Richard Z. Donovan, Senior VP of Forestry at Rainforest Alliance

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