Blog 4 – SFI Statement on LEED: Expanding Inclusive Policies

In the final installment of the blog series about SFI’s LEED statements, I wanted to discuss how agencies, governments, and rating systems worldwide have embraced inclusive forest certification policies. Many organizations recognize multiple certification standards.

U.S. and Canadian government procurement agencies support an inclusive stance. For the U.S. General Services Administration, SFO Section 7.4 Wood Products states, “For all new installations of wood products, the Lessor is encouraged to use independently certified forest products. For information on certification and certified wood products, refer to the Forest Certification Resource Center, the Forest Stewardship Council United States, or the Sustainable Forestry Initiative.” In Canada, Public Works & Government Services requires all wood products used in its building projects to be certified to one of the three certification programs that operate in Canada: SFI, the Canadian Standards Association or FSC. The department believes all three programs effectively promote more sustainable management of Canada’s forest resources.

Forestry agencies, such as the U.S. National Association of State Foresters (NASF) and the Canadian Council of Forest Ministers, also support recognizing all credible forest certification programs. A 2008 NASF resolution declares “there is no single ‘best’ forest certification program.” The Canadian Institute of Forestry and the Society of American Foresters also support this stance.

Green building tools across the globe also have inclusive stances, and many recognize SFI, FSC and other credible standards. The Green Building Initiative’s Green Globes™ green building assessment and rating system promotes building practices for commercial construction.  The program has done a great job increasing the awareness of environmental issues among the building community and is helping to design buildings that are energy efficient and resourceful with building materials. For residential construction, the National Green Building Standard, the first green building rating system to be approved by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), offers resources and tools to help the building community and homeowners build green.

Finally, BREEAM (United Kingdom), Built Green Colorado™ and CASBEE (Japan) also recognize multiple forest certification standards, including SFI. The Green Building Council of Australia recently ended its FSC- only preference.

It’s clear organizations that value green building are coming around to what makes sense for responsible forestry and the economy.  The trade media has weighed in too – Robert Cassidy, editor-in-chief of Building, Design + Construction, wrote an editorial discussing why the USGBC should open LEED. Additionally, the LBM Journal published an article by John Wagner that encouraged LEED take a more inclusive stance. We hope the U.S. Green Building Council follows the lead of other groups that provide guidance to consumers and businesses and opens LEED to other credible forest certification standards. As we wait for a decision, find the latest information regarding the LEED issue on our website.

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