We were in Phoenix last week at the Us green Building Council’s well-attended Green Build Expo. I’d like to thank USGBC for hosting this event and bringing together members from all sectors of the building and design community. It is our 7th year with a presence at this show and we are impressed and encouraged with the stellar year over year growth in the event. Like forest certification, green building is no passing trend.
As sustainability practices continue to evolve, it is important that planners, designers, builders, customers and architects know the source of the wood used in their project, and increase the wood in their projects! Today in North America we are all fortunate to have a number of strong forest certification standards, which means the building community have a lot of options when it comes to responsibly sourced wood. But the fact remains that just 10% of the world’s forests are certified – collectively, we all need to promote credible forest certification to influence the other 90%.
As you may know, USGBC is currently reviewing and revising its wood certification benchmarks under LEED. I strongly urge them to recognize all credible forest certification programs, including SFI. This is really a huge opportunity for the USGBC to take a leadership role, end the certification debates and encourage more forest certification worldwide by focusing on sustainability. The certification debates, and subsequent PR stunts, take away from the real goal we should all be working towards – responsible forestry. This sentiment is echoed by Dr. Jeff Howe of Dovetail partners, a non-profit that fosters sustainability and responsible behaviors:
“We must remember that the fundamental purpose of forest certification systems was to decrease deforestation rates, particularly in tropical regions by using the marketplace to create incentives for good forest practices. Quibbling over the relative merits of good systems distracts from that overall goal.”
I hope we’ll be in a different place by the 2010 green build event – I know I sensed a lot of agreement with the notion of putting this debate to bed during our many discussions at this year’s event.