Why USGBC Should Recognize SFI – Addressing Aboriginal Interests

Ryan Clark
Manager, Forestry & Strategic Planning
Capacity Forest Management Ltd.

March 23, 2012

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is asking for comments on the draft language for its LEED rating system. SFI Inc. has invited views on the treatment of third-party forest certification, which must be “FSC or better” according to the latest USGBC credit language. In this post, Ryan Clark, Manager, Forestry & Strategic Planning, Capacity Forest Management talks about how SFI certification addresses indigenous interests.

Capacity Forest Management manages forestry operations for 17 First Nations clients in British Columbia. In partnership with our clients, we balance cultural priorities with the need to provide an economically viable forestry operation.

Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI®) certification is one tool we use to achieve this balance. The SFI Standard addresses cultural values as well as addressing environmental and economic concerns important to our clients. And it offers an important proof point to customers around the world that they are buying products from a responsible source.

There are three respected third-party certification programs used in Canada – SFI, the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the Canadian Standards Association (CSA). On the ground, their similarities outweigh their differences. Our clients chose SFI certification because a lot of its principles match the objectives and goals they have for the long-term sustainable management of their land base, such as measures to protect water quality, special sites, biodiversity, wildlife habitat, species at risk, and forests with exceptional conservation value.

The SFI program has strong emphasis on training – participants must make sure personnel and contractors have the knowledge and skills to support sustainable forestry practices. This is important to our First Nations clients who are often new to forestry and looking for ways to increase capacity in all aspects of forestry, from the boardroom to planning, harvesting and operational silviculture crews.

Our clients care about their forests, and SFI certification is a great way to demonstrate this. If the U.S. Green Building Program wants to support North America’s forests and its indigenous peoples, it will expand the LEED certified wood to recognize all of North America’s certification standards.

Respected organizations are calling on the U.S. Green Building Council to recognize all credible certification programs used in North America for its LEED rating system – including the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, American Tree Farm System, Forest Stewardship Council, Canadian Standards Association and Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification. The LEED Rating System Third Public Comment Period closes March 27, 2012. At the end of the review period, USGBC members will vote on the final draft.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *