Natural Health

Healthy living, herbal remedies and DIY natural beauty.

Add to My MSN

U.S. Green Building Council Rejects Sustainable Forestry Initiative Wood

12/8/2010 12:00:00 AM

Tags: green building, wood

Whether they end up going for certification or not, many homeowners and builders look to the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards as guidelines for building green. (Acquiring LEED certification is expensive and laborious, but the guidelines are valuable tools.) Because of this, we’ve been closely watching the debate within the USGBC about whether or not to allow wood that’s been certified by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative—the timber and paper industry’s “self-regulating” seal of approval. We’re pleased that the council has chosen to include only wood approved by the Forest Stewardship Council, an independent third-party certifier.  

FSC lumber 
The U.S. Green Building only accepts FSC-certified wood as part of its LEED program. Photo By Mathew Wilson/Courtesy Flickr. 

SFI officials, understandably, are not so pleased. A statement on its website urges homebuilders to “forgo the one point in the certified wood credit and use SFI-certified products in LEED buildings to demonstrate their pride and support for North American forests, communities, and jobs.” We hope you won’t.

A ForestEthics report released last month found that SFI standards don’t protect old growth forests or endangered species and allow clear cutting and toxic chemical use.

SFI labels require no chain-of-custody tracking (meaning the SFI doesn’t actually know where half of its wood comes from); its certified companies don’t address any major issues (soil erosion, clear cutting, etc.) that sustainable forestry practices focus on; and its internal audit team spent very little time assessing a small percentage of its forest for standard violations. The report also found that SFI members are allowed to retain approved status when in violation of the organization’s lax standards.

Not all certifications are created equal. If you truly want to demonstrate your “pride and support for North American forests, communities and jobs,” reject the SFI’s greenwashing. FSC is certainly not perfect—but it’s the best we’ve got. We’re glad to see the USGBC agrees.



Related Content

Video: Why Forest Stewardship Council Certification Matters

Ever wonder what, exactly, you're getting when you pay a little extra for Forest Stewardship Council...

Busted: Sustainable Forestry Initiative Label is Greenwash

A ForestEthics report calls out the American Forest and Paper Association-backed Sustainable Forestr...

HOMEGROWN Life: The Scary Side of Sustainability

The morning started off with a decent lecture on poultry operation, production, and marketing. After...

Third-Party Certification - A Tool to Ensure Sustainability

As a third-party certifier, the Rainforest Alliance ensures that farms and forests are sustainable e...

Content Tools




Post a comment below.

 










Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 66% Off the Cover Price

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
Country:
Email:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget

MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the guide to living — as one reader stated — “with little money and abundant happiness.” Every issue is an invaluable guide to leading a more sustainable life, covering ideas from fighting rising energy costs and protecting the environment to avoiding unnecessary spending on processed food. You’ll find tips for slashing heating bills; growing fresh, natural produce at home; and more. MOTHER EARTH NEWS helps you cut costs without sacrificing modern luxuries.

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet’s natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. That’s why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.00 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.00 for 6 issues.