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Environmental Groups Oppose USGBC Move to Allow Wood Industry Certifications

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Recently, the U.S. Green Building Council surprised environmental groups by announcing a new Alternative Compliance Path for the Materials & Resources Responsible Sourcing credit in LEED that recognize certified wood from the timber industry-backed Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI). Historically, the LEED certified wood credit had only recognized wood certified under the more rigorous Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).

In an open letter, Greenpeace decries the SFI as an unreliable and weak certification standard, amounting to industry-backed greenwash that allows wood from controversial irresponsible logging practices into products bearing the SFI label. According to Greenpeace, it and almost every other major environmental group in the United States, including the Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, WWF, Nature Conservancy, Rainforest Action Network, Stand, Dogwood Alliance and National Wildlife Federation, only recognize FSC as a legitimate forest product certification scheme.

NRMCA, recognizing the need for a rigorous responsible sourcing certification for concrete, is collaborating with the Concrete Sustainability Council (CSC) to develop an internationally-recognized certification program that is aligned with LEED v4 and meets the rigor of environmental groups such as Greenpeace. The CSC Responsible Sourcing Certification program considers environmental, social and governance practices throughout the supply chain which is material to the concrete industry’s needs, but also meets the needs and desires of environmental groups. To align the program with environmental groups, the CSC has engaged the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to vet the program. Created in 1948, IUCN is the world’s largest environmental network with more than 1,300 member organizations and some 16,000 experts, making it a leading provider of conservation data, assessments and analysis. Greenpeace and most major environmental groups are members of IUCN. The CSC Responsible Sourcing Certification is expected to launch this fall to coincide with the launch of LEED v4.

For more detail, contact James Bogdan at or 412- 420-4138.

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