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Environmental Groups Criticize LEED Changes

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Greenpeace USA, joined by Natural Resources Defense Council, Rainforest Action Network, Stand (formerly ForestEthics), National Wildlife Federation, Dogwood Alliance, Healthy Building Network and the Sierra Club signed a statement regarding the recent surprise move regarding certified wood products by the US Green Building Council (USGBC), the organization in charge of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).
The groups criticized the USGBC for potentially opening the door to recognize and give credit to wood products certified under the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), the weaker certification scheme that is backed by the logging industry. For years, SFI was rightfully not recognized under LEED. As the groups say in the statement, SFI is "an industry-governed and financed greenwash system that seeks to pass off environmentally destructive industrial forestry as somehow ‘sustainable.'" To recognize SFI would mean that LEED would recognize the replacement of complex forest ecosystems with monocultures, and logging that harms water quality and jeopardizes already imperiled fish and wildlife. SFI also does not require the free, prior, and informed consent of Indigenous Peoples when logging on their lands. (You can download the full Greenpeace statement here.)
Build with Strength is a first-of-its-kind program for the concrete industry, designed not only to support our members, their businesses and the hard-working men and women of the concrete industry, but also to change the way people think about concrete construction versus direct competitors like soft-wood lumber. NRMCA has resources to help members and state affiliates advocate for resilient and sustainable construction, including model legislation, talking points, public relations and other key strategies.
To learn more about how NRMCA can assist in state advocacy, please contact John Loyer, senior director of state and local government affairs, at 703-675-7603 or

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