LEED: “FSC or Better”

On March 1, the U.S. Green Building Council released the third draft of its “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design” building standard, LEED 2012, which included a peculiar criterion for “responsible extraction of raw materials”: forest products selected must be “FSC or better.” The Sustainable Forestry Initiative didn’t leave that one unattended. “This new language raises more issues than its resolves,” commented SFI’s Kathy Abusow. “Who will decide what is ‘better than FSC’ and on what basis?”


She asserted that there is independent evidence that SFI standards are as effective as FSC standards and exceed them in many areas, such as research, support for family forest owners, use of BMPs, and support for logger training. “SFI clearly has requirements that are not matched by FSC’s varying standards around the world. This fact continues to go unrecognized by the USGBC, despite the fact that governors, congressmen, and 6,000 individuals have urged the USGBC not to turn its back on North American forests and recognize all forest certification standards.”


The third draft public comment period ended on March 20.