The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has come under criticism from the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), which claims that latest draft of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) ratings tool creates ‘artificial barriers’ that exclude ’75 percent of North America's certified forests from the LEED credits that deal with "responsible extraction of raw materials.'’
According to the SFI, the current LEED ratings tool only recognizes forests certified to the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), which the SFI says accounts for about one-quarter of North America's certified forests. The SFI argues that having its certified forests excluded from the LEED ratings tool does not benefit the green building movement.
‘SFI clearly has requirements that are not matched by FSC varying standards around the world,’ says Kathy Abusow, president and CEO of the SFI. ‘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.
‘SFI is a strong advocate for green building and for all credible forest certification,’ Abusow continues. ‘With 90 percent of the world's forests not certified to any standard, it's time to break down LEED's artificial barriers and raise understanding of forest certification and the important role it can play in green building.’