LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design is the world’s leading green building rating system and has been particularly important in supporting good forest management in the US South through the systems recognition of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified wood. Overall LEED is an important tool for improving buildings because of its forward-looking position on forests, energy efficiency and chemicals of concerns. Now this successful private, voluntary, system is under attack by lobbyists from old-guard forest products companies including Weyerhaeuser in North Carolina and others around the country.
There have been some important developments with regard to the attacks on LEED at the federal and state levels — as well as a counter-attack on the timber lobby that is driving efforts to ban LEED along with their friends in the chemical/plastics industry. Here in North Carolina, in just a few days, the state senate will vote on a bill (HB 628) that would prohibit LEED from being used for state construction, all because LEED doesn’t reward the use of wood “certified” by the Sustainable Forest Initiative, the timber industry’s greenwash forest certification system, which allows large-scale clearcutting, logging of endangered forests, conversion of natural forests to plantation, and widespread use of toxic chemicals in forest management.
This is just more of the same sad story environmentalists know too well. Big business cries about interference from government while touting the creativity of the private sector, only to whine to their “friends” in government to bail them out when they lose on their own merits. Enough is enough. Green building really should be green and FSC is a better forest certification system. With the support of Dogwood Alliance and concerned people across the South, the forest products industry is making progress and the marketplace has rewarded the green winners. Let’s not turn back.