Almost since its inclusion in LEED in 2001, the materials and resources credit pertaining to certified wood products has been controversial. The credit recognizes only wood products that meet the standards of one organization--the Forest Stewardship Council. But this week, the U.S. Green Building Council moved a step closer to adopting new credit language that could potentially open up LEED to other wood certification schemes, including that developed by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative.
The revamped credit, available for review and comment at usgbc.org, is the third set of revisions released since 2008. At the heart of the proposed changes is a “forest certification benchmark”—a collection of criteria against which forest certification systems would be evaluated. The latest version of the benchmark responds to concerns voiced during the last comment period about the use of genetically modified organisms, the recognition of rights of indigenous peoples, and the governance structure of the organizations behind the certification systems.
After the current public review closes on March 14, the council will evaluate any new comments and decide if the credit overhaul requires another round of revision and comment or if the proposed language is ready for member balloting.