Rumble in the Lumberyard: Major Environmental Groups Support FSC
Monte Paulson's series in the Tyee on the battle over certified lumber concluded with the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) accusing the US Green Building Council, administrators of LEED, of "a conspiracy to monopolize" while the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) says that proposed changes in LEED would be "a huge step backward.
Now the major green NGOs have weighed in, with a letter to Rick Fedrizzi of the US Green Building Council. The Sierra Club, Greenpeace, the Rainforest Action Network, the Natural Resources Defense Council and others all agree that "Forests are at the heart of the web of life. We must stand shoulder to shoulder to protect them."
They say in their letter:
The Sustainable Forestry Initiative, the Canadian Standards Association's Sustainable Forest Management certification, and other industry-based forest certification programs engage in greenwash precisely because they certify as "sustainable" forest practices that are the most environmentally damaging allowed by law - including the logging of the rare old-growth forest in the U.S., logging of threatened and endangered species' habitats, destruction of other high conservation values, conversion of natural forests to plantations, conversion of forests to non-forest uses, management for only a few native species, use of silvicultural regimes that miss opportunities to reduce chemical inputs, short-rotation logging that harms soil and water quality, violation of indigenous peoples' rights, etc. It is unconscionable - and yet, unfortunately at this juncture, conceivable - that USGBC could cause lasting damage to its credibility and its brand by becoming party to this greenwash.
You really have to go right back to why SFI exists, which was to promote a green label that isn't as rigorous as FSC. Otherwise, why bother?