Coming Soon: Greenwashed Lumber


Everybody talks the green talk these days, and green building requirements are slipping into proposal calls and even possibly into building codes. LEED is the green standard, but it only gives points for FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) Certified Lumber. Unfortunately to get that certification the wood has to come from forests that are managed sustainably and guess what, the lumber industry thinks that is too expensive. What is a lumber baron to do? Take a lesson from Exxon and set up your own group. Hire Ward Hubbell, former PR exec from Louisana Pacific, to run it. (Part time- he and GBI staffers Vicki Worden and Kelly O'Brien also work for Hubbell Communications , a flack shop in Portland, whose specialty is "creating public understanding and support for our clients' business and public policy agendas through public relations, coalition building, and grassroots communications.") Get startup capital from the lumber industry. Convince legislators that Green Globe is a green standard equivalent to LEED (Maryland and Arkansas already have) and you are off and running. There is no question that a Green Globe rating is better than nothing, but when one looks at the standard it says absolutely nothing about where the wood comes from- the nearest clearcut will do just fine. The Forest and Paper Association certainly likes it: "Green Globes is much more wood-friendly than LEED" says its spokesman. "LEED disadvantages our companies" ::Wall Street Journal (subscription required) We note that Ward was pretty quick on the response to the WSJ here