SFI's 'green' claims are misleading consumers
|View the enlarged ad >>|
Toronto - The U.S. Green Building Council’s proposal to drastically lower its forestry standards is the subject of a full-page advertisement in today’s The Toronto Star, Canada’s most well-read newspaper and the hometown paper of Toronto, host city of this week’s Greenbuild conference.
The advertisement depicts the U.S. Green Building Council’s logo with one small change: it now reads “U.S. GreenWASH Building Council”, followed by the headline “The Proposed Changes To LEED Aren’t Just In The Fine Print.” ForestEthics, Greenpeace, National Wildlife Federation, and Rainforest Action Network are the advertisement’s signatories.
At issue are proposed changes to the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating systems that would reward the use of materials sourced from recklessly clearcut forests and rainforest destruction-– precisely the types of impacts the green building movement has sought to challenge.
“An environmental standard that rewards forest destruction might be what big logging companies want, but it will be the last thing green building owners and architects want to be associated with,” said Todd Paglia, Executive Director of ForestEthics. “The proposed changes to LEED are the wrong thing for our forests and the wrong thing for the U.S. Green Building Council.”
As ForestEthics continues to shift corporate paper, wood, and fuel purchasing away from the products of forest destruction, it also finds itself in the position of watchdog for the emerging green marketplace. Due to the estimated $500 billion market for ‘green’ products worldwide, companies bent on status quo destructive practices have profit incentives to drag standards down while maintaining the appearance of eco-friendliness.
Today’s advertisement follows on the heels of a major report about the precarious state of the world’s forests in The New York Times on October 3rd. The article notes that as the world increasingly relies on forests to absorb carbon, regulate water, generate oxygen, protect habitats, and produce key ingredients for medicine, forests are disappearing due to logging, land use changes, and increasing feedback loops from a changing climate.