If you work with LEED, you’re familiar with FSC, and if you read good books and magazines, you’ve probably seen both SFI and FSC.  FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) and SFI (Sustainable Forestry Initiative) both certify and provide labels for wood and paper products.  Consumers look to these for comfort with regard to environmental impact and sustainable harvesting of wood, but after you read Monte Paulsen’s five-part series on the topic for The Tyee, you may not be so sure about what’s going on.

(1) Future of ‘Green’ Wood Hangs on US Decision
(2) Eco Group’s Trade Complaint Targets US Wood Certifier
(3) Wood War Sprawls to IRS, Fortune 500
(4) LEED Accused of ‘Conspiracy to Monoplize’
(5) Will Green Building Council Kill Green Forestry?

The fact is, there’s a lot fighting going on in the wood industry and it’s been happening to some extent since the mid-1990s.

The Consumer Union, publisher of Consumer Reports, found that FSC is more rigorous than SFI, but both groups could do a better job, according to statements made to Mireya Navarro for The New York Times in “Environmental Groups Spar Over Certifications of Wood and Paper Products.”

The USGBC, as you already know, is working on a revamp in how it gives points to projects that use certified woods.  Up until now, FSC has been the only certified wood allowed, but the USGBC would like to move towards a label-blind system.

In any event, there’s no end in sight and it’s hard to say whether consumers are getting what they think they’re getting.  Feel free to sound off on the controversy below.