U.S. Green Building Council / LEED Certification Program

Web site:

FYI: The USGBC started 13 years ago in what it describes as an effort “to promote buildings that are environmentally responsible, profitable and healthy places to live and work.” The organization is most well known for its LEED-NC program, which was the first-ever rating system for determining whether a newly constructed building is green.

North American Coalition on Green Building

Web site: None, its position paper may be found at

FYI: The NACGB was created by a diverse range of U.S. and Canadian building products associations in an effort to leverage their strength in numbers to lobby for greater input in green building initiatives, including the LEED standards setting process. The coalition has no bylaws, board of directors, budget, staff or Web site. What it does have is a position paper that criticizes the USGBC for not working with “all stakeholders” and suggests that government should not depend on LEED “as a system to ensure green buildings.”

National Association of Home Builder’s “Model Green Home Building Guidelines”

Web site:

FYI: The NAHB says it developed its green home building guidelines “in a consensus process by a group of more than 60 stakeholders representing key players in the green home building industry.” Designed to bring green home building to the mainstream market, these guidelines are available for download on the NAHB Web site.

Building America

Web site:

FYI: This program is part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Department. It is a private/public partnership that conducts research to find energy-efficient solutions for new and existing housing that can be implemented on a production basis. The program aims to produce homes on a community scale that use, on average, 30 to 90 percent less energy than traditional homes.

Green Building Initiative

Web site:

FYI: This organization touts itself as the practical alternative for green building solutions. GBI says its goal is “to bring green building to the majority — to give mainstream builders and architects the information and tools to create better living environments.”

Green Globes

Web site:

FYI: Green Globes is “an online building and management environmental audit” that represents an alternative to LEED. Participants complete a confidential questionnaire of approximately 75 questions — some of which require data input, but most of which are yes-or-no questions — at any project stage. A subsequent report details the percentage of points awarded for best energy and environmental design standards and practices.


Forest Stewardship Council

Web site: (U.S.); (international)

FYI: The FSC is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to encourage responsible management of the world’s forests. It says it does this by setting principles, criteria and standards meant to ensure forestry is practiced “in an environmentally responsible, socially beneficial and economically viable way.”

Sustainable Forestry Initiative

Web site:

FYI: The AF&PA developed the SFI program “to document the commitment of their members and the program’s licensees to keep forests healthy and practice the highest level of sustainable forestry.” Participation in the SFI program is a condition of membership in the AF&PA, which has dismissed 17 of its members for failing to meet that standard. An independent organization, the Sustainable Forestry Board, oversees the SFI program and is responsible for verification procedures.

American Tree Farm System

Web site:

FYI: ATFS’s certification scheme requires, “Tree farmers share a unique commitment to protect wildlife habitat and watersheds, to conserve soil and to provide recreation for their communities while producing wood for America.”

Canadian Standards Assn.

Web site:

FYI: CSA’s Forest Products Marking program identifies products based on both forest management and chain-of-custody standards. The CSA mark is recognized throughout Canada, the U.S. and other countries. The CSA conducts annual surveillance audits, as well as unannounced audits, to assure on-going conformance with its requirements.

Metafore / Forest Certification Resource Center

Web site: or

FYI: Metafore is NOT a wood certification group, but W&WP included it here because it is an organization that provides a great deal of information about wood certification and wood certification organizations. In addition to the organization’s Global Wood Initiative Metafore also offers Wood for Building Green — A Practical Guide designed for architects, designers, developers and builders interested “in building forests by building green.”


Scientific Certification Systems

Web site:

FYI: This group is an accredited certification body for the FSC. It has certified more than 14 million acres in the last 13 years on land ranging from small 100-hectare parcels to 2.5-million-hectare forests. SCS also offers chain-of-custody certification and has audited and certified more than 500 manufacturers, distributors and retailers who make or carry certified wood products. These chain-of-custody certifications span 29 countries on five continents. The organization also certifies environmentally preferable products.


Web site:

FYI: SmartWood claims to be the first independent forestry certifier, and it helped establish the FSC in 1993. A part of the Rainforest Alliance, SmartWood says it has certified more than 69 million acres in more than 50 countries. Products made from SmartWood-certified operations include lumber, paper, furniture, flooring, musical instruments and non-timber forest products such as maple syrup and Brazil nuts. SmartWood says none of its certificates have ever been appealed formally.

SGS Systems and Services Certification Inc.

Web site:

FYI: SGS is an accredited auditor with FSC, SFI, CSA and a European certifier called Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification Schemes, according to Metafore. SGS’s Web site says its FSC-accredited Qualifor program has issued more than 1,000 chain-of-custody and more than 190 forest management certificates in more than 60 countries.


Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Assn. International’s “Sustainability Guidelines”

Web site:

FYI: BIFMA released its voluntary guidelines, designed by its Sustainability Subcommittee, earlier this year. According to the association, the guidelines are meant as a “roadmap for any office furniture [company] desiring to become … more sustainable” and “as an add-on to a company’s existing environmental management system.”

Composite Panel Assn.’s “Environmentally Preferable Product” Program

Web site:

FYI: The phrase “environmentally preferable products” was defined by the federal government in 2002 as “products and services that have a lesser or reduced effect on human health and the environment when compared to other products and services that serve the same purpose.” The CPA adopted this voluntary specification and certifies products to the federal standard through its Grademark Program.

Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Assn.’s “Environmental Stewardship Certification Program”

Web site:

FYI: The Environmental Stewardship Program (ESP) encourages industry policies and practices that benefit the environment and the well-being of society. ESP “provides companies with tangible ways to support sustainability in the areas of air quality, resource management, environmental stewardship and community relations.” Companies can earn ESP certification by accumulating 80 out of 105 possible points in these different categories.

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