After many months of work and six rounds of public comment, the US Green Building Council’s LEED v4 ballot is now open for voting by members until June 30, 2013.

The Forest Stewardship Council encourages our stakeholders who are USGBC members to vote “YES” on the LEED v4 standard.

This is not a position that FSC takes lightly. Quite to the contrary, we have invested hundreds of hours in research and evaluation before concluding that the final LEED v4 standard will continue to protect forests and maintain a high bar for responsible management.

While there are aspects of the standard that cause us concern, we also considered the broader context within which the LEED v4 vote is happening, most notably the full-throated attack on USGBC being launched at federal and sta te levels by the status quo timber industry and big chemical companies.

As we recommend a “YES” vote, we also want to encourage the USGBC to initiate a dialogue about a small but significant part of the standard, the meaning of “USGBC-approved equivalent.”

To be equivalent to FSC, a leadership standard must be rigorous, comprehensive, verifiable, consensus-based, and lead market transformation. Leadership standards go well beyond what is required by law and must require on-the-ground performance as opposed to just plans. And they are managed by open, member-based organizations with member-elected boards of directors. A true leadership standard has all key interests represented, and prevents any one interest from exerting undue influence.

These concepts represent a starting point. We look forward to working with USGBC and other stakeholders to define “USGBC-approved equivalent” in the months ahead. Ultimately there should be leadership standards for every major building material input, not only forest produc! ts.

To vote on the LEED v4 standard, you must have opted in back in April. If you have already done so, you may cast your ballot here: http://www.usgbc.org/ballotv4

Source: Forest Stewardship Council

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