Mississippi Endorses Inclusive Approach to Forest Certification

March 26th, 2013 by DWM Magazine

Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant signed legislation last week specifying that rating systems used in green building projects funded by the state government “shall not exclude certificate credits for forest products certified by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or the American Tree Farm System (ATFS).”

“Kudos to the Mississippi legislature and Governor Phil Bryant for their leadership on this important issue,” says Kathy Abusow, president and CEO of SFI. “The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) currently recognizes only the FSC standard in its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating tool. As such, LEED as currently worded does not meet the criteria of Mississippi’s new law.”

More than 100 elected officials, including 14 governors and 89 members of Congress, have already urged the USGBC to support all credible forest certification standards, including the SFI Standard.

“Mississippi has 3.5 million acres certified to the SFI or ATFS standards. LEED’s exclusion of SFI and ATFS is unfounded and unfair to thousands of Mississippians whose livelihoods depend on the forest products sector,” said J. Tedrick Ratcliff Jr., executive vice president of the Mississippi Forestry Association. “We applaud representative Reynolds (D-Water Valley) for initiating this effort and the state’s decision to take a stand for the use of local sustainably harvested wood products in state green building projects.”

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