Support from Members of Congress for Expanding Sustainable Forest Certification Could Stimulate Market for Forest Products

Jul 19, 2010

WASHINGTON – Seventy-nine members of the U.S. House of Representatives showed their support for wood as a renewable building resource – and the workers it supports in the U.S. forest products industry -- in a letter to the President and CEO of the U.S. Green Building Council, Rick Fedrizzi, by urging the expansion of recognized sustainable forest certification programs.

"Broadening the number of eligible certification programs could stimulate the market for American produced wood products and the communities and jobs that depend on both," the letter (attached) signed by a bipartisan group of members of Congress stated.

"Such broad and bipartisan support from members of Congress could make a critical difference to the workers and companies who produce wood products using sustainable certification programs that have unfortunately so far been excluded by the U.S. Green Building Council," said Robert Glowinski, President of the American Wood Council. "Increased use of sustainably-harvested wood products would have a direct economic impact across the country while supporting enhanced green building efforts."

  • Wood products manufacturing employed some 460,000 people in 2008, earning an estimated $22 billion annually in the U.S.  Approximately 1,000 wood products manufacturing facilities, and $70 billion in product shipments demonstrate how essential the industry is to the success of many communities nationwide.
  • Wood is a renewable resource that sequesters huge amounts of carbon – both in forests and in products – and provides high levels of energy efficiency.  According the Consortium for Research on Renewable Industrial Materials (CORRIM), it takes 16% less energy to produce wood framing than steel or concrete frames and wood-framing in buildings results in 26% and 31% fewer CO2 emissions than for comparable steel-frame and concrete-frame buildings respectively. 

"LEED’s exclusive acceptance of Forest Stewardship Council certification, which represents only a third of the amount of forests certified using the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, PEFC, or American Tree Farm System, undercuts the success of both the American wood products industry and our green building efforts," said Glowinski. "These members of Congress have made an important contribution to the growth of our wood products industry and the workers it supports as well as our efforts to promote energy efficiency and environmental conservation."