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New LEED Credit Rewards Timber Transparency and Traceability

Washington, DC – The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) announced a new LEED pilot credit today, designed to increase transparency in timber supply chains and reduce the risk of illegally harvested wood entering the buildings industry supply chain. In order to qualify for the new LEED credit, companies need to declare the origin and species of the timber used in their building projects, and verify the claims using innovative wood identification technologies.

Major wood products importing countries have adopted legislation intended to combat illegal logging by making it a crime to import and trade wood that was not legally sourced. Prominent examples include the U.S. Lacey Act and the European Union Timber Regulation (EUTR). In order to avoid penalties under such legislation, companies must exercise “due care” or “due diligence” to assess and mitigate the risk of buying illegal wood. The new pilot credit is designed to align with and support the exercise of due care, and to help architects and project teams keep illegal wood out of buildings.

Transparency regarding the origin of timber, combined with the use of modern wood identification technologies, can help wood to be traced from the finished product back to its forest origin, making it significantly more difficult to falsify documentation about where the timber was harvested.

“If you want legal, sustainable wood, the first step is knowing where it comes from. Many of the most destructive illegal logging operations around the world depend on masking the true origin of the wood through fake paperwork,” said EIA’s Executive Director Alexander von Bismarck. “USGBC’s new LEED credit tackles this problem head-on by requiring disclosure of information and verification through the use of latest technologies. This credit helps lay the foundation to ensure that green buildings don’t become unwitting hiding places for wood stolen from the last great forests of the world.”

Learn more about the new LEED pilot credit “Timber Traceability” here.

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