By HWF Editors
December 2010/January 2011
The United States Green Building Council (USGBC) has opened the voting for its Forest Certification Benchmark, a standard against which all forest certification systems will be evaluated to determine whether they can earn points in the LEED green building certification system. The contentious benchmark has drawn opposition from the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) and 14 prominent environmental groups.
Currently, only wood products certified by the FSC can garner points in LEED, the most visible green building standard in the world. In a press release, the FSC called the proposed benchmark "a big step backward." Specifically, FSC believes the new standard is not as rigorous as FSC criteria regarding balanced governance, member-elected boards, deforestation, plantations and rare, threatened and endangered species protections. "Standards set by FSC should represent the floor, not the ceiling," said Corey Brinkema, president of the FSC in the U.S.
Environmental groups—including the Sierra Club, World Wildlife Fund, ForestEthics, Rainforest Action Network, and National Resources Defense Council—also oppose the benchmark. In an open letter, these groups said the benchmark "represents a significant retreat from the level of performance in the current reference standard, that of the Forest Stewardship Council."
SFI, which has lobbied extensively to have its own standard accepted under LEED, also opposes the new standards. In a New York Times blog, Kathy Abusow, president of SFI, said the group was "far from pleased" with the new standard and that "There's just way too many hoops to jump through for just one credit."
NWFA Executive Director/CEO Ed Korczak said, "NWFA supports the expansion of certified forestry and supports maintaining the high forest recognition standards set by the USGBC."
Voting on the proposed changes is open to a consensus group of USGBC members until Nov. 24; results should be announced shortly afterward. A file containing a description of all items on the ballot can be viewed here.
Oregon State University is now offering a bachelor's degree program in renewable materials, citing a demand for professionals who can manufacture, market and use sustainable, natural resources like wood and bamboo. The program will emphasize science, technology, business and communications; it will include a management and marketing track, and an engineering track. "In many sustainable industries today there are more jobs than graduates to fill them, even during the recession," said Thomas McLain, renewable materials professor and department head at OSU.
J.L. Powell and Co. (Whiteville, N.C.) will be featured in upcoming episodes of "Swamp Loggers," which airs Friday evenings on Discovery Channel. The first episode will air Nov. 5. The company will be processing 750-year-old cypress logs extracted from North Carolina's Pender County.
Sika Corporation (Lyndhurst, N.J.) has acquired May National Associates Inc. (Lakewood, N.J.). May National Associates manufactures and markets silicone, polyurethane, hybrid and acrylic sealants and adhesives. The company has annual sales of about $20 million and employs 60 people. May National will operate as a subsidiary of Sika Corporation and will be managed under the existing May National management team.
Q.E.P. Co. Inc. (Boca Raton, Fla.) is seeking acquisitions of product lines and companies with annual sales of no less than $10,000,000; distressed opportunities are OK. For more information, e-mail email@example.com or call 561/994-5550, ext. 2249.
Giorgio Squinzi, CEO of MAPEI Group (Milan, Italy), was elected president of the European Chemical Industry Association (CEFIC). Squinzi will lead the association for the next two years.
Former Secretary of State and retired Gen. Colin Powell will deliver the keynote address at the U.S. Green Building Association's annual Greenbuild International Conference & Expo, being held Nov.17-19 in Chicago. Currently, a LEED Platinum apartment complex that bears the general's name is being constructed in South Bronx, N.Y., Powell's childhood neighborhood. Powell is a retired four-star general and served as national security advisor under President Ronald Regan and as chairman of the joint chiefs of staff under Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton. In 2001, President George W. Bush appointed Powell secretary of state, a position he held until 2005.
Visit the HF Forum and start a discussion with your peers or respond to a question. Each week, the HF staff will pick their favorite post on the forum. That person will receive a gift courtesy of 3M. Prizes include selections from 3M's new Hand-Masker line of job site protection products; the next prize is a couple of Flex & Form Conformable Runners, one for staircases and one for stair railings. The product has edges that bend, wrap and fold to hold in place. It features a 10-ounce, professional-grade canvas. Congratulations to forum user "twin-zukas", who is last week's winner for contributing to the discussion on OSB's holding power.
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The NWFA has introduced two new services to help members network. The first is the NWFA ListServ, a service that allows NWFA members to communicate with each other via e-mail. This new service is an improved version of the ListServ previously used by NWFA. It includes 23 categories relating to wood flooring and requires participants to select the topics of interest to them to prevent e-mail overload. Even if you were enrolled with ListServ previously, you must sign up for this new service. The second service is the NWFA Blog, an interactive forum that allows NWFA members to connect and share ideas, trade information, and network with others. The Blog is open-ended, which means that participants can use it to discuss any topic of interest to them with other NWFA members. Since this is a service not offered previously by the NWFA, you must sign up for this new service. To sign up for either service, visit www.nwfa.org and click on the "Members Only Blog ListServ" link.