New timber traceability LEED credit released

Pilot credit aims to reduce use of illegal wood in buildings.

March 29, 2019 |

Courtesy Pixabay

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) released a new LEED pilot credit designed to increase transparency in timber supply chains and reduce the risk of illegally harvested wood entering the supply chain.

Development of the Timber Traceability LEED pilot credit was led by a team of timber legality, forestry, and environmental representatives from organizations recognized for leading the fight against illegal logging. Transparency regarding the origin of timber, combined with the use of modern wood identification technologies, can significantly reduce the risk of illegal timber entering the supply chain, according to a USGBC news release.

Drawing on successful anti-counterfeiting initiatives in fashion and the global honey trade, experts believe that DNA, mass spectrometry, and stable isotope analysis can help wood to be traced from end product to its forest origin. This will make it significantly more difficult to falsify documentation about where the timber was harvested.

“Many of the most destructive illegal logging operations around the world depend on masking the true identity and origin of the wood, and this initiative by USGBC tackles that problem directly by incentivizing the latest wood ID technologies,” said Alexander von Bismarck, executive director, Environmental Investigation Agency. “Implementing this credit can lay a foundation to ensure that green buildings don’t become unwitting hiding places for wood stolen from the last great forests of the world.”