Maine Governor Paul LePage signed an executive order today directing that “any new or expanded state buildings shall incorporate ‘Green Building’ standards that give certification credits equally to forest products grown, manufactured, and certified under the Sustainable Forestry Initiative Standard, Forest Stewardship Council, American Tree Farm System, and Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification Systems.”
“This policy is great news for North American communities and shows that the Governor and people of Maine are true leaders by being the first jurisdiction in North America to take this important position,” said Kathy Abusow, president and CEO of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, Inc.
The Maine executive order comes after 100 members of Congress and governors, and over 6,000 individuals around the world, encouraged the USGBC to reward wood from North American forests by equally recognizing SFI, ATFS, CSA, PEFC and FSC in their LEED rating system. Currently, the LEED rating tool fails to recognize nearly three-quarters of North America’s certified forests leaving builders to give preference to FSC wood offshore over SFI certified wood in North America.
Maine’s forest-products industry has an enormous impact on the state’s economy. It directly and indirectly supports 55,000 jobs, annually creates more than $3 billion in earning and contributes $4.3 billion annually to Maine gross domestic product.
“This executive order supports Maine’s environmental, social and economic goals and values,” said SIC Coordinator Pat Sirois. The Maine SFI Implementation Committee (SIC), comprising SFI Program Participants and community interests, has played a key role in the growth and recognition of certification in the state.