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Greenpeace, Sierra Club: Green building rating systems experts?

Source: CP staff

Responding to the Green Building Initiative’s (GBI) Green Globes as an alternative to the LEED green building rating system, environmental activists have chartered Greenwash Action, and released a report dubbing the former certification “a ‘green’ building rating system backed by the chemical, plastics and timber industries.”

In “A Closer Look at Green Globes,” Greenpeace and Sierra Club portray GBI as an organization behind a green curtain and cite a mission supporting “progress toward a healthy, biodiverse and climatically stable world by defending programs that represent true environmental leadership and challenging special interests that are using greenwash to confuse the marketplace.”

With the green building sector its immediate focus, the report notes, “Greenwash Action considers a standard worthy of the ‘leadership’ designation if it is a genuine change agent in its respective industries and continues to improve with time, driving market transformation to sustainability. Leadership standards create change by codifying and branding levels of environmental performance within a given industry that are sufficiently high to require meaningful progress over the status quo and yet are economically feasible so that uptake by leadership companies is possible and a market can be made.”

Greenwash Action dovetails measures by the American High Performance Buildings Coalition and other groups to compel certification-minded federal and state government agencies to keep contracts open to multiple rating systems. The Coalition has been an especially vocal critic of processes shaping the new LEED v4 and its contentious “Avoidance of chemicals of concern” reference.