USGBC working group unanimously approves new guidance for LEED Materials & Resources Credit 4 | U.S. Green Building Council
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New guidance helps product manufacturers offer insight into material and supply chain sustainability

(Washington, DC) Nov. 10, 2015 – Today, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) announced the results of its Supply Chain Optimization Working Group, a group that was chartered to develop implementation procedures within option 3 of the LEED v4 Materials & Resources credit (Building Disclosure and Optimization - Material Ingredients).

The working group has recommended significant implementation actions to supplement option 3, intended to provide building product manufacturers with a step-by-step process for meeting its requirements. The working group also created a framework for a field test of the guidance with building product manufacturers. Product manufacturers interested in testing the new option 3 guidance are encouraged to register now

While there are several existing ways project teams can achieve the Materials Ingredients credit, the options currently available focus on finished products. The new option 3 guidance focuses on rewarding manufacturer achievements related to programs that drive the environmental, health and safety management of hazardous ingredients within the supply chain. These systemic opportunities are uniquely available to manufacturers, are designed to spur innovation, and can have substantial co-benefits and synergies across broad segments of manufacturing.

“Over the last 11 months, the Supply Chain Optimization Working Group has demonstrated how communication and collaboration can lead to significant progress,” said Rick Fedrizzi, CEO and founding chair, USGBC. “The group’s recommendations have the potential to ignite further market transformation and drive more transparency in the product manufacturing industry. I want to thank all the members of the group for their hard work.”

The working group has outlined minimum steps for product manufacturers that enables them to offer insight and transparency into their processes: 

1. Publicize guiding principles that include commitments to continual improvement, sharing of information, green chemistry and green engineering.  

2. Implement an ISO-14001-type environmental management system, with added elements for human health and safety that addresses all significant environmental and health impacts of their operations. 

3. Ensure that any direct suppliers of hazardous ingredients have corresponding environmental and health & safety management systems. 

Additionally, there are added incentives for companies that go above and beyond the minimum in situations where, for example, they apply the processes to their entire company or full supply chain.

“The process outlined by the working group helps manufacturers distinguish their products by embedding health and safety-based programs within the fabric of their management and operations," said Scot Horst, chief product officer, USGBC.

As background, the Supply Chain Optimization Working Group was unanimously approved by USGBC’s LEED Steering Committee (LSC). Its members included chemical suppliers, building product manufacturers, design teams, producers of raw materials, academics and government entities along with USGBC staff.

“I was inspired by the honest and sincere dialogue among a balance of committed stakeholders. This type of positive interaction raises understanding and trust and sets a huge example and precedent for the future,” said working group member Richard Skorpenske, director of advocacy, Covestro LLC.

“This work group exemplifies that an advancement in sustainability and healthy buildings is really best developed through the understanding and cooperation of all participants along the supply chain,” added David Green, manager, applied sustainability, BASF Admixture Systems.

The group held its first meeting, a full-day, in-person meeting, in Washington, D.C. on Dec. 11, 2014. Over the past 11 months it has held approximately 80 conference calls and two additional two-day, in-person meetings.

LEED has facilitated advances in building technologies, integrated design and operating practices, as well as the tremendous growth of the green building sector, which will account for more than 2.3 million American jobs this year. The green building industry also contributes more than $134.3 billion in labor income and by 2018, the industry’s direct contribution to U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is also expected to reach $303.5 billion. 

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