Dovetail Partners Calls for Greater Use of Certification

Opportunity to Expand Beyond Wood Certification to Other Building Materials


(Mpls, MN) – A new report from Dovetail Partners, a Minneapolis-based non-profit organization, calls for greater use of certification and the expansion of programs to include certification of building materials beyond wood.


“There are currently no requirements in green building programs or incentives of any kind that steel, aluminum, concrete, plastic, glass, bamboo, or any material other than wood meet standards for environmental and social responsibility, despite the fact that substantial environmental and social impacts are associated with production of all of these materials,” says Dr. Jim Bowyer, Director of the Responsible Materials Program for Dovetail and lead author of the report.


The report highlights the established use of certification programs for the evaluation of responsible sources of wood products, especially imported and tropical woods associated with the highest levels of environmental concern.  Although bamboo, cement, iron, steel, aluminum and other building materials are also imported from many of the same regions of the world, there are currently no certification programs or standards for the responsible management and extraction of these materials.


“The forest sector has responded to the global demand for responsible forest management by establishing and participating in rigorous third-party certification programs and it is time for other industries to do the same,” says Kathryn Fernholz, Executive Director of Dovetail Partners.


The report notes that because of the lack of oversight as to where materials other than wood originate or how they are produced, there is little doubt that some of the materials finding their way each day into “green” buildings are anything but green.


“It is now time to begin moving toward certification of all materials used in construction, and the responsibility for initiating such change lies squarely with the leaders of green building programs, executives of the largest building materials distributors, environmental organizations, and environmentally concerned citizens,” concludes Bowyer.


The full report is available at the Dovetail website: