The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) should go beyond simply encouraging the use of certified wood by adopting a new way to brand lumber that frees dealers of the constraints of chain-of-custody certification, a national association for dealers urges.

The National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association (NLBMDA) made its proposition in a letter to the USGBC, which was seeking comments on its proposal to award credits for sustainable wood that are certified by a number of organizations. The NLBMDA's plan is part of over 1,800 comments the USGBC received in its 30-day public comment period on the certified wood credit.

The eco-label would work like existing grade stamps, says Colleen Rocha Levine, director of government affairs for the NLBMDA. The association proposes for the eco-labels to be "permanently marked by the producing mill on a face or side of each piece of dimension lumber." The label would "serve as a producer's warranty (subject to a third-party inspection) or origin of timber" and provide "permanent and transparent documentation" throughout the product's life cycle, the organization said in its comments to the USGBC.

"There are currently five branded eco-forest certifications programs that require dealers to keep separate purchasing, inventory and sales records to document compliance with LEED or [National Association of Home Builders] projects," Levine says. "A new eco-label would eliminate those duplicative record-keeping requirements and speed the flow of certified wood products into the supply chain."