Friday, July 19, 2013

Why Skanska Dropped its Membership in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce

On July 9, Skanska resigned as a member of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to protest the organization’s backing of a chemical industry-led initiative to effectively ban the future use of LEED for government buildings. The initiative, linked to the lobbying efforts related to the Shaheen-Portman Energy Efficiency Bill , threatens to halt years of progress in energy-efficient and environmentally responsible construction.

Sustainability is one of Skanska’s core values. And we will not be a part of an organization that supports the American High-Performance Building Coalition (AHPBC), which harbors the American Chemistry Council and opposes the implementation of a new, stronger LEED certification program.

LEEDv4 encourages transparency in reporting the chemical composition of building materials, something we at Skanska think is essential for anyone wanting to build responsibly.

The LEED program is the most recognized and widely used green building program globally. It is maintained and implemented by the independent U.S. Green Building Council through a public and transparent comment and balloting process engaging a diverse group of nearly 13,000 members, who voted last week in favor of LEEDv4.

We have asked the Chamber to reconsider its support of the chemical lobby, whose anti-LEED stance would:

  • Significantly undermine the LEED program
  • Impact more than 196,000 LEED Accredited Professionals
  • Cripple the progress of environmentally responsible construction across the country.

The Chamber is on the wrong side of this issue, and its support of the AHPBC is misplaced as well as misguided. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce was created to advocate for pro-business policies that create jobs and support our economy. The numbers prove that LEED and green building do just that. Because a few companies don’t like the current LEED program, they want to involve the government and create an entirely new system for government buildings. This is exactly the kind of redundancy and bureaucracy that we pay the Chamber to fight.

Michael McNally
President & CEO
Skanska USA