Diversity and equity isn’t just another label opportunity for the built environment.
“Your organization can contribute to the creation of a more equitable world. It’s time to make social justice your business”—enticing words from the International Living Future Institute’s (ILFI) social equity certification program JUST. Over the past decade, there has been growing awareness around corporate responsibility and transparency. For example, B Corporation, (B Corp), a program that measures social and environmental performance and transparency exclusively for for-profit companies, is one certifying body rewarding corporations for accountability.
The ILFI developed its own voluntary disclosure program for organizations of all types and sizes. It differs from B Corp in that beyond a verification or certification program, it was designed as a platform for organizations to voluntarily disclose operations around employee welfare and community investment. According to its website, “The JUST program acts somewhat as a ‘nutrition label’ for socially just and equitable organizations.”
JUST launched on the heels of the Living Building Challenge (LBC) Equity Petal criterion in 2009. The petal, or performance metric, is the first instance of a building program directly addressing issues around social justice. However, the LBC determined this didn’t go far enough to address issues of equity and justice within communities; as a result the JUST label was born. Project teams from JUST-labeled organizations are now a requisite to satisfying Equity Petal requirements, and ultimately achieving LBC certification.
How are JUST criteria measured? It all boils down to a scorecard with six categories, and recognition with one, two or three stars based on the company’s performance in each category metric. The six categories include: Diversity, Equity, Safety, Workers Benefit, Local Benefit, and Stewardship. Each category then has anywhere from two-to-six subcategories that evaluate organizational performance.
Once information on 19 of the 22 performance sub-categories has been provided, the label can be displayed on the organization’s website and used for internal communications, annual reports, corporate social responsibility reports, posters, and in marketing materials to show commitment and public transparency on these issues.
For an organization this can be a great attraction and retention tool, but for those who design and plan the workplace, is there a compelling reason to consider, or even care about, JUST or LBC? The workplace is more than just the place; it’s about people and understanding how they can thrive in that environment. Issues of equality, equity, and community stewardship directly affect people’s ability to thrive in the workplace. These topics are becoming more elevated with increased awareness around Well Building Certification, ILFI, and understanding the challenges of today’s workplace.
Also ask if they are aware of the importance of diverse groups of thinkers + benefits of multiple perspectives. #SlaughterToxicWorkwithIA
— Anne-Marie Slaughter (@SlaughterAM) December 22, 2015