September 17, 2015
A JUST label is similar to a nutrition label on a package of food in its purpose, which is to help consumers understand the “ingredients” or composition of a company—its values, business model, policies and workplace culture. evolveEA has recently become the first company in the Pittsburgh region to publish a JUST label, joining an emerging movement to improve transparency and encourage a more equitable economy. JUST is a program that has grown out of the sustainable architecture field, as the idea of green buildings and communities encompasses not only environmental issues but social equity as well.
The International Living Future Institute (ILFI) is the organization that administers the Living Building Challenge—widely considered to be the ultimate green building certification for projects that achieve Net Zero energy and water use while also meeting very high standards for healthy and sustainable materials. ILFI started the JUST program as a way to benchmark organizations in the categories of Diversity, Equity, Safety, Worker Benefit, Local Benefit and Stewardship. The website, justorganizations.com, explains:
The International Living Future Institute’s™ JUST™ program is a voluntary disclosure program and tool for all types and sizes of organizations. JUST is, quite simply, a call to social justice action. It is not a verification or certification program. Rather, the program provides an innovative transparency platform for organizations to reveal much about their operations, including how they treat their employees and where they make financial and community investments.
evolveEA has a history of early adoption when it comes to sustainability frameworks. The firm has managed projects such as the first-ever LEED certified supermarket, the first LEED Gold building in all of Africa, and worked on one of the first certified Living Buildings. The firm also earned B Corp certification in 2013, joining a community of companies demonstrating leadership in environmental sustainability and social responsibility. Publishing a JUST label fits evolveEA’s model for advancing sustainable Processes, Places and People, and we hope to see many more organizations participate in the program. Below is our label, showing that we’ve achieved three out of three stars for the majority of the label’s social justice and equity indicators.
ILFI is promoting the JUST program here in Pittsburgh at its Living Product Expo, where evolveEA’s Christine Mondor is discussing transparency and employee engagement with a panel of leaders from other companies who have published labels. The ILFI has declared:
JUST marks the beginning of a new era of corporate transparency. The Institute invites organizations everywhere to evaluate themselves through this social justice and equity lens and become a JUST organization. With support from participating organizations, JUST will help create a better, more socially just and equitable world.