Social Justice is the New Transparency for Buildings

10/08/2018 | By Kadie Yale

Certified manufacturers is a new concept in the design industry and it’s starting to become recognized now.

Generation Changes and Talent Acquisition 

Diversity and employee well-being are becoming more important to American society. As the boomer generation retires, competition for talent in the Millennial and Generation Z workforce will increase, says Randy Fiser, CEO, American Society of Interior Designers.

To hire and retain talent in these generations, the importance of company culture comes into play; they are the most diverse and socially-minded of any generation. 

[Read also: Tips to Move Your Building Toward Net Zero]

Fiser also says the myth of Millennials jumping from job to job is merely that: a myth. Instead, we’re seeing Millennials settling into jobs where they feel the company culture is beneficial to them.

Company culture includes not only how the employees are treated, but the treatment of those who work tangentially with the company and the surrounding community.

Design Connections panel about the building industry's new frontier in transparency
(Photo: Panel of experts during Design Connections - The Building Industry’s New Frontier in Transparency: Social Justice. Moderator: Rochelle Routman, chief sustainability officer, Aspecta; Experts: Jason McClennan, CEO, McClennan Design; Sunny Reed, interior project designer, Perkins+Will; Randy Fiser, CEO, ASID; Jennifer Carter, principal, Studio8 Architects. Credit: Rochelle Routman)

JUST Label

Because information is so easily accessible these days with the rise of technology, the design industry has embraced transparency. If the information is going to come to light anyhow, it’s best to provide that information in a clear and accessible manner. 

[From interiors+sources: Jason McLennan Leaves His Handprint on Sustainable Design]

The Living Building Institute first approached transparency through the Declare Label that allows manufacturers to become transparent in their product’s ingredients in a clear and simple manner similar to a food nutrition label. 

Recently, their JUST Label has gained traction. Similar to the Declare Label, JUST gives employers the ability to showcase their social equity in a simple way. 

Company culture includes not only how the employees are treated, but the treatment of those who work tangentially with the company and the surrounding community.

The single-page transparency platform gives a quick view on a corporation’s: 

  • Diversity
  • Equity
  • Safety
  • Worker Benefits
  • Local Benefits
  • Stewardship

Using a three-star system, a company self-reports on these qualities. 

What Does This Mean For You?

It’s a fact that diverse and happy teams produce more unique solutions, retain employees longer, and have more productive work hours. 

JUST is not a certification like LEED, but it is no less important to building owners and facility managers. Being able to include that a building utilized materials and products that were created by a company that has a JUST Label increases a company’s culture.

Being able to include that a building utilized materials and products that were created by a company that has a JUST Label increases a company’s culture.

For those leasing offices or buildings, JUST Label products increase the worth of the space. Especially for start-ups and the ever-increasing businesses run by Gen X and Millennials, being able to include the fact that even the interior products are held to a higher transparency level regarding employee wellness can help to attract and retain talent. 

For building owners, attracting and retaining tenants is increasingly more important as work becomes more transient. 

The future of design is transparent. Knowing what you can expect of design can help you to position your building for the future.


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