We are officially certified with the new Just Label 2.0! For those unfamiliar, the Living Future Institute has created a transparent platform for organizations to disclose their operations for the benefit of social justice. This is in addition to their many environmental impact assessment certifications.
However, we have encouraged some challenges as a smaller firm. The rating system caters to larger firms so there are categories that we feel do not accurately represent our firm comparatively. For example gender diversity. 3 of our 7 employees are women. Overall, our gender diversity is almost split even but we only have one senior staff person who is a man so we cannot achieve a higher rating for that category. One of the great things about being a small firm is that we have the flexibility to address the individual needs of our employees. JUST provides an introduction to much-needed discussion topics, but rather than modify our policy overall, we can and have been able to adjust to individual requirements such as office hours, accessibility needs, remote/in-office time, etc.
Overall, the Just program is a great internal tool to access growth. Going through the process is the most valuable in understanding not just where we are but how we can grow. We believe Just label should be the industry standard for architecture and beyond. The new additions of the 2.0 such as the mental and physical health of the individuals were interesting, especially in pandemic times. Forcing us to discuss what our role as a firm could and should be. Our firm had general values such as using sustainable/local products and generally endorsed volunteering; however, we didn’t have a written policy before JUST that systematically enforced/encouraged those values for staff to refer to/adhere by. We look forward to the Just 3.0 release!