How a new transparency platform spurred us to keep “walking the talk”—and where we go from here
In 2015, spurred by signing the AIA 2030 Commitment, DBA began having broader discussions about what sustainability means to us which led to us developing a firm-wide sustainability action plan and exploring the role that social equity plays in our goal to be a truly sustainable organization.
As a socially progressive company, we believe in the concept and the practice of equity. I personally first heard about the JUST Label—a transparency platform for socially just and equitable organizations—while participating in an International Living Future Institute (ILFI) webinar. I was inspired by the program's emphasis on transparency and advocacy. It felt like a good fit for DBA, and our firm leaders agreed. In 2017, in order to quantify our commitment to equity and to explore it more systematically, we decided to apply.
ILFI’s Living Building Challenge was the first green-building program to incorporate equity criteria. In 2009, the program launched the Equity Petal (one of seven achievable Petals that emphasize different aspects of design and performance) with the intention to “transform developments to foster a true, inclusive sense of community.” ILFI created the JUST platform and included the requirement that one of the major team members have the JUST Label for a project to achieve the Equity Petal.
We were initially motivated by the idea and format of the JUST reporting, but DBA can now offer our JUST status as a benefit to teams with LBC Goals. DBA is currently moving two projects through the Living Building Challenge Pilot for Affordable Housing.