In the recent Environmental Building News (BuildingGreen.com) article, Is That Drywall "Just"? New Label Aims for Social Justice Equity, Paula Melton takes a look at JUST™, the International Living Future Institute's new social justice transparency platform. Melton details the program's goals and its metrics for evaluating organizations' commitment to social justice,
The Just manual sets out criteria for each area addressed in the program:
• Gender and ethnic diversity
• Equity, including union friendliness, wages, and family friendliness
• Safety for workers, including proper management of toxic chemicals
• Worker benefits, including health insurance, worker happiness, and continuing education opportunities
• Benefit to the local economy
• Social and environmental stewardship, including responsible investing, “positive products,” and animal welfare
Metrics include policies as well as demonstration of a certain level of performance. For example, to get three stars for gender pay-scale equity, the organization must have a publicly posted policy on the issue and must document a maximum variance in compensation of 5% between men and women in every pay grade.
Melton also inteviews Institute CEO Jason F. McLennan to find out how JUST both informs consumers' purchasing decisions and recognizes organizations already committed to equitable working conditions,
Ideally, [McLennan] adds, the framework will help guide purchasing and other business decisions—and may aid consumer choices as well. “When we choose to spend our money on something, we are supporting how [companies] treat their workers,” he told EBN, and transparency permits comparison. Many manufacturing processes have inherent dangers, he adds, but some companies do more than others to keep their workers safe. “You as consumer have an opportunity. If I have to use cast iron, then which of these cast iron companies treats [its] people the best? We should know that.”
ILFI has already fielded inquiries from several building product manufacturers, said McLennan—mostly from “companies that tend to take corporate responsibility seriously anyway,” he adds. “We’re guessing that they’re going to be our first adopters.”
Lastly, the author echoes the sentiments of Lance Hosey, Chief Sustainabilitty Officer at RTKL who, in a recent Huffington Post blog post, advocated for JUST to spark a broader movement toward fair trade in the building industry.
Read the full article from Building Green.
To learn more about JUST or to sign up your organization, visit: Justorganizations.com.