Just is a nutrition label for socially just and equitable organizations

– International Living Future Institute

Placework is proud to share the news that we are now one of the 150+ organizations in the world to have received a Just 2.0 label. This voluntary disclosure tool asks organizations to review their practices “through a social justice and equity lens and…. requires reporting on a range of organizational and employee-related indicators.” (International Living Future Institute “Just”) The indicators are then scored based on four levels of performance.

The idea of pursuing a Just label came to our attention through our engagement with the International Living Future Institute. ILFI has developed several important programs, including the Living Building Challenge and the Materials Red List, which are resources we use in our work. When we learned about their Just label program, we were already on a path to becoming a certified B Corporation (more to come on that this spring!). We found that both systems reinforced many of the values that we established when we founded Placework, but they also challenged us to formalize and codify many of our business practices.

Prior to this journey, we thought that many of our policies were pretty progressive because they were very flexible, such as paid time off and parental leave. However, through benchmarking against other firms of our size and companies outside of our industry, we learned that we actually needed to be less flexible and commit to clearer standards that our team could understand and rely on. Developing clear policies and formalizing many of our values in writing was a learning process for our whole team. Our employee handbook went from three pages to thirty pretty quickly!

Another aspect that we appreciate about Just is the program’s transparency. This pursuit isn’t about achieving something great to wear as a badge to attract the best employees or clients. It’s about learning and constantly improving one’s practices and sharing your progress with others to encourage them to follow the lead. The fact that the written policies of all Just labeled companies are publicly available means that we didn’t have to start from scratch; we learned best practices from our peers.

Through sharing our Just label, we hope to inspire our clients and community to think through their own practices and impact. Just isn’t merely about improving ourselves as a company, but about demonstrating how we can all hold ourselves to a higher standard as we move toward the just future that we envision.

For a “behind the label” look, our metrics and policies can be found here.