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Being a JUST Organization Represents a Commitment to Continuous Improvement

In 2018 Goody Clancy became the first “JUST organization” in Boston. Participation in this unique program has been immensely valuable for our 100% employee-owned firm. It has allowed us to track and publicly share our performance across several social equity measures, both within our firm and within our community. Established by International Living Future Institute (IFLI) the authors of the Living Building Challenge (LBC) Program, to address social equity issues within businesses and organizations, JUST has allowed us to assess where we can and must take concrete actions to align with the values we hold.

The goals of the JUST Program are simple yet profound:

  • to elevate the discussion within organizations around social justice,
  • to create a common language and measurement framework for social justice issues,
  • to elevate the cause of individuals and activists who lead on these issues,
  • to improve the H.R. policies and practices that shape daily work experiences,
  • to make life better for workers in organizations worldwide.

While JUST’s goals are clear, aligning an organization’s policies to its metrics requires significant work. This was especially true when we first committed to the JUST label in 2018. And it was again true when we renewed under JUST 2.0 in 2021. In both submission processes we benefitted from the discipline and rigor that JUST requires of us across categories of diversity and inclusion, equity, employee health, employee benefits, stewardship, and purchasing and supply chain.

JUST has also helped us to unearth and address blind spots in our thinking. As a design firm with a national practice, we have long since made a commitment to equity and transparency on gender pay equity, but we have not yet spent sufficient time or effort on other issues we consider critically important. For example, we have not formalized policies on employee inclusion or engagement, nor sought to measure employee well-being through a rigorous survey. While we aspire to performing well in these areas, JUST demands—as it should— that we set ourselves a goal and demonstrate how we reached it. JUST has allowed us to daylight important questions, and even when we have not had immediate answers, we’ve understood we will need to revisit these topics soon.

The JUST program has provided us with an invaluable vehicle and framework for making progress in areas that align with our values. If you’re considering JUST as a model for your organization, I’d be more than happy to talk with you about our experience. Please reach out to me!

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