We are excited to announce that Berger Partnership is the first landscape architecture firm in the US to receive a JUST label with the International Living Future Institute (ILFI). What began as an effort to move the firm toward a more diverse workplace, aligned with the values of ILFI, evolved into a methodical analysis and discovery of how our mission, policies, and financials influence firm culture, equity, diversity, stewardship, and sustainability. Before hitting submit on our JUST label submission we had updated over five major policies in our firm manual and reaffirmed our commitment to equitable pay, charitable giving, and sustainability.
The JUST label is not a certification, but rather a transparent disclosure of a firm’s social justice and equity policies. ILFI describes it as nutrition label for socially equitable organizations. The program requires organizations to both disclose their policies and demonstrate their accountability with data.
As we dove into firm processes and structures, the JUST label metrics provided a lens through which we could assess our internal operations and how those affect our wider reach. Through this process, we realized the depth and complexity of issues at the heart of the JUST metrics. Achieving the JUST label will more sharply focus our business practices toward the triple bottom line of social equity, environment responsibility, and financial accountability.
The JUST process opened our eyes to greater ways to give back to the community by supporting individual volunteering efforts and helped realize the need to review our hiring communications and strategies to become a more diverse workplace. Looking inward, the JUST survey encouraged us to assess employee satisfaction and happiness, reminding us of the importance of firm culture and communication. In fact, we took the JUST Worker Happiness survey a step further and developed our own, more distinct, survey to measure our workplace environment and practices. The results of that survey provided us a benchmark for future assessment and will directly inform our strategic plan as well as day-to-day procedures.
The JUST label metrics also inspired us to openly discuss race, gender, ethnicity, culture, discrimination, and diversity within our office and the profession. Building on these conversations, we recently held an office-wide workshop focused on cultural awareness and another presentation providing a youth perspective around gender identity. The workshops sparked additional conversations as we collectively endeavor to cultivate a work environment and professional practice that is open, diverse, equitable, and inclusive.
We embrace the JUST label as a measurable tool to guide firm policy toward a more just workplace and world and invite you to join us and view our JUST label.