We must renew our commitment to dismantling the systems that enable injustice to occur.
USGBC is defined by a single belief: Every person, regardless of race, background or circumstance, has the right to a better standard of living. Our mission is focused on creating better lives. This week’s events are a painful reminder that pursuing our mission with the utmost sincerity and purpose means acknowledging the compromised quality of life, pervasive discrimination and violence experienced because of racial injustice. We mourn the recent murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, along with countless other Black people who have lost their lives and unduly suffered from discrimination.
While USGBC has always condemned injustice in all forms, we recognize we must renew our commitment to dismantling the systems that enable such tragedies to occur. A sustainable future is meaningless if it is not also an equitable future. Now is the time for USGBC to double down, to put our budget and resources toward building a more inclusive vision. We will hold ourselves accountable to doing everything in our power to replace racism and violence with equity and justice, and in the process, to lift people up.
At Greenbuild 2019, we announced the formation of the USGBC Equity initiative, because we believe social equity isn’t an addendum. It cannot be addressed in a vacuum and it requires deeply personal, often uncomfortable discussions about painful experiences. It requires an acknowledgement that we have a lot farther to go when it comes to equity, and that we wholeheartedly are ready to do the work in changing that. It demands a conversation where USGBC does far more listening and learning than talking, where we amplify voices that have been ignored for too long.
As a first step toward this, we held our inaugural USGBC Equity Summit last week. And while the timing was purely coincidental, we cannot ignore the fact that many of the very issues we came together to work through are the same ones that underline the protests we are witnessing around the globe.
The summit was designed to be the beginning of a listening and learning tour of voices outside our organization to identify and answer key questions that will shape the USGBC Equity program.
As we design our second summit, we will continue to have the difficult conversations about where the green building community can improve, include voices outside our traditional orbit and take meaningful actions to bring about more equitable outcomes.
To that end, we will create an annual report that every member of our community—from member companies to projects to individuals—will be able to participate in, and transparently share the efforts they are making to increase equity. We will not only celebrate the leadership of the people getting it right, but also identify opportunities for everyone to be an effective ally and partner in this work.
As of today, we have begun the work and remain committed to a sustainable and equitable world. Please continue to let us know how we can help and lead strong in the future. We want to hear from you.