its loan screening methodology, and the social justice and equity criteria within JUST provide a new way to evaluate organizations that have applied for a loan or are being considered for investments. Senior Vice President and Chief of People Madison Le believes that the JUST label can create a community of like-minded organizations: “Every company and organization needs a bank, and OPCB is excited to be investing in organizations that share its values through participation in JUST.”
term sustainable business strategy. And as demonstrated in the article titled “Business Case for Transparency,” published in the May 2013 issue of Trim Tab, a growing body of research shows companies that embrace sustainability and transparency are actually the most profitable businesses around.
If organizations like One PacificCoast Bank and other lenders begin to evaluate themselves and the companies they do business with based on the positive impact they have in the community and how well they treat their workers, it could unlock a groundswell of investThis focus on social justice is not only for the com- ment dollars for the social good. As consumers and climon good; as the sustainable business and transpar- ents start selecting companies and products based on ency movement catches fire, JUST companies may these attributes, revenue and profits will grow in a virbecome more attractive to consumers and therefore tuous cycle. We encourage organizations from all sectors to join One PacificCoast Bank and do their part more profitable. to transform the market toward greater social justice The self-assessment platform in JUST helps organiza- and equity. tions internally align their policies and practices with their missions, increasing employee retention, commit- “As part of the Beneficial Banking sector — devoted to ment and productivity. Transparent disclosure and pub- the triple bottom line of social justice, environmental lic statements about an organization’s values also help well-being and financial sustainability — OPCB supthose organizations engage with stakeholders to reduce ports certifications and labels that help beneficially risk and align with their customers. In the same way shift corporate practices and outcomes. JUST has the Declare — the ingredients label for building prod- potential to transform the way the banking industry ucts — encourages companies to remove toxic chemi- makes lending and investment decisions by highlightcals from products, JUST sheds light on potential ing key aspects of business that often are overlooked worker rights and equity issues. Removing a toxic by the market,” says Kat Taylor, CEO of OPCB. “JUST ingredient from a product’s formulation can reduce provides a unique and powerful tool for evaluating a company’s legal liability and position it to take a com- companies and organizations along the dimension of petitive advantage in the future, just as dealing with social equity, which in our view is a critical component a significant social justice concern like gender pay eq- of sustainability.” uity or worker safety may reduce long-term liability. Ensuring a safe and equitable workplace is also the Find more stories of JUST organizations participating right thing to do, and people want to work for and buy on the JUST stories blog. products from companies they trust. Using the JUST label to communicate a company’s commitment to equity and social justice has the potential to bring in new customers and clients, and improvement within the performance metrics helps keep workers healthy, fulfilled and committed to the company’s mission — all critical aspects of a long-
JAMES CONNELLY is the Living Building Challenge Manager at the International Living Future Institute.