SFTool Blog

Welcome to the SFTool Blog. The Sustainable Facilities Tool (sftool.gov) helps you do more than learn about high-performance buildings and purchasing. SFTool helps you put this knowledge into practice, and assemble the people you need to help you get stuff done.

We’ve decided to share some of our experiences while developing SFTool. We’ll talk about interactions with the building community, challenges we’ve overcome designing the site, and other stories about putting high-performance ideas into practice.

Note: The SFTool blog may contain links to websites of public and private organizations, as well as references to specific products used in development. A link or mention anywhere on SFTool is not an endorsement of the views, products, or services provided by the mentioned resource or product.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Social Sustainability

Sustainability is most often associated with environmental friendliness, energy efficiency, or improving occupant comfort. However, the social aspects of sustainability are just as important to the effort as the more publicized ‘green’ benefits. Taking a lifecycle approach to identify all aspects that affect human life in sustainability efforts ensures Social Sustainability is not overlooked.

Social Sustainability, is defined broadly by the Integrated Network for Social Sustainability as “the social relationships, interactions, and institutions that affect, and are affected by, sustainable development.” SFTool’s new Social Sustainability module describes best practices, offers strategies, and provides resources from around the world designed to identify sectors at-risk for human rights violations so organizations and individuals can easily verify compliance with national and international standards. Follow the guide to help your building and procurement projects achieve their economic, environmental and social sustainability goals.

Concerns over socially sustainable development can originate both domestically and abroad and can come in many forms, such as:
  • Unsafe working conditions, discrimination, and other workers’ rights violations
  • Human trafficking
  • Child labor or forced labor
  • Privacy rights

The Social Sustainability page brings a wealth of information from across the globe into one place, including guidelines from the UN Guiding Principles, Global Reporting Initiative, US Departments of Labor and State, and many more. Procurement resources are further broken down into pre-award actions, like identifying human rights risks by category and country, and post-award actions, including verification of contractors’ claims of sourcing sustainably. In fact, there’s a whole separate page dedicated to resources that help with verification.

Those more interested in the issues or looking to ensure their projects, organizations, or business efforts are in line with international standards can go to the Initiatives, Guidelines, and Standards page. You can search by industry or guidance organization to see resources relevant to many social sustainability concerns.

SFTool’s new Social Sustainability module incorporates many strategies, best practices, and resources, but if you have an additional resource you think may be beneficial, send us a note using the ‘Give Feedback’ button at the bottom of every sftool.gov page!

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