Turner, Grace Farms Foundation, and the U.S. State Department Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations Co-Host Ethical Supply Chain Workshop
Design for Freedom Ethical Supply Chain Workshop at Grace Farms explored human rights in construction
Turner Construction Company, Grace Farms Foundation, and the U.S. State Department Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations hosted a Design for Freedom Ethical Supply Chain Workshop to discuss and promote human rights in the construction industry.
The workshop, held on November 14 at Grace Farms in New Canaan, Connecticut, brought together industry experts from the public and private sectors to discuss important topics including increasing transparency in the supply chain, the impact of building material choices on the climate, and financial considerations for building and maintaining responsible supply chains.
Public and private sector participants representing large manufacturers, technology partners, designers, higher education, and government agencies shared strategies to navigate the rapidly evolving landscape of the global supply chain. During opening remarks, Mike Bruskin, Vice President and Chief Procurement Officer of Turner Construction Company, said, “Turner engages partners deep in the supply chain in line with its sustainability strategy that is based on an ESG framework in a manner that is meaningful and long-term. True sustainability means that we care about how we do business. It is so much more than getting the work done. It means we care about the communities in which we work, the global environment, and all the people along our supply chain.”
Jennifer Downey, Director of Environmental, Social, and Governance at Turner Construction Company, said, “Engaging our supply chain on this topic is an important component of Turner’s ESG strategy. By working together, we are best able to make short and long-term changes within our organizations and beyond to affect a broader change. Our hope is that this workshop furthers industry cooperation and alignment on the topic of advancing human rights in the entire supply chain, from extraction of materials, manufacturing, transportation, installation, and operation of building components.”
“This Design for Freedom Ethical Supply Chain Workshop is another marker in time for the movement,” said Sharon Prince, CEO and Founder of Grace Farms Foundation. “By inviting large suppliers, manufacturers, and developers to the table with Turner and OBO, we can start to level set a fair and resilient building material supply chain among competitors and create a more humane future. Initializing material provenance efforts and ethical decarbonization is the pathway to lowering embodied carbon and embodied suffering. Everyone has agency to influence the marketplace and eliminate forced labor from our supply chains.”
Curtis Clay Director of Architecture at the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Overseas Building Operations, and Design for Freedom Working Group member said, “With a portfolio of projects in design and construction across the globe, OBO is working to move the needle of institutional change by partnering with our stakeholders to expand the industry’s usage of ethically-sourced building materials. This workshop accelerated the movement towards this aim and provided OBO with a clearer understanding of the challenges and barriers that our private sector contractors and material suppliers face when attempting to source ethically.”
The Workshop featured dynamic panel discussions centered on critical topics related to supply chain due diligence including: the legal framework and responsibilities of businesses and organizations to know their supply chains; the way building materials and the building materials supply chain intersect with the climate; how innovative technology can be activated to trace supply chains and mitigate risks; the ethical decarbonization market shift and financing a just transition. Key insights into this critical work will be presented in a white paper to be released in early 2024.
Speakers represented leaders from the government, not-for-profit, and corporate sectors and included Anna Dyson, Yale Center for Ecosystems + Architecture; Maha Khan, United Nations University’s Financing Against Slavery and Trafficking (FAST); Shawn MacDonald, Verité; Amy Musanti, ASSA ABLOY; Amy O’Neill Richards, State Department Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Person; Chris Sharples, SHoP; Peter Swartz, Altana AI; and more than a dozen others.
This Workshop follows a Turner hosted ESG Sustainability Summit in 2022 that brought together a diverse range of industry participants to exchange ideas to advance the sustainability of its operations and its supply chain. Turner has also partnered with Grace Farms to implement a pilot project for Design for Freedom on the New Canaan Library project. The effort sought to find and eliminate any unfair labor practices in construction material supply chains to create a more equitable future. This project will be featured in an upcoming Design for Freedom Exhibit at Grace Farms in March 2024.
OBO hosted its 2022 Industry Advisory Group (IAG) annual meeting with more than 500 industry leaders gathering at the Harry S. Truman Building in Washington, DC, where they were introduced to Design for Freedom and discussed modern slavery in the building materials supply chain.