In an unprecedented collaboration for sustainable building practices, AIA, ILFI, IWBI, USGBC, and mindful MATERIALS (mM) have united to endorse the Common Materials Framework (CMF). This framework, established in 2021, acts as a ‘Rosetta Stone’ for material sustainability, translating diverse standards into consistent impact categories. At the 2023 Greenbuild International Conference and Expo, leaders from these organisations highlighted the critical role of the CMF in advancing material sustainability, transparency, and optimisation in construction and design.
The CMF, with its five impact pillars (Human Health, Climate Health, Ecosystem Health, Social Health + Equity, and Circularity), offers a common language for the industry. It allows organisations, designers, and manufacturers to have a comparable foundation for their work, facilitating collaboration and progress. The commitment from these organisations signifies a step toward aligning efforts for holistically sustainable materials.
“Materials have remained one of the toughest sustainability puzzles to solve. Partly, that’s because their impacts are so diverse and global — and because so many entities impact material choices from design to installation,” says Alex Muller, VP of Strategy at mindful MATERIALS.
“That’s all about to change thanks to the Common Materials Framework — and the commitment from these organisations to find meaningful alignment on holistically sustainable materials.”
Commitment from big organisations pushing for big change
As many leading voices in the industry rally behind the CMF, the mindful MATERIALS team are excited to see what positive change is on the horizon. Annie Bevan, CEO of mindful MATERIALS, expressed excitement about the powerful synergy created, believing it will propel the industry forward.
Bevan said, “It’s not overstating anything to say these are some of the most influential groups in the built environment where sustainability is concerned.”
“To have everyone up on the stage together, speaking in the same language and with the same urgency about aligning like ‘no more talk, this is it’ — I mean, wow, that was powerful and something I have been hoping to see my entire career,”
The CMF will be integral to AIA’s A&D Materials Pledge, offering clear metrics to track holistic material selection among its 96,000 members. Other organisations, such as IWBI and USGBC, also announced plans to align their programs with the CMF.
Leveraging the CMF, this collaboration aims to establish a common language and a shared foundation for materials data and sustainability standards. The CEOs of AIA, IWBI, USGBC, and ILFI expressed their enthusiasm for the alignment, emphasising its potential to accelerate progress toward healthier and more sustainable materials.
More about the Common Materials Framework:
The CMF, a result of extensive cross-stakeholder efforts, organises over 100 building product certifications and disclosures into five buckets of health and sustainability. It structures more than 650 relevant sustainability factors, providing a foundation for signatories to navigate and demonstrate achievement on their public commitments. Once digitised, the CMF will act as a smart filter for searching sustainable products across all leading building and material databases.
To learn more, visit mindfulmaterials.com and check out our previous interview with Alex Muller and Laurel Christensen
Sophie Crossley is our Content Editor. She has 5+ years of experience in comms with a focus on wellbeing, the built environment, and lifestyle.