Design and Construction, Green Building, Sustainability/Business Continuity

Green Building Groups Unite Around Common Materials Framework

Leading organizations dedicated to sustainable building practices and impact reduction in the built environment have joined forces to align around the Common Materials Framework (CMF), which establishes a common language for holistic material sustainability in the building industry.

The groups include the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the International Living Future Institute (ILFI), the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI), the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), and mindful MATERIALS.

At the recent 2023 Greenbuild International Conference and Expo, leaders from the five organizations presented “Building Alignment: The Role of Project Certifications to Drive Impact” to shed light on the critical importance of aligning their efforts to advance materials sustainability, transparency, and optimization in the construction and design industries.

Annie Bevan, CEO of mindful MATERIALS, noted, “The announcement at Greenbuild represents years of collaboration and months of direct conversation.”

The CMF, whose first version was completed in 2021, acts as a ‘Rosetta Stone’ for product sustainability, translating diverse product standards and disparate data points into consistent categories of impact: Human Health, Climate Health, Ecosystem Health, Social Health + Equity, and Circularity. The AIA Materials Pledge first articulated these impact ‘pillars’ and are now widely recognized in the building industry. By doing so, it allows any organization, data platform, standard, designer, or manufacturer to have a common and comparable foundation for their work.


IWBI announced its commitment to map existing material features in its WELL healthy building certification program to the CMF; conduct a gap analysis to inform new possible CMF-aligned WELL beta features; and explore ways to support similar alignment with its Works with WELL licensing program.

Rachel Hodgdon, president and CEO of IWBI, said the “like-minded organizations” are “seizing an opportunity to accelerate progress toward healthier and more sustainable materials.”

USGBC announced plans to consider the CMF organizing principles for its much-anticipated LEED v5, which is available to review in draft for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance now. Draft versions for Design & Construction will be launched next year and include a multi-attribute, holistic approach to sustainable materials.

“By championing sustainable materials, we not only curtail energy, water, harmful ingredients, and waste in manufacturing but also mitigate impacts during distribution, transportation, and future phases of use—reducing carbon emissions while also safeguarding health and environmental quality,” said Peter Templeton, president and CEO at USGBC. “The Common Materials Framework offers an opportunity for our industry stakeholders to standardize terminology and speed the uptake of sustainable products.”

ALSO READ: 4 Values to Look for When Working with Green Construction Companies

After adopting the five pillars more than three years ago, AIA offered a sneak peek into its process to build out actionable next steps for the over 250 AIA A&D Materials Pledge signatories. The CMF will be used to build clear metrics that will help track the adoption of holistic materials selection among AIA’s 96,000 members.

“AIA is committed to supporting the architect’s ability to create a zero-carbon, equitable, healthy, and resilient future through the power of design,” said Lakisha Ann Woods, CEO of AIA. “The industry’s alignment around the CMF will allow AIA and our industry to speak the same language when discussing materials selection in the built environment.”

As ILFI prepares for the release of the next versions of its programs—Declare, the Living Product Challenge, and the Living Building Challenge—Materials Director Mike Johnson said the organization will leverage the CMF to ensure its standards are aligned.

“ILFI is dedicated to helping the world define what good looks like for the built environment and to empowering communities around the world to respond to the urgent social and environmental issues of our time,” said CEO Lindsay Baker.

More information on the CMF is available here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *