SERA’s commitment to sustainability begins with the way we run our business. We believe that a fully sustainable workplace is the logical first step towards practicing sustainability in our projects and helps nurture a culture of sustainability. By “walking our talk” we continue to discover new ways to work, interact, and create more sustainable physical environments. We learn from and share these discoveries, and the change ripples out into the world.
100% Employee Ownership
SERA is committed to a greater level of employee engagement and entrepreneurial involvement than is customarily found in an architectural firm. 100% of the stock of SERA Architects, Inc. is held in an Employee Stock Ownership Trust and our employees are the beneficiaries of that Trust. Being employee-owned is a direct reflection of our commitment to The Natural Step’s Fourth System Condition: “In a sustainable society, people are not subject to conditions that systemically undermine their capacity to meet their needs.”
Empowering our staff in decision-making is one of SERA’s fundamental values and serves both the long-term health of the firm and our employee-owners.
In 2002, SERA leadership went through an intensive training in The Natural Step Framework and then instigated an extensive office-wide backcasting process. Backcasting is a process that reverses the standard forecasting approach by first establishing a future vision of sustainability — to create a fully sustainable workplace, evaluated against the Four System Conditions of The Natural Step — and then works backwards to develop the steps required to achieve that vision. The lessons learned from the backcasting process continue to permeate all aspects of SERA’s culture and operations.
One of the most prominent results of the process was the creation an employee-based Sustainable Action Committee (SAC). This volunteer group helps oversee the execution of sustainable business policies, practices, and strategies for the firm. Each year, SAC throws Sustainable Action Celebrations to share the company’s efforts and accomplishments with fellow employees, clients and community members.