to remove forced labor from the global materials supply chain
Keynotes: Prince Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, CEO of International Peace Institute and former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, and Sharon Prince, CEO and Founder, Grace Farms Foundation
|Photo courtesy of Prince|
Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein
|@ Sasha Arutyunova|
Accelerate the movement | Where awareness meets action
Be part of the solution
Grace Farms will convene the first-ever Design for Freedom Summit on March 31, bringing together leaders from across industries and sectors including the architectural, engineering, construction, education, government and legal, activists and artists to create institutional responses to forced labor in the building materials supply chain.
Awareness of forced labor and environmental conservation in various industries has risen over the past several decades. “It started with food, then clothing, and I propose next will be shelter,” notes Sharon Prince, CEO and Founder of Grace Farms.
Removing forced labor from the building materials supply chain is the focus of Design for Freedom. Launched in October 2020, Design for Freedom has an ambitious mission – to mobilize the full ecosystem of the architectural, engineering, and construction community to build a future without forced labor. The Design for Freedom movement reimagines architecture by raising awareness and inspiring responses to disrupt forced labor in the building materials supply chain.
Grace Farms has engaged a diverse group of more than 80 leaders and experts from the entire ecosystem of the built environment to work toward this goal. Together, we have galvanized the movement and rapidly raised awareness about forced labor in the built environment and created opportunities and partnerships to launch Design for Freedom Pilot Projects that will lead to scalable change within the industry.
Change can only happen from within the industry; we need the whole ecosystem to come together to create a radical paradigm shift.
“We launched the Design for Freedom movement to create a radical paradigm shift last year by galvanizing now more than 80 global leaders to take the next step in sustainable design, to include fair labor practices in the building materials. We are helping institutions initiate pilot projects, sharing and inviting research in university classes, and even translating the need for transparency to art installations and exhibition spaces— including Grace Farms as a central site for this examination and public awareness. A top down and bottoms up approach. “ – Sharon Prince, CEO and Founder, Grace Farms Foundation, Another Tomorrow, December 9, 2021
Why a call to action?
Although global laws forbid the use of slave labor in the built environment, materials that go into our buildings are heavily reliant on forced labor. Nearly 25 million people are working in forced labor conditions and close to 160 million children from the ages of five to 17 are subjected to child labor globally.  These conditions and the industry circumstances that lead to worker exploitation are addressed in our ground-breaking Design for Freedom report, which included contributions by leaders at the forefront of innovation in the built environment and action steps for various stakeholders, encouraging the industry to apply an ethical lens to their daily roles.
Design for Freedom Summit Overview
In this first-ever Summit, which convenes leaders across sectors, participants will learn about the issue of forced labor in the built environment, forge new and collaborative relationships to advance the movement, and come away with actionable steps to use in their day-to-day work and strategic long-terms plans.
“We searched for ways to infuse our designs with qualities which would give the contractors no choice but to do things ethically … But, without a paradigm shift, enforcing these standards will remain a nagging source of disagreement which results in compromises in schedule, budget, and quality.” – Adam Saltzman, Director, MASS.Build
The Summit will be held throughout Grace Farms’ award-winning SANAA-designed River building, which is embedded in acres of natural landscape. The sessions are designed to inspire conversations and consider solutions to the pervasiveness of forced labor within the industry.
Prince Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein and Sharon Prince will launch the Summit with a keynote conversation about forced labor in our building materials supply chain and the urgent need to mobilize the ecosystem of the built environment to address the crisis. Prince Zeid is a global leader with a long history of fighting for human rights. He is currently the President of the International Peace Institute and is also a member of The Elders, an independent group founded by Nelson Mandela that works toward peace, justice, and human rights. He has also held high-level positions at the United Nations, including serving as the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Right after a long career as a Jordanian diplomat.
- Corporate Ethical Responsibility Within the Material Supply Chain Design for Freedom Pilot Projects & Ethical Procurement
- Roundtable Lunch Discussions
- How Government Policy and Enforcement Impact Forced Labor in Supply Chains
- Tech Talk: The Future of the AEC Industry
There are also six roundtable discussions, led by industry experts. These include:
- Pivoting from Linear to Circular Material Flow withFlorian Idenberg (SO-IL), Claire Weisz (WXY Studio), Nat Oppenheimer (Silman) and Nadine Berger (SHoP)
- AI and Machine Learning and Risk Reduction with Phil Bernstein (Yale School of Architecture) and Brian Ulicny, PhD (Raytheon BBN Technologies
- Gaining Visibility into Your Supply Chain with Jared Gilbert (CookFox), Ann Rolland (FX Collaborative), Bill DuBois (Gensler), Jay Gorman (Sciame Construction)
- Timber and other Materials Studie with Michael Green (Michael Green Architecture) and Patricia Saldaña Natke (UrbanWorks and IIT)
- Optimizing Material Transparency with Shawn MacDonald (Verité), Debbie Propst (MillerKnoll), Annabel Short (Institute for Human Rights and Business)
- Interiors and Design for Freedom with Paul Clemence (Architectural Photographer) and Hayes Slade (Slade Architecture)
Members of the Design for Freedom Working Group and other leaders of the built environment will speak at the Summit. These include:
Alan Ricks, Caitlin Taylor, and Maggie Stern, MASS Design
Andy Klemmer, Paratus
Angel Dizon, U.S. Overseas Buildings Operations
Ann Rolland, FXCollaborative
Anna Dyson, Yale Center for Ecosystems in Architecture
Annabel Short, Institute for Human Rights and Business
Annie Bevan, Mindful Materials
Benjamin Prosky, AIA NY & Center for Architecture
Bill DuBois, Gensler
Brian Ulicny, Raytheon BBN Technologies
Chelsea Thatcher, Grace Farms Foundation
Christine Foushee, U.S. Overseas Building Operations
Christopher Sharples, SHoP Architects
Claire Weisz, WXY Studio
Debbie Propst, MillerKnoll
Florian Idenburg, SO – IL
Harriet Harriss, Pratt Institute School of Architecture
Hayes Slade, Slade Architecture
Jane Abernethy, Humanscale
Jared Gilbert, CookFox Architects
Jennifer McCadney, Kelley Drye & Warren
Joseph Mizzi and Jay Gorman, Sciame Construction
Leslie King, Construction Litigation, Carlton Fields
Lynn Temple, Turner Construction Company
Michael Conlon, Department of Homeland Security
Michael Green, Michael Green Architecture
Nadine Berger, SHoP Architects
Nat Oppenheimer, Silman
Nora Rizzo, Grace Farms Foundation
Patricia Saldaña Natke, UrbanWorks and IIT
Paul Clemence, Architectural Photographer
Pedro Mendes, Pentagram
Peter Miller, Palette
Phil Bernstein, Yale School of Architecture
Rick Cook, COOKFOX Architects
Rod Khattabi, Grace Farms Foundation
Shawn MacDonald, Verité
Vanessa Barboni Hallik, Another Tomorrow
Tangible outcomes that create change
During the Summit, participants will learn more about our interdisciplinary work, our U.S. and international Pilot Projects, the lessons learned, and how the Pilot Projects can create scalable and lasting change to remove forced labor from the built environment. We will also release the Design for Freedom Tool Kit with actionable tools that industry leaders can immediately use within their organizations to make ethical and sustainable decisions.
As of March 2022, Grace Farms Foundation has announced four Design for Freedom Pilot Projects in the U.S. and abroad, including the 21st Serpentine Pavilion, Black Chapel by Theaster Gates; Shadow of a Face, a monument to Harriet Tubman by Nina Cooke John; the New Canaan Library, and Temporal Shift by Alyson Shotz, currently on view at Grace Farms.
Design for Freedom Summit participants will also have time to explore our new exhibits that demonstrate our commitment to ethical and sustainable design, discover our nature preserves on self-guided or guided walks, explore our art installations, discover our selection of books in our Library, and experience the art and serving of tea in our Pavilion.
Register for Design for FREEDOM summit
AIA CES Approved 4 LU | HSW
 Global Estimates of Child Labour: Results and Trends, 2012-2016. International Labour Organization (ILO). Geneva, 2017.