Beyond Transparency

Session 5, Beyond Transparency: Materials Disclosure + Practice unpacks how to integrate healthy materials selection into firm culture and practice. It clarifies the risks of material transparency for firms and shares strategies for managing risk while encouraging transparency. It investigates how firms balance making better material choices while considering client and firm values, and how firm-based decisions ultimately impact the ‘bigger picture’ – human and environmental health. Local manufacturers will also engage in a live ly moderated discussion to share their perspective on the challenges and opportunities of healthy, sustainable materials. The session ends with immediate actions participants can take to apply their new knowledge and skills.

  • Participants will be able to describe and apply strategies, standards and procedures used by firms to promote better material choices.
  • Participants will be able to explain risks firms face in applying materials transparency and implement strategies for managing risk.
  • Participants will be able to summarize the challenges and opportunities of materials transparency for manufacturers and develop strategies for working collaboratively with them.
  • Participants will be able to effectively communicate with clients to start conversations about healthy, sustainable materials choices.
  • Participants will be able to connect how material decisions made at the practice level impact the bigger picture of human and environmental health.

Series page »


Jeff Frost, Brightworks | A New Tool for Holistic Material Selection: Brightside Scoring System
Annie Bevan, Superior Essex | Closing the Loop Part 1: LEED v4.1 and LP 50
Alex Muller, International Living Future Institute | Closing the Loop Part 2: Market Harmonization and the Living Product Challenge 
Teresa McGrath, Healthy Building Network | Market Transformation Part 1: Finding the Hot Spots for Healthier Selections (coming soon)
Jo Brickman, VertueLab | Market Transformation Part 2: Innovating Better Materials


About the Presenters

Jeff Frost is a Project Manager at Brightworks Sustainability, a sustainability consulting firm that helps clients in over 25 industries establish and implement sustainability programs. He is recognized as a national subject matter expert on a wide array of material issues affecting the built environment.

Jeff is the co-founder of the mindful MATERIALS program; an industry-led initiative making healthy and sustainable products selection easier for building professionals. He’s an invited member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Material Knowledge Working Group (MKWG); a group of industry professionals shaping the AIA’s approach to materials. Jeff’s a member of the Health Product Declaration Collaborative (HPDC) and is co-chair of the Content Inventory Technical Sub-Group (TSG); tasked with developing the content and structure of the Health Product Declaration (HPD). He joined the USGBC’s MR TAG early in 2018; a group of elected professionals that develop and approve revisions and improvements to LEED.

Annie Bevan, Superior Essex

Annie Bevan is a sustainability professional with over 10 years of experience working with organizations to develop processes, procedures, and standards to analyze and certify various sustainability claims in products, supply chains, buildings, and within manufacturing operations. She is widely regarded in the industry as an expert in sustainability program development, corporate social responsibility and third-party verification. In her role as the Global Head of Sustainability, she oversees Superior Essex market leading sustainability program, working to collaborate and accelerate their sustainability platform through engagement with both customers and suppliers. She is driven by a passion to create positive change through collaboration and is inspired by the interconnectivity of all things in both nature and business.

In addition to her work at Superior Essex, she sits as a technical advisor and collaborator with: the US Green Building Council’s Materials and Resources TAG for the LEED rating system, the International Living Future Institute (ILFI), my green lab, the Department of Defense, the General Services Administration, Clean Production Action and the GreenScreen Program, the Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council, and the Collaborative for High Performing Schools, among other programs and efforts.

Alex Muller is the Manager of Living Products at the International Living Future Institute.
Her work at the nexus of green building, design, and manufacturing is focused on transformation of the materials market to ensure a built environment with healthy products for everyone. The Living Product Challenge is a framework and certification program for regenerative manufacturing. She works with manufacturers interested in rethinking their products and processes to not just reduce their negative impact, but also measure and maximize their positive actions.

Alex holds a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of Delaware and a Master’s in Sustainability and Technology from Purdue University. Her thesis looks at manufacturer perspectives on material health evaluation and ingredient transparency in the building products industry. She began her career in environmental conservation, and found her niche in materials research, the problem-solving challenges of developing certification standards, and stakeholder engagement to accelerate industry progress.

Teresa McGrath, CHIEF RESEARCH OFFICER, leads Healthy Building Network’s Research and Education strategies. With prior experience in government, NGO and industry, she brings a wealth of holistic knowledge and multi-sector experience to our team. Teresa led the Chemical Management Program for Sherwin-Williams, the largest paints and coatings company in the world, where she focused on hazards reduction and transparency, and assisted business units in meeting sustainability and green chemistry goals. She also spent nine years as the Senior Managing Toxicologist at NSF International’s Green Chemistry Programs, and two years at the Environmental Protection Agency in the Design for the Environment (DfE) Branch of the Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics (OPPT).

Jo Brickman, Director of Impact Strategy at VertueLab, has responsibility for the development and execution of strategic direction and programs at VertueLab. With the organization since its early days as Oregon BEST, she translated her previous decade of experience leading sustainable design at ZGF Architects into the creation of a collaborative research program focused on the sustainable built environment, and then into expanding the set of services offered to cleantech startups. Jo’s current focus is on building cleantech markets through partnerships, as well as impact measurement and management, ensuring that VertueLab programs and supported companies are designed and managed to achieve our ambitious targets for triple bottom line impact.