Policy + Advocacy

Living Future Policy & Advocacy

Policy + Advocacy

Transforming Policy

Innovation and new ideas run counter to the conventional and as a result, people often resist being early adopters. Our world requires a newfound sense of urgency among policy makers and practitioners alike. This is where you come in.

We are all of us advocates of a Living Future. Together we can – and must – push for change now. 

Our task as advocates is to inspire policy officials, utilities, community leaders and decision makers to replace regulatory barriers with leadership and implement policy initiatives that make it easier, rather than harder, for truly green building. We hope you will be a part of our global advocacy network!

Explore the links below to become involved and learn about exemplary policy that should be adopted where you are!

Around the world the Institute works with a network of change agents. Project teams inspire Living Buildings; local jurisdictions develop long-range planning in support of Living Communities; innovators design new, efficient technologies; policy makers aim to encourage healthy, sustainable buildings. Our global partners are leading the way toward a Living Future, yet they continue to face regulatory resistance.

The Institute is committed to transitioning these barriers into policy leadership, and to make this happen, we are introducing bioregional advocacy groups. Each Living Future Congress consists of experienced, influential sustainability thought leaders invited to help us identify each bioregion’s priority actions and inspire policy makers to make them happen in support of a Living Future.

We at the Institute are confident that this bioregional model will allow us to expand the reach of our global Living Future Network. It will complement local advocacy efforts while encouraging people to think beyond conventional political boundaries. Living Future Congresses began to emerge throughout North America in 2015 and will continue to launch around the world in the years ahead.

Below is additional information on Living Future Congress membership and how we work with them. Download a brochure detailing more about the Living Future Congresses.

Cascadia Congress

With our roots in the bioregion, it only made sense to launch our first LF Congress in Cascadia. The Cascadia Congress is a powerhouse of industry leadership working across Oregon, Washington, British Columbia and southern Alaska.

At the inaugural meeting in December 2014, Cascadia Congress members developed their Advocacy Agenda focused on priority policy changes and strategic leverage points. In particular, they are connecting climate action with the solutions offered by Living Buildings and Communities.

California Congress

Building on the success of the Cascadia Congress, we launched the California Congress as part of the Net Positive Conference in January 2015. This diverse group of practitioners is committed to creating policy change with real impact for Living Buildings and Communities across the state.

The California Congress Advocacy Agenda is focused on empowering net positive water, addressing energy efficiency in existing buildings, incentivizing Living Buildings and Communities and achieving healthy materials for all.

East Coast Congress

We are excited to support the East Coast Congress in galvanizing policy leadership across the urban corridor in support of Living Buildings, Communities and Products. From our launch meeting in November 2015, we have been working together with these Congress members to identify critical policy opportunities for strategic impact.

This group is focused on key leverage points to inspire market adoption of truly restorative practices at the federal, bioregional and local scales.

North Congress

We are currently working with leaders across northern Alaska and Canada to launch a LF Congress focused on inspiring policy leadership specific to the bioregion’s climate and unique challenges in support of a Living Future.

For each Living Future Congress, we are looking for senior practitioners, high-level policy makers and seasoned manufacturers, developers and non-profit partners to inspire critical policy change.

Through your work or volunteer activity, you may encounter individuals that would be valuable participants of a Living Future Congress. We encourage you to inform us of any potential recruits so that we can cultivate a positive relationship with individuals of interest.

Participation in each Congress is by staff invitation. Final determination for who sits on each Congress rests with the Institute, as does selection of Congress Co-Leaders.

For each Congress there are two Co-Leaders. These individuals work closely with Institute staff:

  • to communicate regularly with Congress members;
  • to track progress of priority advocacy actions including capturing successes; and
  • to inspire policy leadership and promote program milestones across their respective bioregion.

As leading advocates for a Living Future, all Congress members must be current Institute members and commit to a Congress term of at least two years.

It is our goal to do all we can to aid Congresses in their strategic advocacy efforts, for example through logistical coordination and regular provision of the latest information on Institute programs. Additional responsibilities are detailed in the Living Future Congress Member Volunteer Agreement.

We work with each Congress to ensure effective communications focused on policy action. On a regular basis, we host conference calls with Congress Co-Leaders who help us track and encourage ongoing advocacy efforts. Together we will explore member feedback and monitor implementation of the Congress advocacy agenda. These regular calls also serve as an opportunity to check in as a policy team on localized policy issues.

Congress Co-Leaders, in turn, will communicate regularly with members to stay on top of bioregional policy priorities and to communicate individual and collective progress. Co-Leaders will liaise with topic champions who are steering implementation of the Congress advocacy campaigns. Feedback from Congress efforts is shared with Institute staff and informs our work with volunteers, partners and funders.

Throughout the year the Institute will host 3 or 4 to reevaluate bioregional priorities, share advocacy successes, receive programmatic updates and coordinate next steps. In addition we convene all of our Congress members from across the network together at an inspirational Congress Summit during the annual unConference. This unConference Summit is a valuable opportunity to explore policy leadership across geographies, generate new ideas for advocacy campaigns and discuss lessons learned emerging from Living Building Challenge and Living Community Challenge project teams around the world.

Travel expenses for Congress meetings are the responsibility of each member. To assist member’s scheduling, we commit to setting meeting dates well in advance.

If you are interested in learning more about your bioregional Congress, email us at congress@living-future.org.

We invite you to review our collection of online tools and resources to aid our policy work around the globe. We have designed this information with our local volunteers, however we welcome everyone in our network to use it to support a Living Future, wherever you are. We will add more resources to this section as they are developed.

Advocacy Tools

We invite you to review our collection of online tools and resources to aid our policy work around the globe. We have designed this information with our local volunteers, however we welcome everyone in our network to use it to support a Living Future, wherever you are. We will add more resources to this section as they are developed.

We invite you to review our collection of online tools and resources to aid our policy work around the globe. We have designed this information with our local volunteers, however we welcome everyone in our network to use it to support a Living Future, wherever you are. We will add more resources to this section as they are developed.

Collaborative Advocacy Guidance Document 

The Collaborative Advocacy Guidance Document provides step-by-step advice and top tips developed through conversations with advocates across our network. We encourage you to use this resource in planning and delivering effective engagement for policy change.

We have also created a suite of resources that provide more detailed instructions and policy detail on key topics, such as effective strategic outreach, lobbying and building your understanding of local policy information. These advocacy resources are available for download here.

Water Policy Guide

The Water Policy Guide is an advocacy resource focused on net positive water. We know from Living Building Challenge teams that water regulations make it difficult for projects to utilize resilient, integrated systems. Thanks to the generous support of The Kresge Foundation, this document includes our assessment of existing regulations in the United States, highlights current policy precedents and calls for 3 critical policy changes. We hope to continue this research across our global network to ensure that all water is used and re-used as a precious resource in all of our buildings and communities.

Case Studies

Though designing a net positive water system can be complicated, it’s the permitting of the system that is often the most challenging aspect for project teams. These five water policy case studies document the regulatory successes achieved by several project teams and regulators around the country. Their accomplishments are crucial steps forward in the story of restorative integrated water management. Their lessons learned can assist future projects in their own regulatory partnerships.

Transforming policy will take a team of us working together to engage and influence regulators, policy makers, industry representatives and community partners.

We encourage you to join the advocacy movement:

Thank you for joining this global advocacy movement and helping us launch a new era of living policy leadership!
For more information, contact us on advocacy@living-future.org.