SERA’s 2020 Sustainability Action Plan is Live!

Although nature doesn’t need an action plan to thrive, we’ve found that having a framework to articulate our vision and set a course of action, helps keep us vital. In 2011, SERA created its first Sustainability Action Plan, and we’re excited to announce the launch of our fourth update.

Because sustainability plays such a central role in the culture of SERA, we’ve always taken a vigorous approach to mapping out our holistic vision and strategies. Our current update, which was published just prior to our annual Sustainable Action Celebration, continues that approach. We’ve refreshed our guiding principles, laid out new strategies, and added our most recent project work. The effort captures not only data from dozens of projects over the years, but tells the story of our work and operations efforts along the way.

What’s New

♦ More complete thinking about the climate impacts of our work — including carbon embodied in building materials (in addition to operational carbon)
♦ Emphasis on social sustainability and equity, including transparency about our operations through the JUST label, our new DEI Committee, mentorship, and projects for non-profit clients, and
♦ An update to our integrated process of design and analysis that includes our new Project Charter and Project Compass.

Project Compass

We developed the original SERA Project Compass in 2017 as a design tool to guide goal-setting and decision-making through the lifecycle of a project — all in one, easy-to-read graphic. Updated for 2020, the Compass offers a more robust look into a project’s health, sustainability and resiliency measures.

An example of SERA’s Project Compass

By tracking these measures in one place, we can instantly see how a project is performing, and areas where we can make the biggest impact as designers. In the example above, the length of the colored bars communicates the highest priorities and issues to address most aggressively.

We find this format is flexible and allow each project team to customize the content for their needs and priorities.

As we’ve grown and evolved, we’ve found the on-going process of updating our Sustainability Action Plan to be valuable to the health of our organization. Sustainability is a cultural cornerstone of our work and this effort is key to understanding our climate impact and advancing our efforts year after year!


  1. Congrats to SAC on another inspiring update to SERA’s Sustainability Action Plan! I’m especially excited to see a greater focus on social equity – treating SERA’s employee-owners fairly, while we strive to be good neighbors and community members.

    • Mark Perepelitza says |

      Thanks Kate! I really enjoy working with our staff on this – they are so passionate and committed to these topics (not to mention smart!)

  2. Pingback: A Compass for Sustainability – Streetsblog USA – Resortaddiction

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