NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The International WELL Building Institute (IWBI), the global authority on how we can use our buildings and communities to advance the health and well-being of the people inside, announced today that it has crossed the one billion square foot mark of spaces enrolled in the WELL Health-Safety Rating. Achieved in just nine months, the milestone signals accelerated global adoption of strategies that use our buildings as frontline caregivers in the immediate battle against COVID-19 and helps companies move toward a long-term commitment to healthier places.
“We launched the WELL Health-Safety Rating in June 2020 in response to an overwhelming need by our customers for practical, evidence-based strategies that could be quickly deployed to help people get back to business with confidence,” said IWBI president and CEO Rachel Hodgdon. “Leaders in organizations big and small want effective ways to validate the – often huge – commitments they’ve made to prioritize the health and well-being of workers and visitors to their spaces,” said Hodgdon. “The WELL Health-Safety Rating does just that.”
Organizations currently enrolled in the WELL Health-Safety Rating span all industries and building types, signaling the rating’s substantial impact across sectors. Companies participating include financial service leaders like JPMorgan Chase and Discover; insurance companies like USAA; telecommunications giants like T-Mobile; real estate organizations like Empire State Realty Trust, Kilroy Realty, Lincoln Property Company, and Simon Property Group; and school districts like Upper St. Clair in Pennsylvania and Fairfax County in Virginia. Cultural institutions and non-profits have also enrolled, including the Children’s Museum of Cleveland, Phipps Conservatory, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, and Girls Incorporated of Omaha. Other market sectors enrolling include restaurants, manufacturing and senior living.
“We are proud to be the first global financial institution to achieve the WELL rating,” said David Arena, head of Global Real Estate at JPMorgan Chase. “With building health and air quality standards top of mind as the COVID pandemic continues, we wanted anyone entering one of our buildings or branches to see the WELL seal and know we’re doing all we can to keep our employees and visitors safe and healthy.”
IWBI launched the WELL Health-Safety Rating in June 2020, leveraging its existing expertise and feedback from the 600-member IWBI Taskforce on COVID-19. Drawing on a subset of features from the WELL Building Standard (WELL), the WELL Health-Safety Rating is an evidence-based, third-party verified rating for all new and existing buildings and space types. It is focused on operational policies, maintenance protocols, emergency plans and stakeholder engagement strategies to help organizations prioritize the health and safety of their staff, customers, visitors and stakeholders.
“Receiving the WELL Health-Safety Rating just underscores T-Mobile’s commitment to putting our customers, employees and partners first and going above and beyond to protect their health and wellness when they visit our stores or come into work – and we’re proud to be the first and only wireless provider,” said Jeremy Malasky, Senior Vice President of Corporate Services for T-Mobile. “Simply seeing the WELL seal at any of our retail stores, offices and call centers will help people feel confident that T-Mobile is taking precautions to keep them safe – and bring us all another step closer to emerging from this pandemic to our normal way of life.”
Nearly two dozen sports venues and organizations, including the New York Yankees, Tampa Bay Lightning, and the Cleveland Cavaliers, see the rating as a way to give fans and players alike confidence that their health and safety are top of mind as we slowly get back to cheering on our favorite teams.
"We initiated our partnership with IWBI at a time when we needed specific COVID-19-related guidance regarding best practices in the field of building health and safety," said New York Yankees Senior Vice President of Stadium Operations Doug Behar. "Working to achieve the WELL Health-Safety Rating allowed us to focus on established protocols designed specifically for large scale buildings like ours that can receive tens of thousands of visitors on a given day. Additionally, IWBI provided direction for our office areas and smaller communal spaces so we could provide our day-to-day employees, field staff and players with scientifically based preventative measures against a wide variety of pathogens beyond COVID-19. We are better as an organization for having gone through this third-party verification, and we are excited to utilize WELL Health-Safety guidelines as we welcome fans back to Yankee Stadium in 2021."
With the hotel and lodging and sports and entertainment industries taking an outsized hit in the pandemic economy, IWBI created two industry-specific advisory groups made up of the leading companies and organizations in these sectors to help make sure their unique needs were addressed by the rating. Hospitality leaders including Aimbridge Hospitality, among others, have led the way in enrollments to date in the hotel and lodging space.
“Aimbridge Hospitality is proud to be an early hotel partner with IWBI for the WELL Health-Safety Rating program,” said Elie Khoury, Executive Vice President of Operations for Aimbridge Hospitality. “We are pleased to continue enrolling our properties in the program as well as serve on the advisory group. Our industry has been particularly hard-hit by the pandemic. This program has given us a comprehensive guide to standards, and as a means to increase hotel guests’ and event attendees’ confidence, that we will continue to use long after the pandemic is over.”
“The WELL Health-Safety seal is attracting significant interest partly because it provides a visible trust mark that helps deliver the confidence needed as people transition to some level of ‘normal’ when the time is right,” said Paul Scialla, founder of the International WELL Building Institute and founder and CEO of Delos. “To that end, IWBI has invested in a high-profile consumer ad campaign that has made it easier for businesses to share their achievements far and wide.”
“We’re proud of the fact that companies of all sizes are finding that the WELL Health-Safety Rating is proving to be an important part of their response to COVID-19 and the health and safety issues that will inevitably arise in the future,” said Hodgdon. “It’s even more exciting to see many of these organizations use the rating as a stepping stone to full WELL Certification or enrollment in the WELL Portfolio program. Organizations continue to enroll about two million square feet a day across all WELL offerings.”
About the International WELL Building Institute
The International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) is a public benefit corporation and the world’s leading organization focused on deploying people first places to advance a global culture of health. A wholly owned subsidiary of Delos, IWBI mobilizes its community through the administration of the WELL Building Standard (WELL) and the WELL Health-Safety Rating, management of the WELL AP credential, the pursuit of applicable research, the development of educational resources, and advocacy for policies that promote health and well-being everywhere. More information on WELL can be found here.
International WELL Building Institute pbc is a wholly owned subsidiary of Delos Living LLC. International WELL Building Institute, IWBI, the WELL Building Standard, WELL v2, WELL Certified, WELL AP, WELL Portfolio, WELL Portfolio Score, The WELL Conference, We Are WELL, the WELL Community Standard, WELL Health-Safety Rating, WELL Health-Safety Rated, WELL Health-Equity, WELL and others, and their related logos are trademarks or certification marks of International WELL Building Institute in the United States and other countries.