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Discussions on Ethics must be structured

In 2008 Henning Larsen Architects (HLA) signed the 10 principles of the UN Global Compact. On this occasion the company invited Mads Øvlisen, then member of the Global Compact board, to an internal seminar, where the assignment was to establish focus areas of how the architectural company could support Global Compact’s 10 principles.

The seminar concluded that sustainable construction should be HLA’s primary effort, since architects here have great impact and thus the possibility to influence the surrounding society.

Subsequently, HLA has trained an industrial PhD and published several profession books within sustainable construction just as a range of the architect company’s reputational constructions have been certified according to the acknowledged certifications LEED, DGNB, etc.

Farid Fellah, Head of Communications, has for many years advocated that the industry not only should be focused on sustainable construction, but also be more specific concerning the architect’s social responsibility. In other words, how architects can influence the constructions they design in proportion to how the constructions come into being, and how the materials, which form a part of the constructions are produced. HLA experienced how the granite, which was used for pavement surrounding The Opera at Holmen, which the A.P. Møller Foundation built and HLA designed, made negative headlines in the daily press, because the granite came from China, which in some quarries make use of child labour.

Farid Fellah wishes to create a systematic procedure of how HLA hedges the constructions that the architectural company is involved with. Thus, the architectural company decided to enter cooperation with i.a. the industry association DANSKE ARK and two other architectural companies to develop a tool for the architect industry to handle social responsibility.

Farid Fellah emphasises that this tool can contribute to systematise the internal processes and discussions on ethics.

Especially the part of the tool that enables us to systematically analyse our new developers is important in a company like HLA who takes pride in working for Danish architecture globally,

says Farid Fellah, hoping that the tool will be used by the entire industry.