Global Market Adoption of WELL Surges: More Than 5 Billion Square Feet of Space Now Uses the World’s Leading Standard for Healthy Buildings and Healthy Organizations

Demand for WELL intensifies worldwide as organizations increasingly recognize the need to demonstrate health leadership, improve ESG performance and bolster resilience in the face of climate change.
Feb 22, 2024 9:25 AM ET

NEW YORK, February 22, 2024 /3BL/ -The International WELL Building Institute (IWBI), the global authority on advancing healthy buildings, organizations and communities, announced today a landmark achievement: the WELL Building Standard (WELL) is now being used across more than 5 billion square feet of space in 130 countries, signaling its rapid and widespread adoption as the leading healthy building standard in the world. WELL, which is also used by over 150 companies from the Fortune and Global 500, now helps support the health and well-being of an estimated 25 million people in nearly 74,000 commercial and residential locations around the world.

“WELL is empowering organizations everywhere to adopt a robust framework that fosters the health of their greatest asset, their people. WELL helps them improve employee well-being and performance, enhance recruitment and retention, strengthen their ESG strategy and improve outcomes related to diversity, equity and inclusion,” said Rachel Hodgdon, President and CEO, IWBI. “At the same time, WELL is supporting health resilience against climate change or other unforeseen circumstances. This past year, amid the backdrop of mounting health impacts due to heat waves, flooding, water scarcity and other extreme weather events, the imperative for health in all of our buildings has reached critical levels. We’re seeing more and more market leaders deploy WELL as an essential solution to fortify for health, laying the foundation for stronger, more resilient organizations.”

Since the launch of WELL in 2014, thousands of organizations have adopted WELL as an evidence-based roadmap for applying health strategies in their locations or across their organizations. Major companies and brands that are engaging with WELL include, among others, Accenture, American Express, Arup, Barclays, Beijing Guomao, Bloomberg, British Land, Brookfield, CapitaLand Group, CBRE, CIBC, Cisco, Citi, Clifford Chance, COIMA, Colliers, Cundall, Cushman & Wakefield, Deloitte, Dubai Police, Edge Technologies, Empire State Realty Trust, Enel, Estee Lauder, EY, Goldman Sachs, GSK, Hines, Honeywell, HSBC, IBM, JLL, Johnson Controls, JPMorgan Chase & Co, Landsec, Lendlease, LinkedIn, Mastercard, Merck, MillerKnoll, Milliken & Company, Museum of the Future, National University of Singapore, Nucleus Office Parks, PwC, Royal Bank of Canada, RXR, Shaw, Shearman & Sterling, Standard Chartered Bank, Starbucks, Sunrise Senior Living, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Taipei 101, T-Mobile,T-Mobile, Teknion, The Crown Estate, The UAE Prime Minister’s Office, Uber and Unilever.

This major WELL milestone also reflects the rising global focus on workforce well-being and deploying efforts to boost employee recruitment, retention and productivity. WELL has seen rapid adoption across nearly every sector, including financial services, building design and construction (AECD), real estate (including retail and residential), healthcare, hospitality, education, energy and utility, manufacturing, transportation, professional services, sports and entertainment, and the public and non-profit sectors. WELL adoption also saw a significant increase in its global presence in every region of the world.

In January, in response to the growing need for healthy homes, IWBI added to its WELL ecosystem the WELL for residential pilot program, an evidence-based, third-party verified certification designed to transform the way our homes are designed, built and maintained to support human health and well-being. The program was launched with 25 pilot participants from 10 countries and more than 30,000 enrolled homes.

“We also recognize that this milestone is very much a shared accomplishment,” added Hodgdon. “Reaching this moment is a testament to our vast WELL community, an incredible group of dedicated experts fighting for a future where all of our buildings support and enhance our health and well-being.

“To our 200-plus member organizations, our more than 13,000 WELL APs, over 30 WELL EPs and all our other WELL champions who join with us every day, we extend our deepest gratitude to you for your vision, leadership and indefatigable spirit.” Hodgdon also noted that the newly launched Works with WELL directory is becoming a practical platform empowering global WELL users with access to products and service solutions that have been verified to support WELL strategies.

WELL is the leading global framework for scaling health across buildings, organizations and communities. Developed over 10 years and backed by the latest scientific research, WELL outlines key building-level interventions and organizational strategies across 10 categories: Air, Water, Nourishment, Light, Movement, Thermal Comfort, Sound, Materials, Mind and Community.

The WELL ecosystem, which comprises WELL Certification, the WELL Health-Safety Rating, the WELL Performance Rating, the WELL Equity Rating, the WELL Community Standard and the WELL for residential pilot, has been adopted by organizations seeking to prioritize human health and well-being. WELL’s holistic, evidence-based approach has provided a roadmap for organizations to promote human and social capital performance and enhance their ESG strategy. As a result, leading companies are making decisions to use WELL at scale, extending the benefits of WELL across their entire organizations or real estate portfolios.

“WELL is now supporting thousands of organizations around the world, demonstrating its role as a highly trusted and widely-used standard for healthy buildings and healthy organizations,” said Prateek Khanna, COO, IWBI. “It’s humbling to know that, across multiple sectors and regions of the world, WELL is helping influence positive health outcomes for tens of millions of people.”

Looking forward, WELL is poised for even faster adoption, bolstered by signature partnerships, global policy advancements and an increased focus on social sustainability.

This past spring, as part of IWBI’s deeper strategic partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), the two organizations developed a streamlined review and documentation process for projects pursuing LEED and WELL certifications simultaneously. Just months after introducing the streamlined LEED and WELL pathway, nearly 350 projects representing over 80 million square feet of space in 38 countries have opted in to use this pathway. “The collaboration between USGBC and IWBI is imperative to confront today’s challenges and shape a future that will benefit generations to come,” said Peter Templeton, President & CEO of USGBC and Green Business Certification Inc (GBCI).

In addition, last autumn, major public health leaders, led by six former U.S. Surgeons General, rallied around the importance of accelerating healthy buildings. In an effort to shift the paradigm of building policy, Rachel Hodgdon of IWBI, along with 11 other renowned leaders from many of the country’s top public health organizations, sent an open letter to policymakers urging significant change in how buildings and indoor environments are perceived—from mere structures to critical levers for public health. The sign-on letter drew attention to an often-overlooked policy opportunity—reimagining the nation’s buildings as a prescription for health. The letter outlined compelling evidence showing the outsized role buildings can play to enhance health outcomes, prevent disease and boost economic productivity, not only in the U.S. but around the world.

“From a health policy perspective, we have a huge opportunity to accelerate healthy building best practices and make sure all our places and spaces are better positioned to help protect and promote human health,” said Dr. Joycelyn Elders, 15th Surgeon General of the United States. “But it starts with rethinking how we craft building policy at all levels of government, which is made especially urgent in the face of escalating health threats posed by climate change.”

Social sustainability is also taking root as investors and regulators look harder at non-financial performance indicators to better understand risk and uncover growth opportunities. With a much sharper focus on the social pillar or the “S” in ESG, organizations are leveraging WELL to incorporate health considerations into various stages of their social sustainability or ESG strategy. Beyond formal reporting, WELL has also been included in over 200 ESG, CSR and sustainability reports since 2018.

Late last year, IWBI announced a strategic partnership with GRESB, the global ESG benchmark for real estate and infrastructure, committing to an ambitious effort to accelerate social sustainability by improving reporting and disclosure capabilities across key social factors. “Through the rapid global adoption of the WELL Building Standard, the world’s leading standard focused on advancing people’s health and well-being, IWBI is at the vanguard of helping organizations around the world deliver on strategies to strengthen social sustainability,” said Chris Pyke, Chief Innovation Officer, GRESB. “Our new partnership will allow us to create new tools to help investors understand and advance the social sustainability of real asset companies and funds around the world.”

“With so many global trends pointing to the need for an even greater focus on human health, WELL has become the market’s most-trusted standard for healthy buildings, setting the bar for industry and spurring rapid enterprise adoption,” said Paul Scialla, Founder of IWBI. “Reaching this 5-billion-square-feet milestone with such incredible speed, WELL stands as the unparalleled driver of market transformation, igniting leadership and innovation in health.”

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. IWBI mobilizes its community through the administration of the WELL Building Standard (WELL) and WELL ratings and certifications, 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, IWBI, the WELL Building Standard, WELL v2, WELL Certified, WELL AP, WELL EP, WELL Score, The WELL Conference, We Are WELL, the WELL Community Standard, WELL Health-Safety Rated, WELL Performance Rated, WELL Equity Rated, WELL Equity, WELL Residence, Works with WELL, WELL and others, and their related logos are trademarks or certification marks of International WELL Building Institute pbc in the United States and other countries.

Media Contact:

View original content here.