In Practice; Celebrating B-Corp Certification

Published on 30th January 2023 by Ben Simpson-Munro

"Architecture has to be greater than just architecture. It has to address social values, as well as technical and aesthetic values. On top of that, the one true gift that an architect has is his or her imagination. We take something ordinary and elevate it to something extraordinary." Samuel Mockbee

Last this week we gained our B-Corp Certification an announcement we have been long awaiting. On gaining our certification we thought we’d tell you why we chose B Corp and reflect on our journey.

Why B Corp?

We saw B Corp as a way of celebrating the social and ethical values that are important to us as a creative studio. Recognising the benefit of becoming part of a like-minded community. Celebrating the areas where we are doing well and identifying those where we can evolve and improve.  Reassessed every 3 years, it means it is an active process rather than a, ‘get and forget’, accreditation.

The B Corp movement was founded to change our economic system, transforming the global economy to benefit all people, communities, and the planet. Simply put, certified B Corp’s are companies committed to prioritising the environment and society in the way they do business. With currently more than 5,900 B Corp companies worldwide, including more than 1,000 in the UK. As a practice with people and the environment at the forefront, B Corp allowed us to demonstrate that we practice what we preach.

With our successful certification this month we are proud to have become one of only a dozen or so UK-based architects who have become certified B Corp. Making us part of a very select group with the likes of Haworth Tompkins, Kast Architects, Stride Treglown and Bennetts Associates.

The Process

An independent assessment of social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability. This ensures we hold the highest standards and raises areas for advancement. The certification process is rigorous. It considers the wider impact that a business can make on society, the environment and the economy. The process is an advocate for employee well-being and development and encourages businesses to grow sustainably.

The mainstay of the certification process is undertaking the B Impact Assessment (BIA) which is a comprehensive review of the business to enable measurement of the company’s impact on the world around them. The mean score of businesses who undertake the B Impact Assessment is 55 which does not meet the required 80 points for certification as a B Corp.

While we achieved a score of 88, exceeding the required 80 points for certification. We know there are still areas where we can improve over the three years between now and our recertification in 2026. We will continually review and measure our performance in all areas of the business, taking on board that the assessment is a continually developing process which will get tougher over time to consider our evolving world. This can only be positive, encouraging us to strive to do better for the economy, environment, and wider society.

What it means for the practice

Certified B Corporations® are for-profit companies that use the power of business to build a more inclusive and sustainable economy. There are many sustainability certifications out there. And initially, we found it confusing to understand which ones offer genuine value to society. However, B Corp is the only certification process that measures a company’s entire social and environmental performance. We at PAD studio are very proud to have met this benchmark.

PAD studio has been a sustainability and people focussed business from our conception, and our Commitment as a creative studio; to Question, Respect and Celebrate, guides everything we do. Our success at becoming a B Corp is a validation of this. We hope that it will encourage more architects, and businesses in the construction industry with our shared values to join us. Championing more sustainable and transparent business practices for the benefit of everyone.

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