Stride Treglown has announced it has successfully achieved B Corporation (B Corp) certification. The practice is the second and largest UK architect and one of only a handful of firms in the UK built environment sector to join the B Corp community, earning a place alongside brands such as Patagonia, Innocent and Igloo Regeneration.

Certified B corporations are businesses that meet the highest standard of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. Stride Treglown believes the B Corp standards are an ideal fit with its existing culture and operations whilst providing a framework for improvement in the coming years.

Describing the six-month assessment process as “challenging and rigorous” the team at Stride Treglown has had every aspect of the business scrutinised and scored – from staff support programmes and the social and environmental impact of its offices to customer and supply chain processes. And it hasn’t always been comfortable.

“We’ve always prided ourselves on being ethical and responsible as a practice, looking after our staff and designing in a responsible, human-centric way,” says Pierre Wassenaar, the Board Director at Stride Treglown who led the process.

“This was an incredibly detailed assessment of every aspect of what we do and threw up a few surprises. But the whole point of going through the accreditation process isn’t to pat ourselves on the back, but to highlight the areas where we can be doing better – then make a plan to address those.”

Stride Treglown believes that the principles behind the B Corp movement are critical to the future success not just of the practice, but of the whole built environment sector.

“The buzzword of the moment is “recovery” and we have an extraordinary opportunity to rebuild our economy and society in a more ethical and sustainable way,” Chairman David Hunter comments. “The need to balance the demands of people, planet and profit have never been more urgent against the backdrop of a world in the midst of a pandemic and an ever-increasing climate emergency.

“Whilst the industry has been taking steps in various areas, from environmental initiatives to diversity, and conversations about social value, we need to bring all these together and embed them into how we all run our businesses and how we work together to tackle the enormous challenges of the coming years.

One aspect that excites Stride Treglown most is the collaborative side of being a B Corp; certified businesses are encouraged to look at ways to work together and the team is looking forward to an ideas exchange with the other built environment B Corps.

“It’s not charity, it’s better business”, says Wassenaar. “Clients are going to need to demonstrate that their supply chains have attained certifiable levels of social and environmental performance. So this helps them”.

The B Corp movement – which is overseen by the B Lab Global network – was founded in the US in 2006. The first B Corps in the UK were announced in 2015 since which time more than 450 companies from across all sectors of business have gained certification. The UK is the fastest growing B Corp community in the world with a combined revenue of more than £4.3 billion. Other B Corps  from the UK built environment sector include architects Kennedy Woods architects Igloo Regeneration, FORE Partnership, Planit I.E, WWA, Urban Foundry, Sero Homes and Joseph Homes.

The movement is underpinned by the belief that society’s most challenging problems cannot be solved by government and non-profits alone. By harnessing the power of business, B Corps use profits and growth to a greater end: positive impact for their employees, communities, and the environment.

Commenting on Stride Treglown’s certification, Kate Sandle, Director of Programmes and Engagement of B Lab UK, says “We are delighted to welcome Stride Treglown to the B Corp community. This is a movement of companies who are committed to changing how business operates, who believe business really can be a force for good.

“We are pleased to have B Corps of all shapes and sizes as part of our community – from start-ups to multinationals, and across many different industries. Business is a powerful force, and one that – as these companies are showing – can be used for good. Welcoming Stride Treglown is an exciting moment because they have an opportunity to lead the way within architecture and wider built environment sector in the UK.

“Their commitment to doing business differently will be an inspiration to others and really help spread the idea that we can redefine success in business to be as much about people and planet as it is about profit”.