“We balance purpose & profit” say first surveyors to become a B Corp business

Photo shows: Thames Valley Hospice in development
Thames hospice, Ward Williams Associates

One of the UK’s largest independent property and construction consultancies has become the world’s first Chartered Surveyors to certify as a B Corporation, with a score that places it in the top ten per cent of all B Corps in the UK.

Ward Williams Associates (WWA) has six UK offices, including in Gloucester, employing more than 100 staff, and is growing. Diverse and iconic projects include The Wave in Bristol, The Box museum and gallery in Plymouth and the new Thames Hospice in Windsor.

Earlier this month WWA announced that it is working with client Robert Hitchin’s Ltd, on a new primary school in Stonehouse, Gloucestershire. The Great Oldbury Primary Academy will be constructed on land next to Oldends to provide a local school for the planned development of 1,350 new homes in the town.

 

Certified B Corps are a new kind of business that balances purpose and profit. They are legally required to consider the impact of their decisions on their workers, customers, suppliers, community, and the environment. They aim to build a global movement of people using businesses as a force for good.

Other companies across the region which are B Corp certified include organic baby and toddler food manufacturer, Ella’s Kitchen, which is based in Henley on Thames and Theale, Berkshire-based Cotswold Fayre, a  speciality and fine food wholesale distributor,

Now WWA is using the COVID recovery to issue a challenge to all in the construction sector to step up and join them. “Together we can ensure that we truly build a world where social gain and environmental performance sit alongside the traditional financial bottom line. All three should be balanced and feed into each other,” the company said.

Any business in the world can strive to become a B Corp; only 3,000 businesses globally can claim to be certified, just nine per cent of which are based in the UK. Major international names such as Danone, Patagonia, Ben & Jerry’s and Triodos Bank are certified as B Corp.

Senior Partner Andy Snapes, said: “We are in this for the long term, creating a business for the future of our people, our clients and our communities. Collaboration is key, and our role is to challenge ourselves and encourage everyone we work with to improve their impact on the triple bottom line.”

He added: “A common misconception is that sustainable development is more expensive, but this is simply not the case in the context of the future.  We are all finally waking up to the fact that we need an increasingly sustainable approach to tackle known environmental, economic and social issues. We are seizing this moment as an opportunity for both growth and behavioural change.  We have to admit to ourselves that being less bad is not good enough.

“With construction touching virtually every aspect of our lives, it arguably has the biggest cultural, ecological and commercial impact on the places where we live, work, learn, care, play and travel. This is a crucial moment for our sector, which has a great opportunity to be a transformational influence.”

Kate Sandle, Director of Programmes and Engagement at B Lab UK (the UK charity that awards B Corp certification) shares: “We are really pleased that WWA chose to lead its sector and certify as a B Corp, joining thousands of B Corps across the world. WWA’s commitment to doing business differently will be an inspiration to others and a welcome addition to the community of companies who are committed to using business as a force for good.”

Joanna Lindon, Associate Director at the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) congratulated WWA: “As the first Chartered Surveyors in the world to achieve the B Corp certification, WWA is demonstrating the highest standards of financial, environmental and social principles. This comes at a time when our “Value the Planet” campaign is shining a light on the critical role of the surveying profession in leading the way to build back better to transform society for the better in the recovery from Covid-19.”