A Cornish architectural practice has joined the ethical B Corp movement proving their commitment to the highest standards of social and environmental impact.

The St Ives based practice, Poynton Bradbury Wynter Cole, achieved an overall impact score of 120.3, making it the fifth highest scoring employee-owned architecture firm in the UK.

The B Corp certification assessed the company’s social and environmental impact, and the quality of its services.

PBWC director Chris Turner said: “Certification wasn’t an easy task. It took our team eight months to achieve, going through a thorough points-based assessment and verification process that looked in detail at our company’s practices and outputs across five distinct categories of impact: governance, workers, community, environment, and customers.”

Established in 1973 as part of the community architecture movement, PBWC has always been dedicated to social value and environmentally responsive design and is now one of the South West’s largest practices.

The practice’s decision to become a certified B Corp reinforces their long-term commitment to a positive future for their employees, clients, and the communities in which they work.

PBWC director Chris Turner

Chris explained: “Since becoming employee-owned in 2019, we have been looking for better ways to measure our environmental and social impact, and becoming a certified B Corp has forced us to do a deep dive into everything we do.”

He continued: “Becoming certified is the first step on our journey of continuous improvement, putting people and the environment first, and using our business as a force for good.”

B Corp Certification is achieved when businesses meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose.

According to PBWC, there is ‘often a misalignment between some architects’ sustainability and social value performance on projects and their treatment of staff, and it’s fair to say this is a serious blind spot for our industry’.

Chris stressed: “We have always believed in the importance of staff health and wellbeing. I’m proud of the great initiatives we have introduced to improve work and home life balance as well as accommodate the different needs of our team. We must be the change we seek in the industry.”

PBWC also highlighted the importance of demonstrating high levels of social and environmental performance for their clients, saying that transparency and accountability are ‘key to building trust within our industry’.

Chris added: “With the rising prevalence of greenwashing across all industries we felt we needed a way for our clients, suppliers, and communities to hold us to account.”

The practice will undergo a recertification process every three years to update its impact assessment, with the intent to recertify as a B Corp.