B Corp Month: We Go Beyond at WWA

B Corp Month: We Go Beyond at WWA

Today is the first day of B-Corp Month and the launch of this year’s campaign – ‘We Go Beyond’. B-Corp Month is an opportunity for all B-Certified businesses to share with the world how they are using business as a force for good and what they are doing to transform the economic system to be equitable, inclusive, and regenerative. It is a time to collaborate, support and share best practice with fellow businesses who ‘go beyond business as usual’.

Throughout the month, we’ll be celebrating the B-Corp movement and sharing what it means to be a B-Corp, WWA’s journey and offering an insight into what being a B-Corp in the Built Environment means. 

To kick off B-Corp month, let’s start by explaining what it all means…

A B-Corp (short for Benefit Corporation) is a for-profit business that prioritises people and the environment. B-Corps challenge traditional business practices by focusing their power to positively influence people and planet, not just make a profit. By becoming a B-Corp, the entire social and environmental performance of a business is measured and transparent.

Currently, there are over 1,100 B-Corps in the UK across 58 different industries. Only 3% of these are construction-related businesses. In a sector that contributes an estimated 39% of the world’s carbon emissions, it is crucial that we take responsibility for driving the number of emissions down and the number of purpose-driven businesses up. B-Corp values of public transparency and environmental and social responsibility align with doing just that. 

To qualify as a B-Corp, a B-Certification is awarded by B-Lab. B-Lab is a non-profit network who create frameworks, policies and standards that aim to collectively address the most crucial challenges society faces. The B-Certification measures the entire environmental and social performance of a business by unpicking the impact of areas – community, workers, environment, governance, and customers – with over 200 questions. This is referred to as the B-Corp Impact Assessment (BIA). If the overall BIA scores 80 or above, you can become certified. Every B-Corp’s Impact Report scores are publicly available online, making all information transparent and permitting accountability.  

In June 2020, WWA first certified as a B-Corporation and achieved a whopping 135.5 points on the impact assessment – smashing the 80-score benchmark. Positive impact is intrinsic to WWA where People, Places and Planet were the guiding principles for all decision-making, even prior to certification. Where Sustainability lacks clarity and is often subjective in definition, the impact score provides WWA, and other B-Corps with an objective metric to measure progress in all areas that support sustainable development.

Every B Corp business must reapply for certification every three years. WWA are currently recertifying for June 2023 and have used the BIA as a tool to identify areas to improve and develop. This process has helped us become more self-aware, creating an opportunity to make significant changes.

Since certifying, WWA has received recognition and praise for having positive impact. In 2021 and 2022, B-Lab presented ‘Best for the World’ in the workers theme, placing the business amongst the top 5% globally in their corresponding size group. This is attributed to our teams benefits of flexible working, our Futures programme, and our commitment to supporting the next generation.

On the 3rd of March 2023, WWA will be presented the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the category of Sustainable Development. This is one of the most prestigious awards, granted for outstanding achievement in Sustainable Development and we’re extremely proud to receive it. On Friday, the Lord-Lieutenant of Cornwall will present WWA with the Sustainable Development Award at the Hall for Cornwall, marking WWA’s achievements around sustainability in the Construction Sector. WWA teams unable to join us on the day will be able to watch a live stream of the event in their offices and will receive a complimentary cream tea to celebrate! Friday is also National Employee Appreciation Day, where the teams will be celebrated in different ways over the week…

Being recognised for the impact of our activities so far is a tremendous privilege, but it does not deter us from bettering ourselves and improving. We recognise that the Construction Sector needs to change, and we know that what we do is not perfect. Being a B-Corp is about sharing your knowledge, expanding that knowledge, and encouraging one another to be the best that we can be, taking responsibility and having accountability for all actions good or bad. We hope to inspire others and share our knowledge with fellow businesses in the Construction Sector, B-Corp or not, helping them transition towards ‘better business.’

Businesses need to support and learn from one another to make impactful decisions to better support the world we live in. Competitive advantage is no longer about profit, it is about the relationships that are built, and the support we exchange.

Over the next few weeks, we will be sharing more about how ‘We Go Beyond’. WWA are passionate about shifting the sector towards greater collaboration to solve the complexities of sustainability in construction. Our B-Corp journey is only getting started.

Yasmine Know, B Corp Assistant at WWA