Architects Stride Treglown latest Bristol firm to gain B Corp status

March 2, 2021

Bristol-headquartered Stride Treglown has become the first top 100 UK architecture firm to gain a B Corp certification, reflecting its commitment to people and planet over profit.

The firm, which is employee-owned and has 300 staff across its eight offices, said the “challenging and rigorous” six-month assessment process to gain the coveted status forced it to take “a deep breath” on everything it does. 

B Corp businesses must meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency and legal accountability while aspiring to use the power of markets to solve social and environmental problems.

Stride Treglown is now the 15th Bristol business to gain B Corp certification, making the city second only to London for accreditation numbers and reflecting its standing as a hub for businesses with purpose.

The practice, which was launched in 1953 by architects Ray Stride and Gerry Treglown, is also one of only a handful of firms in the UK-built environment sector to pass the B Corp assessment.

A Stride Treglown spokesman said: “Since we became an employee-owned organisation, we’d been seeking a tool that would help us to measure how we are doing socially and environmentally.

“The B Corp process forced us to take a deep breath on everything we do. 

“The six-month assessment process was challenging and rigorous, with every aspect of our business scrutinised and scored – from staff support programmes and the social and environmental impact of our offices to customer and supply chain processes. 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.

“The incredibly detailed assessment did throw 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.”

Director Pierre Wassenaar, who led the process, added: “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.

“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.

“While 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.”

The B Corps movement was founded in the US in 2006 and the UK community now has more than 460 companies with a combined revenue of more than £4.3bn. 

Stride Treglown’s recent Bristol projects include the £70m Institute for Advanced Automotive Propulsion Systems (IAAPS) now nearing completion on the Bristol & Bath Science Park, the refurbishment of 1930s Eagle House in the city centre into a new head office for Immediate Media, pictured above, the landmark Filwood Green Business Park in South Bristol, pictured right, and the £5m conversion of Grade II-listed fire station in central Bristol into a youth centre with performance area and café.

Other Bristol B Corp businesses include PR firms Greenhouse and Wild West specialist energy investment company Thrive Renewables, tea brand Pukka Herbs and financial planning firm Paradigm Norton.

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