A purpose-driven journey with B Corp

Gary Chandler, CEO of Fourfront Group company Area, which is renowned for crafting innovative workplaces across the UK and Europe, discusses purpose, the transformative impact of B Corp certification and the tangible benefits for clients and employees alike

Fourfront Group London Bridge © Henry Woide 0984
Why is purpose so important to Area?

Purpose is the guiding force behind Area’s journey. Over the years, we’ve undertaken a number of positive initiatives without a cohesive narrative to share our story. Our B Corp certification provided us with the framework to articulate our efforts in ESG, encompassing how we support our people and clients – and so much more. It’s about embodying responsible business practices that align with our core values. 

Our B Corp certification has become a moral compass for us, influencing every conversation and decision. It’s not just an accreditation, it’s a methodology that allows us to scrutinise our business holistically. The engagement of our team – all 25 of our ‘B Keepers’ from across the group – emphasises the importance of a collective approach.

Has the business changed as a result of B Corp certification?

Absolutely. The certification gave us the confidence to acknowledge that we were already doing many things well. B Corp is a tool for evaluating our business in various domains, as well as fostering a cultural shift. It has prompted the appointment of a head of sustainability for the group – a newly created position. 

Unlike some traditional certifications that may have a tendency to gather dust, B Corp lives and breathes within our business. The ongoing gap analysis in different sections of our impact assessment pushes us to ask, how can we do better? It has also sparked initiatives that go beyond a static evaluation, including addressing our scope one, two and three CO2e emissions – targets that have been verified by the science-based targets initiative (SBTi).

Our clients are increasingly interested in the environmental aspects of projects, demonstrating that our commitment is influencing the industry discourse

Do your clients and employees see a benefit?

We actively engage our clients on this journey and our commitments appear to resonate, as signified by a shift in client conversations. Our clients are increasingly interested in the environmental aspects of projects, demonstrating that our commitment is influencing the industry discourse. B Corp has not only made us conscious of our impact, but has empowered us to advise clients on broader sustainability considerations. 

The commitment to our core values not only defines who we are but also reshapes our trajectory, creating tangible benefits for our dedicated workforce. Our newly reestablished learning and development programme reflects our commitment to nurturing our people and is designed with our company’s fast-paced environment in mind. In doing so, it focuses on topics such as wellbeing, managerial skills, individual skill development, and diversity, equity and inclusion training.

What’s next for Area and the wider Fourfront Group in this area?

We’re committed to significant initiatives that set us apart in our industry. Addressing our short-term and long-term greenhouse gas emission reduction targets, particularly in a carbon-intensive sector, demonstrates our forward-thinking spirit. Beyond this, we’re introducing a green pension scheme – a landmark move – that aligns with B Corp’s focus on responsible business with purpose.

The gap analysis from our impact assessment guides our next steps. Our focus on environmental consultancy, providing clients with further support around sustainability strategies and impactful accreditation schemes, underscores our commitment to advocate for sustainability beyond our own footprint. B Corp isn’t just a certification for us, it’s a commitment to a legacy. We’re proud of our values aligning with the B Corp ethos and we’re dedicated to pushing boundaries and setting new benchmarks for sustainable business practices.

Gary Chandler 
CEO, Area, a Fourfront Group company 

For more information about our journey and our workplace transformation services, please visit area.co.uk