What Does it Mean to be a B Corp™ in the Built Environment?

Where We Started

In 2020, Space Group embarked on a journey towards B Corporation certification. In December 2022, after an extensive, long-bearing application process, Space Group received the news that we had been awarded B Corporation status. One of the hallmark features of being a B Corp is the rigorous impact assessment process. Beyond profit margins and market share, companies are evaluated on their performance in areas such as environmental stewardship, employee welfare, community engagement, and corporate governance. For Space Group, this holistic approach to assessment was an invaluable asset and procedure that allowed us to benchmark the progress we had made and recognise areas we could improve.


An important milestone in the company's history, Space Group became the first architectural company in the region to receive certification and joined a small list of only twelve practices across the entire UK. At the time, there were also twelve B Corporation businesses in the North East. Since then, this number has grown, as evidenced by the ever-growing meet-up venues for our local b hive community get-togethers.

What Happened Next

There was no paradigm shift for Space Group following certification. We have always recognised that architecture and our technological solutions extend beyond the physical structures they create and maintain. They are intrinsically linked to the well-being of communities, the conservation of resources, and the mitigation of environmental harm. By becoming a B Corp, Space Group affirmed its commitment to integrating these considerations into every aspect of its operations and projects, but other than that, it was business as usual.


In 2018, Space Group set a target to reduce our office carbon emissions by 30% before 2024. We investigated our buildings' energy consumption and how we could optimise the space. After analysis, we decided to replace all existing light fittings with LEDs and upgraded the lighting controls in each room. The team was keen to understand the use of the building, including occupancy and people movement, so we added occupancy sensors and movement Xovis sensors. Parts of the office can now be closed so the lighting can be turned off and temperatures can be reduced. The information generated has also been used in the redesign of the main office areas. Overall, the target was to reduce emissions by 93.4 kgCO2e; however, the 2023 total was 81 kgCO2e, a 39% reduction. The energy continues to be measured, and once the fit-out is complete, energy use is anticipated to fall further. After becoming carbon neutral in 2023, Space Group’s renewed commitment is directed towards becoming a zero-carbon business by 2030.


The ultimate purpose of B Corp is to encourage businesses to do good. Just before our accreditation in 2022, we held our first annual climate conference, _shift. Each year, _shift brings together industry leaders and empowered agents of change to engage in meaningful discussions and inspire transformative action. The main theme remains the same: "decarbonising the built environment," and it will remain so until we witness a significant reduction in the current statistic that indicates our sector is responsible for 40% of all carbon emissions. Each year, in the weeks that follow _shift, we hope to keep people informed and engaged, and for that reason, we ensure that interviews and presentation recordings can be found, shared and rewatched via our website. We believe that sharing our findings, along with educating and informing our industry, is pivotal in driving a better tomorrow. As we prepare for our third _shift conference taking place in November, we hope to host another inspirational event that boasts exceptional speakers like those who have come before, such as Jonathon Porritt and fellow local B Corp CEO's Steve Malkin and Nicki Clark OBE.

Charting a Path Forward

We are on track to becoming a zero-carbon business by 2030, and that will remain a primary focus for us. Along with a plethora of creative reuse projects, SPACE Architects (UK) are investing in research and data collection around embodied carbon and making construction materials more sustainable as they encourage more and more clients to make environmentally backed decisions. Our colleagues at bimstore are committed to helping the industry move forward with becoming more accurate, accountable, and sustainable. With that commitment in mind, there are exciting developments planned for the next version of the bimstore platform that will help connect specifiers to manufacturers who demonstrate the sustainability credentials they desire. Whilst BIM.Technologies and Twinview work closely with global teams, utilising the latest technologies to increase all stakeholders' understanding of their projects from conception through to operation in order to promote better project outcomes.

"Each decision and each project is a chance to leave a lasting and positive impact on our communities and the planet. Our Spacer's understand this as they learn, adapt and embody the change we seek to inspire across the industry." - Rob Charlton, CEO of Space Group.


To conclude, being a B Corp™ in the built environment signifies a commitment to a higher standard of business practice, one that transcends profit and considers the broader impact of building projects on society and the planet. For Space Group, achieving B Corporation certification was not just a milestone but a reaffirmation of our values and a catalyst for ongoing innovation and improvement. Through initiatives like our annual _shift climate conference and our ongoing efforts to reduce carbon emissions, we strive to lead by example and inspire others in our industry to prioritise sustainability and social responsibility. As we continue on our journey towards carbon neutrality and beyond, we remain dedicated to collaborating with others and leveraging our expertise to create a more resilient and equitable built environment for future generations.