Bates Wells Braithwaite (BWB) is the first UK law firm to become a Certified B Corporation, reaffirming its position as a leading City law firm for socially responsible businesses.
B Corporation certification is awarded to purpose-driven businesses that meet externally audited rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency, and create benefit for all stakeholders, not just business owners, such as partners in a law firm.
The B Corporation movement began in the United States and there are now more than 1,300 Certified B Corporations from over 120 industries and over 40 countries with 1 unifying goal – to redefine success in business. B Corporations are leaders of the global movement of people using business as a force for good. They include such businesses as Ben & Jerry’s and Patagonia.
In order to become a Certified B Corporation, BWB had to amend its LLP deed to provide that the firm is to be run not only for the benefit of partners but also to make a material positive impact on society and the environment. Certification as a B Corporation is based on an externally audited scoring system and relevant factors in BWB’s scoring include:
– serving our charity, social enterprise and public interest clients
– substantial pro bono engagement
– good employment practices
– being a Living Wage employer
– active socially responsible purchasing policies
– environmental standards
Registering as a B Corporation is a journey and BWB will strive to continually improve its performance. BWB’ scoring against the criteria is publically available as a condition of certification.
Martin Bunch, managing partner at BWB commented: “Becoming a Certified B Corporation is a defining moment for BWB – since its launch in 1970, the firm has always combined commercial work with furthering social value and the public interest. We are proud to be the first UK law firm to be certified in this innovative movement that seeks to transform business culture in the UK.”
On 24 September 2015 B Corporations officially launch in the UK with over 50 new UK Certified B Corporations. For other UK businesses considering B Corporation certification, BWB will be the natural choice of advisor. The firm played a significant role in advising on the establishment of B Corporations in the UK and is now in an excellent position to advise clients on the technicalities of passing the legal test to certify as a B Corp, as well as sharing first-hand insight and experience of the process.
“BWB’s clients above all seek excellent commercial advice but they also want that advice from people who understand and share their motivations. BWB is the natural choice for entrepreneurs who, like ourselves, are running successful businesses and want to create social value.”
The anticipated impact on staff is not lost on the firm. Martin Bunch further commented: “We have always attracted highly talented and motivated people who want to work in a business with a sense of purpose beyond profit that sees its employees as key stakeholders. B Corporation status will resonate with anyone excited by a career in a firm with those commitments.”