Two Australian architectural practices joined more than 500 businesses from across the world in committing to net zero carbon emissions by 2030 at COP25, the UN Climate Conference in Madrid.

B Corporation is a global movement of 3000 businesses from 70 countries and 150 industries using business as a force for good. Certified B Corporations meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose.

A B Corp takes business decisions that positively impact their workers, customers, suppliers, community and the environment.

The two Australian firms, ClarkeHopkinsClarke Architects and WOWOWA joined the business world’s biggest ever collective push for climate action 20 years ahead of the Paris agreement, as they made their public pledge alongside global brands such as Patagonia, Intrepid Travel, The Body Shop and Danone.

Their climate commitment requires them to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions to achieve net zero by 2030.

B Lab UK co-founder and co-chair of B Corp’s Global Climate Task Force Charmian Love, said, “The climate emergency is amplifying the inequities that already exist and unravelling our social fabric. The youth recognise this and are demanding a response from us.

The global B Corp community stands in solidarity with them, not only in a shared vision for an inclusive and regenerative future for all, but also in their call for concrete, bold and unapologetic action. By acting both individually and collectively to decarbonise their businesses to achieve net zero emissions by 2030, B Corps are trying to do their part in achieving the future our children deserve.”

ClarkeHopkinsClarke managing partner Robert Goodliffe, who signed up to B Corp in 2016 as well as to NZ2030, believes it is good business practice.

“ClarkeHopkinsClarke has been certified carbon neutral since 2018, and we recently engaged a fellow B Corp, Pangolin Associates, to independently audit our Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions.

At 446.7 TCo2 we’re at about 35 percent of the benchmark emissions for a similar-sized professional services company. That’s due to carbon mitigation actions and purchase of gold standard carbon credits that target UN Global Development Goal outcomes, including Indigenous land management on Cape York, Tasmanian native forest retention and stewardship and reforestation on Timor Leste.”

For NZ2030, ClarkeHopkinsClarke will commit to reducing their remaining carbon footprint by 50 percent by 2030 through the purchase of 100 percent Green Power, increased teleconferencing and implementing a green travel plan.

Additionally, the practice is moving to new premises at Younghusband in Kensington, which will be certified by One Planet. They will also continue to advocate on sustainable best practice to their clients.

WOWOWA director and co-curator of the AIA’s 2019 Collective Agency conference Monique Woodward explained that they joined the B Corp movement because it reflected the firm’s existing values covering climate action, cultural diversity, gender equality and pay parity in the workplace. WOWOWA’s certification process, according to Woodward, didn’t involve a huge investment of time or money and has given the firm tools to analyse, measure and communicate what it’s doing well and how it can do better.

She says B Corp’s holistic focus on workers, customers, suppliers, community and the environment makes it “a roadmap for change” for a host of industry groups, from Architects Declare to Parlour and the AIA. “Architects are perfectly placed to join in.

As an Institute chapter councillor and someone who’s passionate about Collective Agency, I think that if we were all B Corp-certified the social and environmental impact would be extraordinary. I guess we’d lose our edge but I’d be totally happy with that.”