The following is a July 13 press release from Texas-based architecture and design firm Lake|Flato announcing it has received B Corp certification from B Lab. According to the release, the company is the first architecture firm in Texas to achieve this.
Last month, Lake|Flato, the renowned architecture and design firm based in San Antonio and Austin, received its B Corp certification. The firm joins the ranks of only 30 B Corp-certified architecture firms across the U.S. that are committed to balancing financial success with positive environmental and social impact.
Since its founding in 1984, Lake|Flato has operated with a strong environmental and social ethos. To demonstrate accountability and further the conversation around social justice, the firm began tracking its progress several years ago using “The Just Label,” a program of the International Living Future Institute that invites organizations to evaluate their operations through an equity lens. As an extension of the firm’s commitment to equity and accountability, Lake|Flato pursued B Corp certification and is the first Texas architect to receive the certification.
According to Heather Holdridge, the firm’s Director of Design Performance, “As the saying goes, ‘if you can measure it, you can improve it.’ B Corp certification requires rigorous documentation and validation of our firm’s environmental performance and equity, diversity, and inclusion practices. Lake|Flato now has a thorough compilation of calculations, policies, and other evidence of our commitment to environmental and social performance. This allows us to more easily and scientifically communicate our commitment and performance both internally and externally. We now also have an objective baseline to measure our progress, so we can continue to improve our operations and practices.”
B Corp is a global, third party-verified certification that evaluates not only a product or service but also the positive impact of the company itself. B Corp certification is conferred by the nonprofit B Lab, which assesses companies based on standards of transparency, accountability, and performance across five different categories: workers, community, environment, customers, and governance. The B Corp framework encourages organizations to prioritize the welfare of all stakeholders, including employees, the community, and the environment, rather than solely focusing on maximizing profits for shareholders.
“For-profit businesses play a critical role in shaping our future,” shares B Lab on the importance of certified B Corporations. “B Corps are for-profit companies that meet the highest standards of social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability. B Corps use the power of business to do more than seek profit. They use their profits and growth to positively impact their stakeholders – and the planet.”
Key to improving environmental and social commitments is the continuous act of tracking, recording and benchmarking data. Lake|Flato’s B Corp process has allowed the firm to assess its current impact in comparison to other organizations around the world and thoughtfully commit resources toward helping ameliorate environmental and social challenges through the power of architecture and design. According to B Lab, the median score on the B Impact Assessment is 55. 80 is the minimum score to achieved certification; Lake | Flato earned a score of 105.