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Gloucestershire Business News

Austin Design Works announces B Corp certification

Nailsworth-based Austin Design Works has become a Certified B Corporation™ (B Corp).

The award-winning architecture and landscape architecture design practice joins the ranks of Patagonia, Aveda, and locally, Stroud Brewery and Hobbs House Bakery to be recognised for its long-standing commitment to social and environmental responsibility.

Achieving B Corp certification by the non-profit B Lab confirms Austin Design Works' commitment to accountability and transparency throughout its business.

Facilitated by B Lab, the firm underwent a rigorous and extensive review of its environmental and social practices and policies and was assessed across five pillars: governance; workers; community; environment; and customers, and achieved an overall impact score of 97.1, far exceeding the 50.9 average score of ordinary companies undergoing the assessment.

Austin Design Works will be held to high standards of accountability, undergoing a recertification process every three years to update its impact assessment and recertify as a B Corp.

Contributing to the certification of Austin Design Works as a B Corp was the practice's commitment to designing innovative and highly energy-efficient homes, built using materials with low carbon footprints.

The practice also strives to enrich the natural environment through its landscaping and development work, collaborating with ecologists to create ideal habitats for wildlife to thrive.

A commitment to improving the wellbeing of people was equally important and was demonstrated by community projects, such as Horsley Playground, which became catalysts for regeneration and meaningfully involved local communities at every stage.

More information about Austin Design Works' overall B Corp Impact Score can be found by visiting its website: https://www.austindw.co.uk/our-mission.

In addition to its B Corp certification, the firm is also signed up to the Royal Institute of British Architects 2030 Climate Challenge to: reduce operational energy demand in all buildings; reduce embodied carbon in new buildings; reduce potable water use; and promote health and wellbeing through improvements to air quality, daylight and reduction in VOCs; and improve biodiversity.

Rachael Emous-Austin is director of Austin Design Works, alongside her brother, Matthew Austin.

She said: "We have always been passionate about building a sustainable practice that is deeply rooted in the Stroud Valleys. Austin Design Works is proud to be joining a community of like-minded organisations who are driving a global movement of business as a force for good.

"The B Corp assessment process was rightly incredibly rigorous, and I would like to thank everyone at the studio who has worked tirelessly towards this achievement. Being a Certified B Corp is also about continuous improvement, so we set goals as we went along the assessment process. Our main goal in 2024 is to benchmark the 'social' element of our impact."

The Austin Design Works studio is based in Old Warehouse in Nailsworth, which is situated within the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The 125-year-old industrial building has been made as energy-efficient as possible, using software to calculate current energy demand, as well as obvious areas for improvement. Outside, there is an electric car charging point, with a green roof planted with thyme and other bee-friendly scented plants.

For more information about Austin Design Work, go to https://austindw.co.uk or call 01453 836393.

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