Bristol-based creative company Istoria Group is the latest UK business to achieve the rigorous global standard of B Corp Certification, awarded by B Lab. The B Corp concept envisions a global economy using business as a force for good, made up of a new type of purpose-driven corporation which creates benefits for all stakeholders and not just shareholders. As leaders in the movement for economic systems change, B Corp companies reap remarkable benefits, building trust with consumers, communities, and suppliers; attracting and retaining employees; and drawing mission-aligned investors.
This transformative accreditation, which also extends to Istoria Group’s constituent companies – exhibitions, events and symposia designers Ignition, purposeful digital designers Tiny Spark (part of Ignition), and hospitality, retail and branding designers Phoenix Wharf – is the latest in a series of landmark business achievements for this ground-breaking SME, founded in 2007 on the principle of producing great creative work, whilst balancing people, planet and profit. Ignition, for example, is currently the only company in its industry to hold The Queen’s Award for Enterprise for Sustainable Development (2020 – 2025), alongside three ISO certifications (ISO 20121, ISO 14001 and ISO 9001). Istoria Group, Ignition and Phoenix Wharf also have, within the last five years, won over 20 awards for project creativity, leadership and good people management.
‘Whilst it’s wonderful to receive awards for individual projects and other aspects of our business’ Sam Rowe, Istoria Group and Ignition CEO, commented, ‘achieving B Corp Certification stands alongside our Queen’s Award as indicators of what we really want to be known as – a serious business, making a serious stand on balancing people, planet and profit. Since our inception, we have had a particular focus on sustainability, which we don’t only define as environmental, but as being about a commitment to a long-term view of client relations, internal team-building, staff retention and a business culture of continuous improvement. This is set in the DNA of all we do, ensuring the long-term perspective always wins out over short-term gain.’
Istoria Group is now part of a community of 5,575 businesses globally who have certified as B Corps. The B Corp community in the UK, representing a broad cross section of industries and sizes, comprises 800+ companies and includes well-known brands such as The Guardian, innocent, Patagonia, The Body Shop and organic food pioneers Abel & Cole.
Achieving B Corp certification meant addressing the entirety of Istoria Group’s operations, covering five key impact areas: Governance, Workers, Community, Environment and Customers. The certification process was rigorous, with applicants required to reach a benchmark score of over 80 out of 200, while providing evidence of socially and environmentally responsible practices relating to energy supplies, waste and water use, worker compensation, diversity and corporate transparency. To complete the certification, the company must also legally embed their commitment to purpose beyond profit in their company articles. The median score for a first-time company assessment is 50.9 points. Istoria Group, on this, its first B Impact Assessment, scored 97.1 – 17.1 points above the pass point of 80. The company will be required to undergo a verification process every three years in order to recertify, as B Corp companies are by definition also focused on continuous improvement, leading to their long-term resiliency.
Chris Turner, Executive Director of B Lab UK, commented “Being able to welcome Istoria Group to the B Corp community is hugely exciting. Their commitment to doing business differently will be an inspiration to others and really help spread the idea that we can redefine success in business to be as much about people and planet as it is about profit. We know that Istoria Group is going to be a fantastic addition to the community and will continue driving the conversation forward.”