First British Interior Design Collective achieves B Corp

Accouter Group of Companies becomes the first British Interior Design Collective to achieve B Corp status.

Greenwich Riverside designed by AGC BTR who have become the first British Interior Design Collective to achieve B Corp status - Accouter Group of Companies | BTR News
Greenwich Riverside designed by AGC BTR who have become the first British Interior Design Collective to achieve B Corp status.

Accouter Group of Companies (AGC), home to AGC BTR, has become Britain’s first interior design collective to achieve B Corp certification. Having created award winning interiors for over ten years, AGC has become increasingly motivated to do this in a way that not only creates beautiful homes and inspiring spaces, but that puts people and the planet first. 

In summer 2021, the company committed to their B Corp journey – achieving certification 18 months later.

“We are proud to be the first British Interior Design Collective to join this community of change-makers, alongside a global movement of people using their business as a force for good.” 

“B Corp is a holistic approach for us. It shapes our culture and encourages us to acknowledge our business impact and act. Most importantly, it gives us a framework for continuous improvement, so that every day, we become a little bit prouder of what we do.

“We plan to prove that the breath-taking world of interiors can also be a beneficially breath-taking world.”

Stella Gittins Co-Founder, Accouter Group of Companies

The B Corp movement has become powerful – with brands such as Patagonia, Chloé and Vestiaire Collective now certified in the UK. B Corps are defined as businesses that want to achieve more than just making a profit. Their company goals and values are committed to creating a positive impact on their employees, communities, clients and suppliers throughout their strategic decisions and operations.

Shocked to learn that 22 million pieces of furniture are thrown away every year in the UK, the company uses high quality materials so clients can buy better and buy slower, with selected collections offering a lifetime guarantee.

“We know there is cynicism around the topic of sustainability for businesses, which is why it was important for us to achieve our B Corp. B Corp separates the green-washers from the good-do’ers. It shows people that those that really want to make a change, are making a change, and that they are willing to operate in a way that puts people and the planet first, and profit second. For companies like us, the priority is to meet the highest social and environmental standards, and do so with authenticity, transparency and full accountability.”

Alec Watt, CEO, Accouter Group of Companies
Stella Gittins Co-Founder and Alec Watt, CEO at Accouter Group of Companies | BTR News
Stella Gittins Co-Founder and Alec Watt, CEO at Accouter Group of Companies.

How they achieved B Corp

Working in the luxury sector, which is often negatively associated with over-consumption and a slight disregard for environmental impact, AGC wanted to set a better standard and encourage others to up their game too. They have partner with Walpole and its members to work towards a shared ambition of creating a more sustainable industry for the top British Luxury Brands – and have aligned sustainability ambitions.

To demonstrate their commitment and belief in B Corp, they created a focused team internally to ensure that the improvements they wish to make as a business are fully embedded into their culture. Teamwork and collaboration were key when embarking on this journey, with every initiative needing a passionate leader at the helm, so Lauren Stoltzman was elected as the company’s dedicated B-Keeper’.

“Our enthusiastic B Corp team worked together to identify all our processes to ensure we are practicing what we preach when it comes to responsible business practices. We now have a village of internal people rooting for change, which makes us a powerful force towards achieving better things as a business. We wanted to come together and step up, and we’re proud to have done exactly that.”

Lauren Stoltzman, Associate Director, Accouter Group of Companies

AGC have also created internal DEI and Sustainability teams that meet regularly to ensure their improvements are forever evolving across their business.

“We are working to create a level playing field in our industry, and a workplace where everyone has equal opportunity, everyone has visibility and everyone has a voice, all barriers removed.

“We know there is more work to do in creating opportunity within our industry and that’s why our educational pledge is currently a huge focus. We will be out in the schools and career fayres and working with United in Design to encourage a conversation and communicate our message with authenticity.”

Veronica Martinis, Head of DEI, Accouter Group of Companies
Canary Wharf communal area designed by AGC BTR | BTR News
Canary Wharf communal area designed by AGC BTR.

“In our business, there are so many ways we can embed environmental initiatives into our everyday processes. By identifying where we can do better, we have been able to not only change our own internal processes, but in doing so are able to influence our suppliers and industry partners to do the same, making these changes all the more powerful.”

Adele Bird, Associate Director, Accouter Group of Companies

A key part of AGC’s Sustainability Manifesto is to guide suppliers towards sustainable practices.

“All suppliers are now required to complete an environmental questionnaire to give us visibility of the current environmental performance of our supply chain and traceability of our products. With this information, we can start to collaborate as an industry and understand where we can assist and educate to make the most impactful environmental improvements.”

Sabrina Mehra, Head of Buying and Procurement, Accouter Group of Companies

What’s next?

Becoming certified only marks the beginning of AGC’s journey. With B Corp by their side, they will continue to better their practices and increase their score by reducing their impact, and further educate and inspire a global movement around them.