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Becoming a B Corp Interior Design Studio

At Sims Hilditch, we’ve regularly asked ourselves if we’re doing enough when it comes to sustainability. To date, the resounding answer has been no. When designing projects, we’ve always focused on creating timeless interiors, using local natural materials and craftsmanship, and procuring furniture that is built to last, but there is so much more we could be doing.

According to BIID, almost 40% of the UK’s entire carbon footprint is due to the construction industry. Not only that, according to a 2018/19 report by The North London Waste Authority, 22 million pieces of furniture are discarded each year in the UK, the majority of which goes directly to landfill. There’s a noticeable vacuum when it comes to setting sustainability targets in the interiors industry, it’s clear that we must strive to do better. Recently, we’ve noticed that a small number of our peers embarking on their own journeys to be more sustainable, and we were inspired by these suppliers and architectural practices to make changes ourselves. If we work together to support one another in our industry, then together we can achieve so much more.

Towards the end of 2023, we set up our Sims Hilditch Sustainability Committee. There was clear appetite among staff and individuals to drive change within the business. Through our choices as an interior design studio, we have the power to reduce our environmental footprint. From reusing and repurposing as much as possible within a client’s home, to offering conscious choices and using sustainable suppliers, as well as working with architects to propose renewable technologies and environmentally sound solutions, we have a vast opportunity to make change within our studio and beyond.

For this and many other reasons, we are pleased to announce that we’re committing to this journey by starting the process of becoming B Corp Accredited.

Why B Corp?

B Corp provides us with a clear strategy and framework to hold ourselves accountable. That feels like a strong starting point. But we also wanted to join a community of likeminded organisations that would work together to make impactful changes. By becoming B Corp certified, we are making a clear commitment to improve our social and environmental performance and changing our governance to make a legal pledge to put people and the planet over profits.

The journey to accreditation is a long road ahead; on average it takes up to 12 months. To help us on our journey, we are working with The Pollinators, an organisation founded by B Leaders that supports businesses in their journey to certification.

What next?

Our first step is to employ the B Impact assessment tool to evaluate and assess our current practices. The assessment is made up of five impact areas: Governance, Workers, Community, Environment, and Customers. Achieving a B Impact Assessment score of 80 of above is required in order to gain certification, as is the legal commitment to change our corporate governance structure and hold ourselves accountable to all stakeholders and not just shareholders. Becoming B Corp certified isn’t a once and done activity, we will be required to undergo the verification process every three years to ensure we are continuously improving and striving to make change for the long term.

We are certainly not experts and are still very much learning, doing our best to work towards a future for our business that is more sustainable and considers the impact on our people at planet first.

“Paralysis and the fear of ‘getting it wrong’ can be a huge block for many companies, and as a result we don’t move forward. With the help of experts, I’m very excited for the framework that B Corp provides us to form a better way of working at Sims Hilditch. It’s changing the way we think and shifting every aspect of our decision making – for the better”.

Henry Hird, CEO