This March marks B-Corp Month, so to celebrate we invited some of Angel’s most influential business people, along with our very own Marketing Director, Kate Vandenburg, for a lively panel discussion.

At the BDC, we are proud to be a sustainable event space and home to over 100 businesses, so what better idea than to host a discussion on sustainability and the impact of our B Corp certification for us and the wider Angel business community?

But before we dive in, what do we mean when we talk about being B Corp? 

Well, it’s a global initiative that signifies a company’s commitment not just to profit, but also to creating a positive impact on their employees, communities, and the environment. It is awarded to organisations that meet set standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. Currently, there are around 8,000 B Corp businesses worldwide.


The panel discussion 

Headed up by Ben Stephenson, the Chief Executive of the Angel and Islington Business Improvement District (or BID, as it’s known) who was joined by the BDC’s Kate. As well as Claudia Simms, the Chief Marketing Officer of sustainable fashion brand Deploy, and Matthew Crawford, founder of the vintage and restored furniture shop and emporium After Noah.

Founded 14 years ago, the BID was established to support the local economy in Angel Islington and encourage more business success. Since its inception, it has grown to 550 members. It now plays a pivotal role in not only supporting business growth but also in giving back to the Angel community through the Angel Responsible Business Network. Part of the reason for the panel discussion was for our many tenants to learn more about B-Corp and to encourage those who may be interested in becoming accredited themselves.

The journey to sustainability

To kick things off, the panel shared their perspectives on what responsible business and being B Corp certified means to them. 

“I think for the BDC, being a responsible business means we focus on things outside of profit and prioritise taking care of our environment, the people we work with, and offering support. It’s about making sure that we function as a business without compromising the space we live in for future generations.

“B Corp helped us to shine a spotlight on our organisation like no accreditation or certification has done before,” says Kate.

For Claudia, getting the B Corp was incredibly important in giving her clothing brand Deploy authenticity and credibility as a sustainable business. 

“B Corp is the official trustmark,” says Claudia.

“You can say a lot with one icon. You don’t always have time to tell the sustainability story of your business, but it reassures people that you are aligned in your values.”

Both Claudia and Matt have said that when it comes to attracting staff B Corp is a great recruitment tool.

“The future of business is looking very different. If you want to recruit people to come and work in your business, you need to explain your values.” She says. 

Meanwhile, Matt simply describes responsible business as having a corporate heart. 

As part of the panel discussion, Chief Executive of The BID Ben explained how his organisation runs a five-month course to assist businesses in Angel on their B Corp journey. The course is free for businesses in Angel to enrol and helps get them up to the point of being ready to start their B Corp application.

After Noah was in the first round of businesses to enter the program with hopefully many more to join. While the BDC journey as a sustainable event space and B Corp business came a little earlier we still got some amazing support from the BID team.

You can find out more about our B Corp credentials then read our blog on talking sustainability with our BDC tenants

Empowering people 

Founded in 2006, Deploy has been a pioneer of sustainable fashion long before it gained widespread attention. While sustainability has become a somewhat overused buzzword particle in the fashion industry, Claudia says becoming a B Corp helps demonstrate a genuine commitment to sustainability. 

“Sustainability is now part of everyday conversation, but most people still find it quite overwhelming as a concept. It’s there to make you feel bad about what you are doing rather than to empower you and I feel like we need to empower people.” 

If you are curious to find out more about sustainability at the BDC, then head here.

An ongoing journey

Matt has been restoring furniture since he was 19 years old and started his business, After Noah, 34 years ago and he believes that sustainability is always a work in progress.  

“It’s certainly a journey, and our ultimate aim would be that we could stand behind absolutely everything we do as being sustainable. We are a long way from that yet, even in five to 10 years in the future, we are still going to be working on it.”

Kate agrees and says that when it comes to sustainability and having a sustainable events space, it’s not about perfection. It comes with continuous evolution, and B Corp can be used as a framework for continuously improving business, she explains. 

Looking to the future 

So what is next on the cards for the Angel business community in terms of sustainability? 

For the panel guests, it all comes down to education and supporting the wonderful Angel community.  

“Angel has a very powerful place in educating those who come to the local community. If we can leverage the power of business with our connections and our network and use that force to educate people who come to Angel, we can benefit everyone.” 

Well said Kate!

So if you are a business looking to join the vibrant Angel business community here at the BDC or host your next event at our historic venue then get in touch

Or if you want to visit our sustainable event space for one of our world-class exhibitions or shows then check out our What’s On page and see what we have coming up in this year’s exciting events calendar. 

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