Legal and professional services firm first in region to set sights on B-Corp status

Sarah Walker-Smith

Sheffield-based Ampa has become the first legal and professional services group in Yorkshire to announce its pending B Corporation status.

Ampa – which includes full-service law firm Shakespeare Martineau, consumer-focused law firm Lime Solicitors, planning and design consultancy Marrons Planning, and debt, asset and uninsured loss recovery firm Corclaim – has also announced a raft of ambitious responsible business pledges, including achieving net zero by 2025 and delivering 10,000 volunteering hours.

Organisations with certified B Corporation status are legally required to consider the impact of business decisions on their people, customers, suppliers, communities and the environment; ensuring a balance between purpose, people and profit. The benchmarks in order to achieve accreditation are incredibly high and Ampa will be the first legal service provider in Yorkshire – and one of the first in the UK – to be accredited.

As part of its commitment to using business as a ‘force for good’, the group of legal and professional services brands has committed to 30 responsible business ‘ambitions’ to support its communities, its people and the environment, all to be achieved by the end of 2022.

Highlights from those commitments include increasing female representation within the membership (those with equity in the group) by five per cent (currently 33%) and racial diversity by two per cent (currently eight per cent), as well as supporting teams by training 100 per cent of managers in wellbeing.

To support the environment, the group looks to be carbon negative by 2030, with all registered office hubs using 100% renewable energy as well as increasing use of sustainably sourced or recycled office supplies and furniture.

Working with communities, Ampa will be introducing a group-wide pro-bono programme, and has committed to 10,000 volunteering hours and supporting a minimum of 350 young people through mentoring, employability or virtual insights programmes over the next 12 months.

Driving the ambitions forward and rallying people across the firm to support these initiatives are 40 ‘responsible business champions’, which are voluntary positions taken up by people across all levels of the business spanning a variety of disciplines.

Group CEO Sarah Walker-Smith, said: “Achieving B-Corp status is something that’s really important to us; it’s not a box-tick exercise, but a reflection of how we do business by enshrining our people, client and community commitments at our core.

“We believe good business can be both purposeful and profitable and we want our clients to be confident that we not only do we provide excellent service and advice, but that we do it responsibly.

“Our ambitions provide us with targets to challenge ourselves on, while being open about both what we want to achieve and how we are going to do it. We have a lot to do over the coming years, but not only is it the right thing to do for our people, our clients, our communities and our planet – it is also the commercial thing to do for our business.”

Ben Buckton, group chief marketing and people officer, said: “Not only do we want to ensure we’re holding ourselves to account on the decisions we make, but we also want to help our clients on their journey to improving business practices to the benefit of both the planet and people, as well as profit.

“We’ve already made headway in our plans: in particular, our environment and sustainability proposal – encouraging our people to be more environmentally focussed in both life and work; from local litter picking campaigns to a reduction in printing. And we’ve begun transformation of our office hubs, increasing use of recycled furniture and sustainable products.

“Over the next quarter, we’re focussing internally on strengthening our inclusive work culture, not least by reinvigorating our ‘More in Common’ community, which brings together people from all backgrounds to celebrate both our differences and what we have in common.

“Our ‘More in Common’ principles help educate our teams, diversifies our thinking and embraces the intersectional reality of all people – we recognise that people are complex and multi-faceted, which in turn helps us to appreciate the diversity of our clients and our communities.

“For us, achieving B Corporation status will simply be a by-product of the work we’ve already been doing to become a better and more responsible business for our people, clients and the planet.”

There are currently more than 4,000 certified B Corporations across 77 countries in more than 150 industries. Household names include Simply Business (SME insurance provider), Ben & Jerry’s, Coutts Bank, and clothing brand Patagonia. Ampa will be one of the first legal and professional firms with B Corporation status in the UK.

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