Obelisk is latest legal business to achieve B Corp status
Even though there are over 1,500 B Corps in the UK, fewer than 1% are in legal services.
Obelisk Support has become just the twelfth legal business to achieve B Corp status. The certification demonstrates Obelisk as having met rigorous social and environmental standards, representing its commitment to goals outside of shareholder profit.
As one of the first alternative legal services providers, Obelisk has been at the vanguard of changing the way lawyers work. Since its creation in 2010, the business has advocated a ‘Human First’ approach by putting people at the heart of the business and making legal work more inclusive. The business now has the UK’s largest vetted freelance legal team, with over 2,000 consultants. Its lawyers work for the likes of the BT, British Business Bank, Kantar, ING Bank and Ocado.
Dana Denis-Smith, founder and CEO of Obelisk Support says the certification marks the start of a period of refocus for the business: “Achieving B Corp certification provides external validation of the values we have held since day one. The certification process was rigorous, lengthy, and highly evidential. We’ve been pushed to become the very best business we can be. As a result, we have created an improved and sustainable business framework. It’s a new era for Obelisk.
“The certification safeguards our founding principle of ‘Human First’. For our team, it shows them that we’re serious about treating them like people, not profit centres. For our clients, it provides them with the reassurance that we actively pursue a better way of doing business and they can access not only a quality legal service, but one that centres on ethical business principles.
“There’s also an important message for the legal profession that you can pursue both profit and purpose. You don’t have to sacrifice one for the other. In fact, given the way environmental, societal and governance issues are driving corporate agendas today, B Corp status provides the profession with a recognised way of aligning with client agendas.”
The B Corp certification addresses the entirety of a business’s operations and covers five key impact areas: Governance, Workers, Community, Environment and Customers. The certification process is rigorous, with applicants required to reach a benchmark score of over 80 while providing evidence of socially and environmentally responsible practices relating to energy supplies, waste and water use, worker compensation, diversity and corporate transparency.
Obelisk achieved a score of 91.5 and completed its certification by legally embedding their commitment to purpose beyond profit in their company articles, a mandatory requirement of certification.
Chris Turner, Executive Director of B Lab UK, the not-for-profit behind the B Corp movement, says: “We are delighted to welcome Obelisk to the B Corp community. This is a movement of companies who are committed to changing how business operates and believe business really can be a force for good. We know that Obelisk are going to be a fantastic addition to the community and will continue driving the conversation forward”.
“Welcoming Obelisk is an exciting moment because they have an opportunity to lead the way within the legal industry. We and the rest of the B Corp community are really pleased to support Obelisk in paving the way for a new way of doing things”.
Dana Denis-Smith says she plans to introduce a quarterly webinar, B the Change, to encourage clients, consultants and other legal providers to engage more closely with the B Corp model and discuss the new form of purpose-led business it advocates.
Other legal businesses to achieve B Corp status include Anthony Collins, Bates Wells, Brabners, Radiant Law and Stephens Scown.