Concept for - Meet the B Corp Champion - Verity Slater

In this series, we introduce our B Corp Champions. Spread across all teams and sectors these dedicated individuals share their knowledge on B Corp, to not only improve practices in our own firm, but to help others implement their own changes.

For this edition we introduce Verity Slater, partner in our Employment team and B Corp lead.

Can you tell us why you wanted to become a B Corp Champion and how it fits in with your role at Stephens Scown?

I’m the B Corp lead so it’s my pleasure to lead this group! As one of the Board members driving the Firm’s purpose and values, I led on our B Corp certification.  It is important for me that as a business we are aware of an have a positive impact – not only for our own employees, but to wider society.

Talking to clients, it became clear that they placed the same value on doing business ethically as we did, and being a B Corp is very much about that balance of people, planet, and profit. It’s the gold standard for purposeful business and becoming a B Corp was no easy task.

In my own role with the Employment team, I get the chance to work closely with clients and businesses who are interested in becoming B Corp businesses themselves. As part of those discussions, I talk about culture and ethical HR, the importance of employee engagement, diversity and wellbeing, and can demonstrate that these are not negative things which affect profits, but which can actively boost them as employees buy-in to a company which shares their values and which makes your business more resilient and future proof.

What impact has the firm becoming B Corp had on you?

It feels like the culmination of work that I’ve put in over the last six years, starting with our Giving Back programme and all the steps in between, the hard work, and the commitment of the business to have the positive external impact to go with what was already evident internally. It is truly fantastic to work in a firm that genuinely is committed to this and has doing good in its DNA.

The real golden moment was when we voted as a partnership to change our constitution to reflect our commitment to balance people planet and profit and B Corp principles. This is leaving a legacy for all our colleagues and partners to follow in the future.

It was also hugely gratifying to see my efforts recognised with a shortlisting in the Legal 500 ESG Awards in the category of Environmental/Sustainability: Private Practice Champion. Being recognised externally for the work that I do was a proud moment and reflected the ethos that I’ve seen within the firm being shared on a wider stage.

The judges said, “being shortlisted is a remarkable achievement that reflects your commitment to sustainability, responsible business practices, and dedication to positively impacting society and the environment.” That really does distil what B Corp means to me and a real honour to see that the value of my work is also seen by others.

Having the opportunity to take what we’ve learned and share that with other businesses as part of the B23 group, working with other organisations who are seeking to join the B Corp family, has also been great allowing me to share our journey, inspire and support others and learn from them too.  You quickly realise there is no perfect way to become a purposeful business, just continuing steps you keep taking in this regard to reflect your culture and commitment.

What changes have you seen within your team/sector since becoming a B Corp?

It’s been amazing to see all the changes within the teams across the firm: Corporate and Employment are leading the way, with Real Estate close behind. I love hearing my colleagues’ passionate ideas about this and seeing the spark of interest that they have on coming back from events and meeting other people who are equally as passionate about purposeful business and B Corp

Seeing people wanting to step up and establishing our B Corp Champions team has been amazing. It’s heartening to see that so many people are enthusiastic about B Corp and want to promote the benefits it brings to an organisation.  Each person is learning and developing work streams in their own areas to build on the opportunities available – see our Sustainability – building your purpose and impact page.

Every person in the team is going out and talking to people, to clients, and spreading the message. The great thing is seeing how clients and contacts are interested in the B Corp process and can see the benefits it would bring to their own organisation.

None of that would be possible without having people from within our own team and wider business wanting to take part because it’s a reflection of their own values and beliefs.

Why do you think it’s important for business to consider becoming a B Corp?

As we make the future we want to live in. All businesses have a responsibility in this regard – and B Corp is a way to ensure that you are truly walking the talk and considering and working towards the UN sustainability goals.

I believe that businesses are starting to realise that work is about more than profit, and that doing good doesn’t have to come at the expense of financial success. They are starting to look at what other measure define what they do, how engaged are their employees, what impact are they having on the wider community in which they operate and their impact on our planet and resources.  This not only makes good ethical sense, but good business sense and is increasingly going to be expected of business through supply chains and procurement.

And the great thing is that early action and genuine engagement with this is likely help a business to grow more quickly and resiliently., building greater engagement and buy in from employees who have the same values and are proud to see that reflected in their employer.

Lastly can you share with us something you do personally at home or at work that has either a positive impact on the environment or wellbeing of others?

I’ve spent time over the last year completely rebuilding my house, with air source heat pump (rather than oil heating), solar panels/ battery and renewable sourced materials where possible. A major mission but well worth it to set up our home in a way that significantly reduces our annual carbon footprint.

As a family we have been taking low carbon holidays, taking the train to the Southern Alps rather than flying and holidaying locally in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. I drive an electric car, and it’s great that we have chargers at our offices to encourage others to go electric too. When I visited the States as part of our research into B Corp™ businesses, my flights were offset with a Cornish charity Plant One, that plants trees to help with our carbon footprint.

I also act as a trustee for Cornwall Community Foundation, supporting grass roots community projects in the region with financial and non-financial assistance. It’s a great way to have an impact in the local area and support projects where community groups are making a massive difference to the lives of those most in need around them. In 2023 the Foundation raised and distributed £2.9 million which I am incredibly proud of. I enjoy using my three days volunteer leave to support the great work of that Charity. Having these paid days is another great way that Stephens Scown shows its commitment to being a B Corp company.

Contact us to explore new ways to become a more purposeful business, embedding sustainability into the heart of your business and attracting new clients and customers who want to buy into a more sustainable future.