Cumulus is now a B Corp™
Cumulus is proud to become a Certified B Corporation™. As a B Corp, we’re part of a globally recognised community of businesses that meet high standards of social, cultural, and environmental corporate governance. It independently verifies our responsibility and impact Cumulus are currently making as a company and provides a framework to take our aspirations in all these areas much further in the coming years.
How did we do it?
Certified B Corps are required to satisfy a rigorous assessment process across every aspect of a company. Cumulus already have existing protocols and certifications in place which simplified this process, such as ISO certifications (14001:2015 Environmental Management Systems, ISO 9001 Quality Management Systems, and ISO 45001:2018 Occupational Health & Safety Management Systems). Our offices have been carbon audited and assessed through Trace as Carbon Positive. Our Sustainability Action Plan, Reconciliation Action Plan-Reflect, and the various Working Groups we invest in to educate, advocate for and empower our staff to create a positive workplace as we work towards Net Zero by 2030.
By certifying, B Corps step into a framework for continuous improvement. To maintain certification, companies must undertake a rigorous assessment and verification process every three years, demonstrating they are still meeting B Lab’s standards — which are themselves always improving, with continual input from expert stakeholders.
B Corp Certification does not mean that a company is perfect, nor that it has achieved its highest impact. It does show that it is part of a global community of business working collectively for economic systems change, and that to stay committed to this work it must meet rising standards for social, cultural, and environmental performance.
What is a B Corp?
A B Corp is a for benefit corporation which places positive impact and broad stakeholder consideration as a central business concern. Whilst Cumulus was the second Tasmanian owned business to be certified, there are over 400 certified B Corps in Australia and New Zealand, and more than 4,600 worldwide across 150+ industries and 79 countries.
B Corps differ in size, location and industry, but are joined in the shared objective to be financially sustainable while addressing social, economic and environmental challenges. Our aim is to ensure that our business practices have a positive impact on workers, customers, suppliers, community members and the environment. This framework provides us with a clear method to measure our impacts in all the areas, and a pathway to continually improve.
‘Sustainability is not just about doing less harm, it’s also about doing more good.’
We understand that architecture is an important part of a more sustainable and responsible future and can shape how our communities interact with the built and natural environment. We consistently aim to find project-specific approaches to ensure the right sustainability outcomes are delivered.
Embedding these principles into the fabric of our business helps refine our design choices, and encourages open conversation on sustainable solutions to promote positive change across our industry. Buildings should tread lightly, be robust and resilient to the impacts of climate change and aim to reduce carbon emissions throughout their life cycle.
As a business, we constantly seek the improvement of our internal operations, looking for innovative solutions to minimise our impact on the environment. In addition to our B Corp certification processes, we have an EMS Working Group, run by our dedicated Sustainability Lead, to manage and maintain our frameworks and to provide sustainability support to our team. We recently released our first Sustainability Action Plan which in addition to our existing frameworks and processes, outlines our commitments towards a more sustainable and equitable practice. Importantly it sets building performance benchmarks to design and build better than the minimum legal requirements of the National Construction Code. We rigorously review our projects and designs to ensure we select materials that are low in embodied carbon and healthy for the environment and for the users.
At the project inception stage, we create a Sustainability Strategy to create the sustainability road map for each project, to be implemented during all project phases. The most important phase is the first phase, where all the key decisions are made.
Cumulus are signatories to Architect’s Declare, participate in various industry advisory groups, and continue to educate ourselves in the best environmental design solution.
As architects and designers, we understand that all projects, both and unbuilt, have a relationship with Country. As defined by a Ngunnawal Elder Jude Barlow, Country is everything. It’s family, its life, its connection. It is a complex system that combines aspects of culture, land, the environment, and identity.
At Cumulus we endeavour to create meaningful architecture and support experiences that have a positive and lasting impact on both people and place. Our core business value of accountability instills a studio-wide practice of acknowledging, supporting, and collaborating with First Nation Australians to develop built outcomes that nurture and celebrate the continuation of centuries of cultures on Country.
Engaging with, learning from, and celebrating First Nation Australians is, to put it plainly, good business. A process of shared benefit that has deeply enriched our work, broadened our thinking, and created outcomes that sit outside the colonial cannon, ones that represent the possibilities and what we believe to be the future of Australian architecture. A built environment that is inclusive and empowered by the many and varied narratives that inform our shared history.
During the project inception stage, we implement an information gathering process whereby we seek to gain an overarching understanding of the possibilities of the site. During this process we aim to work directly with local Aboriginal representatives, communities, and organisations, to ensure that First Nations perspectives inform our designs. This working relationship can inform the project outcome in various ways including but not limited to; conceptual co-design, integrating cultural narratives and knowledge with aboriginal co-authors, traditional land management, re-establishing or maintaining native/endemic habitat, and sensitive and strategic design approaches to important cultural places and stories.
Our studio is committed to embedding a cultural and Caring for Country lens through our Reconciliation Action Plan. For us, the document will help guide our work to create meaningful change in this space.