Meet the new Georgia B Corp Committed to ‘Building’ a Better Community: Architectural Collaborative

Arcollab designed this high-performance, modern residence in an in-town, historic neighborhood of Athens, GA. The design incorporates many elements of sustainable design, including a highly insulated building envelope; 10kw solar array; triple glazed windows; locally-sourced exterior wood accents; recycled materials; and the house was oriented and designed to maximize passive solar and natural ventilation opportunities. (Photo credit: Arcollab)

Known for creating innovative functional designs, Architectural Collaborative (Arcollab) designs inspired spaces and structures that are strongly rooted in their sense of place. With a firm belief that sustainability is at the core of everything they design, Arcollab advocates for thoughtful incorporation of simple passive systems of the past including daylighting, passive heating and cooling, and strategic natural ventilation in addition to new building science technologies that improve buildings’ performance.

In 2022, their Director of Sustainability, Quint Newcomer reached out to Profitable Purpose Consulting about certifying their commitment to doing business the right way and becoming a B Corp. After a rigorous review of their B Impact Assessment, Arcollab is now the newest member of the Georgia B Corp community, certified with a final, verified score of 105.9. 

We recently caught up with Quint to learn about their B Corp journey and plans for the company.

PPC: Hi Quint, thanks for chatting with us! How does it feel to finally be a certified B Corp?

QN: Well, Nathan, I tell our partners and staff that this work is all about the journey, not the destination. It’s been a long and sometimes challenging three-year journey to get to this point! It feels really good to be able to pause and reflect on all we’ve accomplished, and that gives us motivation to keep on climbing.

PPC: The journey to certification is an arduous one. How important was it to work with a local B Corp consultant? 

QN: When we started this, I did the first pass at the assessment myself. I was able to answer maybe ¼ to ⅓ of the questions. Then we had some help from a UGA team of students which helped me get about half-way through the assessment and identify various areas where we could address more low-hanging fruit over the course of the next year. And then I hit a wall. We were probably about 80% of the way through the assessment and I knew I needed more help and guidance to get through the rest of the process. For us, at that point, being able to turn to Profitable Purpose as a local B Corp consultant to help us get through these last, more challenging aspects, and to think through and address them was critical. It helped us think through the things we weren’t doing but could be doing, how to document what we were doing, and to get across the finish line instead of putting it off. Profitable Purpose Consulting not only provided great help with the process, but also was my accountability check to keep me moving forward.

The Arcollab team regularly sponsors a project site for the Martin Luther King Day of Service in Athens. Their team of nine volunteered over 1,200 hours in 2023. (Photo credit: Arcollab)

PPC: Arcollab already held itself to a pretty high standard before certifying as a B Corp. Why did you feel like it was important to become certified? 

QN: Since our founding, Arcollab has embraced a commitment to sustainable design best practices. As an architecture firm, we can design certified buildings under programs such as LEED and EarthCraft, and our architects and designers can individually be certified as Passive House Designers or LEED AP or other similar professional credentials. Being certified as a B Corp is a public commitment to the way in which Arcollab operates our business as a whole.

“As business owners, we think about how our business contributes to the well-being of our community,” commented Gabe Comstock, one of Arcollab’s three founding principals. “This recognition as a B Corporation is one additional way to publicly demonstrate our commitment to internalizing the ideals we value and seek to embody as a design firm.”

PPC: Going through the B Impact Assessment is a unique journey. How has the process made Arcollab a better company?  

QN: We have thought through and formalized new policies (e.g., writing up our formal sustainability policy and formalizing multiple policies regarding workplace and employee rights and benefits) and we have instituted better internal monitoring and documentation of many aspects of our operations (e.g., formally tracking our community volunteering and pro-bono work hours). We changed our by-laws with the Georgia Secretary of State so that our commitment to community and environment and our employees is enshrined in the charter of our business. 

Perhaps most importantly, it has motivated and energized our employees to engage with business operations beyond the projects they’re designing. We’ve always been proud of our design work which contributes to the happiness and well-being of our clients and the communities in which we work. B Corp certification instills a sense of pride because it recognizes this contribution to community for the operations of the company as a whole, not just the product/service we provide.

Arcollab is a regular sponsor of Historic Athens Porchfest, an annual set of local bands performing in the front yards of Athens houses. It raises money for Nuci’s Space, a nonprofit dedicated to providing mental health services to local artists. 

PPC: You’re joining a community of some amazing Southeast B Corps, and you’re number five in Athens! What are you looking forward to the most about being a part of this community? 

QN: We’re looking forward to networking opportunities with other B Corps and to serving as an example that a business can do well while also doing good. As I said at the outset, it’s all about the journey not the destination, and we’re looking forward to the long and winding road ahead!

Profitable Purpose Consulting is a full service culture and impact agency that specializes in B Corp certification. While they’re headquartered in Georgia and their heart is in the southeast, they work with clients around the world and have a network just as global. At PPC, it’s not just the certification, it’s successfully implementing every part of the process and telling the story of the good you do.