Montreal-based real estate development firm Maître Carré has received B Corp certification, lending credibility as it seeks to more deeply integrate environmental, social and governance (ESG) values into its business.
Maître Carré, founded in 2009, has developed 1,500 housing units in condominiums and multifamily buildings.
It currently has 15 employees with plans to grow to 20 by the end of 2022.
The company sought B Corp certification to “give ourselves some tools to include all of our ESG initiatives into our business processes and to ensure our global strategy is coherent with our ESG targets,” said Hugo Girard-Beauchamp, founder and president of Maître Carré, “(and) retain and attract new partners and clients who are sensitive to this approach, as well as employees that share the same values.
“We don’t want to be tied to talking about ESG without walking the walk . . . People are trying to tell us that they want to do business with us because we actually have those values.”
B Corp Certification
B Corp certification verifies a company is meeting standards for performance, accountability and transparency in ESG categories including social and environmental performance, supply chain practices and corporate transparency.
The company must meet a minimum score for social and environmental performance, make a legal commitment for accountability by changing its corporate governance structure, and display its performance on the B Corp website.
The certifications are handed out by B Lab, a non-profit based in Philadelphia.
After Maître Carré was certified, it set up four committees to ensure it can retain the recognition when it is up for recertification in three years.
The sustainability committee oversees environmental practices in the company and works to inspire employees to walk in step with the company’s values on a personal level. One example is how Maître Carré focuses on building projects close to public transit and includes electric vehicle infrastructure in its indoor parking.
The collectivity committee addresses improving social practices and the community.
There is a justice, equity, diversity and inclusion committee tasked with analyzing the issue on a corporate and individual level.
The social committee works to improve the satisfaction of employees at work.
“We like to work with suppliers, partners, investors that have same values as us. When you have a B Corp certification, it’s more credible in the market when we talk about ESG.”
What is next for Maître Carré
After 18 months of efforts involving significant work, investment and employee engagement to achieve B Corp certification, the CEO said the company is “very happy” about the result.
But Girard-Beauchamp doesn’t want to stop yet: “We’ve just been certified, so the work starts.”
He said Maître Carré will initiate educational projects in its new facilities. At new developments, Maître Carré plans to invest in systems to reduce electrical consumption by more than 25 per cent and allocate “substantial” space for rooftop agriculture.
Maître Carré installed composting facilities in a building. If used properly, Girard-Beauchamp said it can reduce around 25 tonnes of waste every year, but the other challenge is teaching the clients to make use of it.
The company will emphasize education on using composting, and Girard-Beauchamp said the B Corp certification encouraged the firm to make an even more focused push on education.
The company will also release an app called the ‘Partage Club,’ through which clients can share items like tools, bicycles and ladders. Girard-Beauchamp said is aimed at instilling sustainable behaviour.
Maître Carré has a desire to add to its certifications list by certifying buildings under both Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) and BOMA BEST.
This fall, Maître Carré would like to explore six strategic priorities, including defining its social mission and formalizing its diversity, equity and inclusion commitments with its local suppliers.
“It’s more about influencing the behaviour of the way we’re gonna live in the future. We wanna make sure that we install good product and that at the end of the day, when we build something, we’re part of the solution and not only part of the problem.”