Why we have signed up to the Infrastructure Carbon Review

Mike Sheehan WSP

WSP has committed to the Infrastructure Carbon Review.  UK Head of Sustainability Mike Sheehan explains what it means to the consultancy.

There is a growing awareness among clients and industry that reduction of whole life carbon doesn’t have to add cost, but actually can deliver significant savings alongside the wider environmental benefits.

WSP is one of 45 new signatories to the Infrastructure Carbon Review – find out more here

Despite that, much of the innovation we see with regards this area is opportunistic and ad-hoc. It is important to us that carbon reduction becomes much more ingrained in the way we operate and design and for these reasons we are making four distinct pledges.

Our pledges are:

1.     To prepare a carbon management plan for all our major projects by 2016

We are pledging to create a carbon management plan for all of our major projects where clients are agreeable, with the goal being that we can encourage innovation to thrive where it’s needed most – on large scale, complex schemes. By setting clear targets we will create a more fertile environment for innovation to take route and ultimately be able to capture the full benefits of whole life carbon reduction. We have already seen in the public sector a growing acknowledgement that with a whole life approach you can achieve overall savings, with procurers uniting design & construction budgets with operations & maintenance budgets to take advantage of the efficiencies won by a more holistic approach. It is exactly the same with carbon reduction, where we are committed to being leaders on all our major projects.

2.     Build carbon reduction into our procurement processes

Just as the public sector is building its sustainability commitments into the way it procures, we are committing to do the same with our supply chain. It will be much easier for us to deliver carbon reductions on our projects if our supply chain is on board with these ambitions. It is also really important for us to set an example by demonstrating best practise. It’s one thing to build carbon reduction into the way we design, but we must also build it into the way we operate as a business. We need to be living it as well as delivering it. At the end of the day, we want to work with like-minded and like-thinking suppliers and we are keen that we are ensuring this through our procurement processes.  

3.     Offer a short course on carbon management in design in all our UK offices in 2016

During the recession carbon reduction slipped down the agenda somewhat within some parts of our industry, but now it’s coming back to the fore and it’s really important that we make sure that we have the capability to embed it throughout our design processes. We are really keen that this isn’t simply an add-on from a specialist team, but that it’s established as good practise as normal. Offering this training will be key to us ensuring that’s the case across our business.

4.     Nominate an executive director who will have responsibility for driving the carbon agenda

It’s important that for us to deliver on the above three pledges we have a leader internally, someone who has a degree of accountability and can lead by example.  I’ve been responsible for sustainability for five years and I’m excited to be taking on this extra responsibility.