Climate Change and Resilience

Our climate is changing, from increasing temperatures and shifting precipitation patterns, to rising sea levels and more frequent and severe weather events.


Alongside this, the global economy is embarking on a low carbon transition. We help governments, businesses and communities plan for, and adapt to these changes. We also support clients recover and build back better after times of shock.

Complex Uncertainties

With all Australian states and territories now committed to achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, and leading businesses increasing their commitment to emissions reduction, we are embarking on an unprecedented if low carbon transition. Businesses, governments and communities are all trying to understand their place in this transition, ensuring they are among the winners.

 

This transition will take place in a rapidly evolving world. Alongside the effects of climate change, societies and organisations must navigate rapid technological innovation and global interconnectivity. This provides massive opportunity, but also can manifest in shocks such as cyberattacks and pandemics. 

 

At WSP we provide our clients with the expertise they need to be Future Ready, navigating the uncertainties of a low-carbon transition, identifying climate-related risks, and developing strategies to build resilience to emerging shocks and stresses.

What Sets Us Apart?

  • Our Future Ready commitment – Future Ready is WSP’s program to see the future more clearly, and to work with clients to design for this future as well as for today’s needs. We do this by meaningfully considering a range of future trends in our advice to clients.
  • Truly global reach – WSP has over 55,000 talented professionals working across over 40 countries spanning Asia-Pacific, the Americas, Europe and the Middle East. This includes climate risk specialists who help build resilient organisations that can thrive in a changing global market.
  • Putting strategy into action – As a multidisciplinary design and engineering firm, we deeply understand the built environment. We can go beyond risk assessment and disclosure, supporting clients to prioritise and implement effective measures to build their resilience.
  • Leaders in communication and engagement – Tackling climate change and building resilience is multidisciplinary, requiring input from diverse stakeholders. We are accomplished listeners, communicators, facilitators and problem solvers who are comfortable engaging in board rooms as
    well as living rooms.

Key Services and Project Examples

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Climate Risk and Adaptation

We help you identify the risks posed by climate change and develop adaptation measures to secure a resilient and prosperous future. We tailor our process to suit your needs, be it advice on climate-proofing a specific building, infrastructure project or precinct; prioritising investment in climate adaptation across a large property portfolio, or advising on climate risk and adaptation policy for governments.

 

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Queensland Investment Corporation (QIC), Portfolio Climate Change Risk Assessment

WSP was engaged by QIC to undertake an assessment of climate change risk and management options for its portfolio of commercial, retail and infrastructure assets. The aim of this engagement was to screen assets by exposure and vulnerability to climate change hazards over near-future (2030) and far-future (2090) timeframes, identify risks for priority sites, and establish a framework for further action to manage natural hazard risks, implement adaptation measures and facilitate appropriate investment.


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Emissions Reduction Strategies

We offer a wide array of services that can help governments and businesses reduce their carbon footprint and reap the benefits of renewable energy. This includes emissions benchmarking and supporting organisations to choose the most suitable pathways to meet their energy and emissions reduction targets. This is supported by in-house technical services green building design, sustainability rating, and feasibility assessments for small- and large-scale renewables.

 

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City of Sydney, Net-zero Energy Performance and Planning Pathways

The City of Sydney has engaged WSP to lead a consortium of specialist consultants, including Elton Consulting, to develop performance standard pathways to high performing net-zero energy buildings for implementation through the Greater Sydney planning controls. The performance pathways will provide a framework for improved energy performance standards in office, multi-unit residential, hotel, shopping centre and mixed use new developments and major refurbishment projects in Greater Sydney.

 

Developing the performance pathways, a planning mechanism for offsite renewables or offsets, and effective new planning controls involves in-depth research, technical energy analysis, and financial and economic appraisals. Another key aspect of the project is robust stakeholder engagement to ensure the project proceeds in a direction that is responsive to stakeholder needs and gains support that is considered essential for implementation.


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Climate Risk Disclosure

Expectations are increasing for businesses to assess and communicate their exposure to physical (e.g. flood exposure of assets) and transition (e.g. service offerings that could be adversely affected by a shift to a low-carbon economy). Our reporting experience helps financial institutions and other organisations disclose the climate resilience of their portfolio and value-chain.

 

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Confidential Client, Fortune 50 Global Financial Institution

WSP has provided comprehensive sustainability and resilience services to one of the world’s top financial institutions since 2004. Our role began in to help them measure, track, and report greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for 12,000 of their active facilities. Since then, our role has continuously grown, including benchmarking, reviewing, and recommending changes to public policy statements as part of reputational risk analysis and analysing risks and opportunities associated with physical impacts of climate change in alignment with the TCFD recommendations. Success in sustainability and resilience initiatives has led to public awards for the client from organisations such as the Climate Leadership Awards, U.S. EPA Green Power Partnership, CDP, Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI), and Fortune Magazine.


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Stakeholder Engagement

We design and deliver processes to support effective decision-making around future action on climate change and resilience.

 

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Shire of Augusta-Margaret River, Community Climate Change Summit

In late 2018, the Shire of Augusta Margaret River embarked on a process to create a whole of community approach to reducing greenhouse emissions and moderating the environmental, social, cultural and economic impacts of climate change on the Shire. The main aim was to develop a process that would reflect the community’s values and implement a plan that would engage with government, business and the community to collectively develop and own a Climate Action Plan.

 

WSP (as Elton Consulting) designed and delivered a stakeholder participation process including delivery of a Climate Action Summit. This included:

  • a consultation process that engaged over 350 people across nine community forums to develop a range of proposals to set the context for discussions at a Climate Action Summit.
  • hosting and facilitating the Climate Action Summit, attended by 100 key stakeholders.
  • designing interactive sessions to inspire shared leadership and local action, including participation of young people.
  • guiding stakeholders, through use of digital technology, to prioritise and plan for a number of key projects that will form the foundation for the community’s inaugural Climate Action Plan.

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Urban and Community Resilience

We help cities, local governments, precincts, developers and communities to develop actionable strategies to ensure they can than survive, thrive and adapt in the face of chronic stresses (e.g. unemployment) and acute shocks (e.g. floods, bushfires, cyber-attacks). Our experienced strategic and statutory planners can help put local and state governments put these plans into action planning schemes.


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Climate Foresight and Planning

Using a range of techniques to explore how megatrends will affect your organisation, we help you see the future more clearly and prepare for what it will bring. We design, develop and facilitate participatory processes, such as horizon scanning and design thinking sessions, to elicit unique insights into what different trends mean for you and what can be done in response.


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Business Continuity Planning

Business Continuity Planning can apply more widely than just to businesses, helping organisations at many levels plan for and manage short-term and long-term change, equipping those organisations with the processes, procedures, decisions and activities to ensure that they avoid, or continue to function through an operational interruption.


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Information Security Planning

Alongside Business Continuity, Information Security forms a critical part of business resilience, especially cyberresilience – allowing an entity to continuously deliver an intended outcome despite adverse events (increasingly cyber-crime related events). WSP’s experienced, vetted and qualified security consultants can provide expert advice to all levels of business and government on improving their information security practices.


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Disaster Recovery

We can mobilise quickly to support governments, businesses and communities when things don’t go to plan. After the bushfires of summer 2019/20 we mobilised eighteen staff from WSP and Elton Consulting (a WSP company) as part of the Laing O’Rourke team, announced by the Prime Minister and NSW Premier on 30 January as the lead contractor to undertake the clean-up of residential and other sites, a critical step in rebuilding, supporting bushfire recovery in regional NSW.