An Interview with our Global Sustainability Sponsor
Isabelle Adjahi, Senior Vice President, Investor Relations and Communications
This is an exciting time for environmental, social and governance matters at WSP.
How does the Global Sustainability Sponsor role complement your current position at WSP?
WSP has undergone rapid growth over the last few years and the timing is right for us to formalize our commitments through a new sustainability task force. Comprised of key regional leaders and heads of global corporate functions, the task force will coordinate progress across global sustainability initiatives. Strengthening the governance of our efforts in this way will allow us to make realistic achievement plans for our collective goals.
Having been closely involved with WSP’s reporting for several years, as well as in a position to engage with several of our stakeholder groups, my objective is to sponsor the task force to achieve global objectives. I will also liaise with our Board member responsible for sustainability, Linda Galipeau.
What are the priorities for the new task force?
Planning for WSP’s new sustainability task force began in 2018, and we are on track to be fully operational during the second quarter of 2019. The first focus of our efforts is the greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction target we announced in January 2019 as part of our 2019-2021 Global Strategic Plan.
Coordinating to implement a global target is not without trials in a large, complex business. However, while we do meet challenges, for example in the quality of our operational data and coverage, one of our absolute strengths is the expertise of our regional businesses and their empowerment to make a difference to achieve this goal.
As several of our regions are already working toward similar targets, we intend to coordinate with their ongoing plans to work toward the interim target we have set ourselves of 5% reduction by 2021.
How do you keep your reporting relevant?
We align with frameworks that we believe make our firm stronger and positively influence our relationships with stakeholders. We write our annual sustainability report in accordance with the GRI Standards, and WSP’s reporting and sustainability agenda also takes into consideration numerous external factors, including our recent participation in the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC); the EU Non-Financial Reporting Directive; and the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).
In 2018, we were pleased to be named an industry leader in environmental, social and governance (ESG) matters by an independent investor research report. At the same time, our communication with internal and external stakeholders took a leap forward through our materiality assessment, as well as engagement during our global strategic planning. What does 2019 hold for WSP’s sustainability governance? In-depth consultation helps determine our strengths, where we can improve and innovate and confirms trends that will change how we think and operate.
How does WSP intend to respond to TCFD?
Last year, WSP became a supporter of TCFD, and analysing the impact of climate change on our business and communicating with capital market stakeholders on this topic is another of our objectives during the current strategic plan period. WSP responds to the CDP climate change questionnaire annually, and we achieved a “B” result on the 2018 questionnaire. We have started to integrate TCFD guidance into our CDP reporting, and we intend to report further on our progress toward alignment with TCFD in future CDP responses.
What does 2019 hold for WSP’s sustainability governance?
As is the case for all businesses, especially large ones, there is increasing external interest in ESG matters. We welcome this awareness and the opportunities this creates. We believe our new governance approach prepares us to capture these opportunities. In addition to our focus on our interim GHG target, in 2019 we will prepare to publish our first UNGC Communication on Progress next year, and begin to formally consider the 10 Principles in our strategy, operations and reporting.
Standing for Society
Read our Sustainability Report to learn more about how WSP engages in sustainable activities across the globe and the sustainable objectives outlined in our 2019-2021 Global Strategic Plan.