WSP, the engineering professional services consultancy, will halve the carbon footprint of all designs and advice provided to clients by 2030.
This commitment will span all WSP UK’s specialisms and build on the firm’s existing pledge to bring its own UK operational carbon emissions to net zero by 2025.
To date, many firms within the consulting and built environment sector have pledged to tackle their own carbon emissions from buildings and travel. This is the first commitment in the engineering consultancy sector to address the carbon footprint of all designs and advice provided to clients – addressing the largest impact and opportunity of all professional services firms.
This commitment requires that WSP halves the carbon footprint of its designs, including both the materials that are specified in any design as well as the in-use emissions where WSP is the lead designer for key emission sources, such as building heating and cooling systems.
Where WSP is supporting in an advisory capacity, the footprint is calculated as the percentage of WSP’s fee against the total development costs multiplied by the whole life footprint of that scheme.
WSP’s ambitious 50% target is an absolute reduction and is aligned to a commitment to limit climate change to 1.5°C. This commitment will enable the creation of a new skills programme in the UK, further connections with higher education bodies and collaborative work with WSP colleagues across the world.
WSP is already involved in a number of significant UK projects where reducing the carbon emissions of infrastructure and industry is paramount, including HS2’s Curzon Street Station in Birmingham and advising the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills on the development of carbon capture, usage and storage technology in the UK.
David Symons, WSP UK Director of Sustainability, said: “This is a transformational commitment which will change every project WSP delivers for our clients. Measuring and halving the carbon footprint of the designs and the advice we give to our clients over the coming decade is a truly exciting prospect and a commitment we’re proud to make.
“This is the first commitment of its kind in our sector and will require us to make really substantial investments in skills, R&D, innovation and processes to equip every UK colleague to be carbon leaders as part of WSP’s Future Ready programme.”
Mark Naysmith, WSP UK Chief Executive, said: “For companies like WSP, the greatest impact we can make on the world’s climate and environmental emergencies is addressing the carbon footprint associated with the work we do for our clients.
“When we design the heating or cooling system for a tall building or railway station, for instance, the energy needed to run this system will have an environmental impact for decades. It is our responsibility at the design and advice stage to ensure we are putting forward solutions to our clients that are sustainable both today and in the future. I’m proud of WSP’s market-leading commitment which will help the UK on its road to net zero.”
Michele Cusack, Director for Economic and Community Infrastructure Commissioning at Somerset County Council, said: “Having a target to halve the embodied carbon footprint of the infrastructure WSP designs for Somerset is ambitious and most welcome. This goes a long way to support our plans to decarbonise our estates, operations and infrastructure and to working towards making Somerset carbon neutral by 2030 – 2 of the 3 Goals in our Climate Emergency strategy.
“WSP is a key design and delivery partner for Somerset County Council and this commitment is a great example of how our supply chain is working in step with us to deliver a net zero County.”
Laura Sandys CBE, Non-Executive Director at Energy System Catapult, said: “This important commitment from WSP sets the standard, ensuring that sustainability and low carbon can and should be “designed” into all infrastructure, construction and town planning – not an after-thought.
“I would not be surprised that the outcomes of their designs and advice will ultimately cost their clients less, ensure that their designs are future fit and will deliver modern, clean and climate friendly outcomes.”
Nick Molho, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, said: “We are proud to have WSP as a member of the Aldersgate Group. Many advisory firms have committed to cutting emissions in their own operations but very few have a clear goal or strategy in place to drive down emissions through the advice and infrastructure design they deliver to their clients and which is where the bulk of emissions reside.
“WSP’s commitment to halve design emissions by 2030 is genuinely cutting edge and sets the bar for what a genuinely ambitious net zero strategy should look like for the advisory sector, from engineering consultancies through to financial and legal advice providers.”
Dan Williams, UK PR Manager, WSP
[email protected] / 07341 681 673
As one of the world’s leading engineering professional services consultancies, WSP brings clarity and vision to complex challenges. Our team of technical specialists and strategic advisers across the UK is part of a talented global family of expertise. Together, we ensure innovative solutions solve complex problems for our clients and the communities we serve, meeting both the needs of today and addressing the challenges of the future.
As the largest environmental consultancy in the UK, WSP takes pride in leading the way we collectively tackle the climate emergency. Working collaboratively with industry organisations, WSP co-founded ‘Pledge to Net Zero’ which commits environmental services firms to science-based carbon targets and public reporting. In May 2020, we brought together the public and private sector for our Delivering Net Zero report, and WSP is on course to become a net zero business by 2025 – an achievement for which we were named Global Good Company of the Year in 2019.