A new global initiative is bringing engineers to the forefront of the conversation about sustainability, resiliency and climate change impacts on infrastructure and the communities they serve.
WSP is a founding member of the recently launched International Coalition for Sustainable Infrastructure (ICSI), together with the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), the ASCE Foundation, The Resilience Shift (a global initiative to accelerate resilience among engineering sectors funded by Lloyds Register Foundation of London) and the Global Covenant of Mayors (GCoM) for Climate & Energy.
The purpose of the coalition is to address the urgent need to accelerate planning, design, construction and operation of sustainable and resilient infrastructure. Two key differentiators of the growing network of organizations will be its action orientation – not just studies, technology transfer and events – and its objective to bring more engineers into leadership and facilitation roles, as individuals as well as organizations, on the issues of infrastructure sustainability, resilience and climate change mitigation.
“The idea is that the coalition is a distinct entity; not a rigid organization with structured membership, but flexible enough to expand and grow and include many key players and organizations from different sectors focused on sustainability and resiliency,” said Tom Lewis, WSP president of Federal Programs and Logistics, a licensed professional engineer, and a founding organizer of the Coalition. “Engineers should not be standing on the sidelines, so this is a way to make sure their voice and perspective is heard.”
The coalition aims to advance practical solutions to design and construct sustainable infrastructure, adapt infrastructure to a changing climate, create partnerships across sectors and with other industry groups such as the global Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) based in the U.K. — with leaders from WSP playing a key role there as well — close the investment gap, break down barriers to action across the globe and bring action-oriented solutions to the marketplace.
“There are a lot of climate-focused organizations talking about data and policy,” Lewis said. “This is about taking that data and planning and appropriately applying it to fund and construct projects in a better way.”