The firm has the experience and breadth of offering in place to assess, strategise, and provide programmes of work for mining houses when it comes to all their built and ESG requirements.
In the newly launched Verdantix Green Quadrant: ESG & Sustainability Report 2022, WSP has been recognised as one of the top four global market-leading providers of ESG and sustainability consulting services. According to Verdantix, ‘WSP has utilised strong in-house expertise and digital tools to establish competitive offerings in operational resource transformation and environmental and resource management services for clients.’
“The report reflects our commitment to be a more inclusive organisation to deliver beyond the traditional advisory role. As such, it reinforces our ability to provide not only planning and engineering design services, but also support our clients from strategic advisory through to implementation of design solutions. This is indicative of how the WSP value proposition has strengthened following our acquisition last year of earth and environmental consulting firm Golder,” says Sean Doel, Managing Director: Environment, WSP in Africa.
Adding to the dynamic nature of the mining sector in Africa are important considerations around climate change and the role it plays within the ESG space.
The understanding of climate change risks and opportunity and the disclosure of climate change-related risks in particular, is increasingly becoming a requirement by regulators. In parallel, there is a growing expectation from investors, lenders, insurers, and communities of interest that companies demonstrate how climate change-related risks are being managed.
“The direct impact of climate change in mining cannot be ignored. For instance, extreme precipitation resulting in flood damage to infrastructure - including mine waste residues - can have significant consequences and must be accounted for in the mine planning and ongoing operations. But more than that, indirect impacts such as the health and safety of personnel onsite or surrounding communities, legal liability, and reputational consequences, also contribute to the pressurised environment mining houses find themselves in,” says Ralph Heath, Managing Director: Earth & Environment, WSP in Africa.
To this end, WSP in Africa is focusing on several strategic areas for its mining clients. These include water, waste, and energy efficiency and security, coupled with care for human resources and communities, and of course longer-term rehabilitation of the environment though customised mine closure strategies.
“Our ability to not only do the strategic thinking and planning around climate resilience and ESG but also design and implement real world solutions for our clients fundamentally differentiates us from our competitors,” says Doel.
Heath agrees: “We are focused on complete services to our mining projects from inception through to closure. The mining sector is unique in its requirements but taking environmental and social impacts into consideration is vital if success is to be achieved. For example, with our assistance, one of our multinational mining clients have taken a unique water steward and resilience approach. They have created opportunities and technology in water savings because they looked at the challenge holistically and then applied it locally. This is what true sustainability thinking is all about.”
He believes that WSP’s approach of having a strong mining client programme is also paying dividends. “We take on new projects based on a clear understanding on both the health and safety, and compliance and ethics issues associated with the project as well as demonstrable client commitment to driving the ESG agenda. For us it is important to have a relationship with our clients and extend that to their global head offices to ensure the correct alignment on ESG across their operational footprint can be done,” adds Heath.
Mining operations have established, multi-disciplinary processes in place to identify, assess, and manage risks through risk management frameworks. According to Doel, physical and transitional risks associated with climate change have become an important addition to the risk management process – both at corporate and operational levels.
“Assessing climate change risks necessarily involves a multidisciplinary set of skills and team that can integrate scientific understanding, such as interpretation of down-scaled global circulation model data and GHG emissions, with engineering knowledge of mine design and operations. With our wide range of specialists we are able to quantify climate risks and opportunities for our clients. And then work with them to establish the optimum roadmap and implementation plan to achieve their sustainability and ESG objectives. It is an exciting and challenging space to be working in and we are proud of the contribution we can make in supporting the green transition of the sector,” concludes Doel.
WSP in Africa is hiring! To find out more about available opportunities, check out the Careers page on our website or look out for updates on our LinkedIn page, @WSPinAfrica.
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As one of the world’s leading professional services firms, WSP provides engineering and design services to clients in the Transportation & Infrastructure, Property & Buildings, Environment, Power & Energy, Resources (Mining) and Industry sectors, as well as offering strategic advisory services. WSP's global experts include engineers, advisors, technicians, scientists, architects, planners, environmental specialists and surveyors, in addition to other design, program and construction management professionals. Our talented people are well positioned to deliver successful and sustainable projects, wherever clients need us. For more information about WSP, please visit www.wsp.com.
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