The world is at a decisive point in the journey to securing a more sustainable future; it is widely understood that tackling the climate crisis and halting and reversing the decades-long degradation of the earth’s ecological systems go hand in hand. Without ecosystem protection and restoration, global society will not achieve its climate commitments.
WSP has been highlighting the essential role that biodiversity plays in a sustainable future, and driving initiatives to promote it, for many years. In late 2022, the UN’s biodiversity conference (COP15) was an opportunity to formalize and publicly reiterate our focus by adopting a Biodiversity Statement. The statement represents a set of guiding principles aimed at enabling WSP to engage further with our clients to protect, restore and enhance ecosystems.
Having established WSP as the leading environmental consulting firm with an unrivalled contingent of ecosystem and biodiversity experts, we believe it is our responsibility to ensure that wider discussions are grounded in a robust understanding of the science.
How has the acquisition of Wood E&I strengthened WSP’s ability to support the green transition?
Transitioning modern society to a cleaner future, with systemic changes in how energy is generated, transmitted and used, is an enormous challenge. Combined with ecosystem restoration and protection, water-related challenges, and climate change, society will most likely be significantly transformed in the coming decades.
The acquisition of the Environment and Infrastructure business from Wood brought an exceptional team of 6,000 environmental consultants to WSP. E&I enhances and consolidates WSP’s existing service offering with world-class expertise in water, environmental restoration, climate change advisory, and more. Given the importance of water related renewables in the future energy mix, including hydropower, offshore wind and tidal power, these skillsets will be instrumental in accelerating the green transition.
Our combined expertise means we can advise clients on every aspect of their operations, realigning them towards a low-carbon reality with ambitious near- and long-term strategies.
WSP’s net zero GHG emissions reduction target was approved by SBTi. How is WSP progressing on its net-zero journey?
In 2021, WSP committed to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions across our value chain by 2040, from a 2018 base year, supported with GHG emissions reduction targets approved by the SBTi. WSP’s 2022 Climate Transition Plan provides a roadmap, detailing the actions we will take over the next two decades to reach those targets.
We are already making significant progress against our SBTi-approved Near-Term Target, namely a 60% reduction in absolute scope 1 and 2 (market-based) GHG emissions and 30% reduction in scope 3 emissions by 2030.
By 2024 we have an objective to reduce scope 1 and 2 emissions by 40%, and scope 3 emissions by 15%. In view of the urgency, we have intentionally frontloaded our efforts in the early years and we expect to see the greatest acceleration over the coming decade.
Although we have had a slight rebound in scope 1 and 2 emissions since 2021, we remain confident in our ability to reach our targets through the initiatives detailed in this report and our Climate Transition Plan. For example, we are looking at how to source 100% of our office electricity from renewable energy, and electrification of our vehicle fleet, which collectively represent the majority of our scope 1 and 2 emissions. To address scope 3 emissions, we are starting to incentivize lower-carbon business travel and have implemented an engagement process with our business partners.
What social areas is WSP focused on?
For a professional services firm like WSP, it is perhaps clichéd but nonetheless true to say that our people are our greatest asset. The health and safety of our people is our top priority, whether in the office, on site, in the field or working remotely. This includes their physical health and safety and also their mental well-being. Building interconnected global teams based on mutual respect is central to our ability to innovate and develop pioneering solutions for our clients.
By driving a culture that fosters their emotional, psychological and social well-being, we create an environment where people feel empowered to express themselves, test ideas and push the boundaries. These principles are well established within WSP, but it is an ongoing journey; we are continually striving to be the best employer possible when it comes to holistically supporting our people. Furthermore, intentionally driving diversity, equity and inclusion within our ranks, and the projects we deliver for clients, is also integral to our corporate strategy.
Finally, our responsibilities are not limited to internal activities, or those of our clients, but extend beyond our organization. In 2022, WSP supported numerous initiatives in the wider community, including Nature Conservancy of Canada, Bridges to Prosperity and Water for People.
WSP is committed to prioritizing the well-being of our people, our stakeholders, the wider community and the health of the planet for the enjoyment of all.