The construction and the wider built environment is the largest sector in the world and perhaps has the biggest impact on the environment and on people’s lives. With growing social inequality and so many nations across the world adopting targets to become net-zero carbon emitters, the bar for those working within the sector is set very high.

The COVID-19 pandemic has shone a spotlight on global social division and has accelerated the need for investment to address unprecedented levels of inequality.

We must create a built environment which takes the lead in reducing direct, indirect and consequential emissions from its activity, through sustainable design, delivery and management of infrastructure, built assets and in the use of natural resources.

The challenge for leading organisations will be to meet this bigger, longer-term goal of creating a built environment that is the catalyst for our world’s sustainable future.

Having impact

Our ambition is to place this challenge at the heart of our industry, to help our clients grasp their role in making the built environment part of the solution. It starts with us getting projects and portfolios set up for success with whole-life sustainable value being the starting point defined by our clients.

The ongoing development and integration of our Programme Advisory team working with our specialist asset management team, AMCL, have enabled many of our global clients to set themselves up to deliver long-term value.

An example of this is the global water sector, where, due to rising demand and climate change, the sector is under unprecedented pressure to meet the objectives of providing safe, reliable drinking water, and effectively collecting wastewater so it can be returned to the environment.

We are working with clients around the globe, including Sydney Water and Thames Water, to help them transition towards new delivery models that will drive efficiency and better performance on their projects, ultimately delivering sustainable value for their customers, through reduced consumption and lower bills. We are delighted to have recently delivered the largest greywater project in Africa for Stellenbosch University.

We are also proud of our contribution to climate change research undertaken by our team in Antarctica. Leading global scientists have been deployed to help form strategies to combat climate change and search for bio-renewable energy, using the facilities we have helped create.

With investment in alternative fuels such as liquified natural gas and renewable energy growing, we have been helping an increasing number of energy and mining clients execute their strategies during their active transition.

Throughout the pandemic of recent months, we have played an active role in supporting projects to treat those affected by the virus, as well as helping our clients keep vital services running across sectors such as energy, communication, transport and utilities.

In the UK, we have mobilised a team to support a vaccine development programme which aims to find the vaccine for COVID-19 that could be used globally.

Sustainable communities

The drive for sustainability has become more pressing and governments are putting this at the centre of their agendas.

This year, we supported a number of local states and governments, including Birmingham City Council in the UK, to programme manage the creation of its clean air strategy. It will benefit their communities and help accelerate its transition into becoming a zero-carbon smart city.

Our industry must go beyond the objectives of creating new assets; we have to improve and connect communities for their sustainable future.

We are working on some of the most exciting projects and programmes that are having a real impact – from New Zealand’s largest infrastructure project and its first underground railway to connecting remote, rural communities in need of economic growth through the construction of a series of small airports across the Highlands of Scotland.

As a business, we are also investing in our own programmes and initiatives to support communities. Whether that is through our pro bono business support for projects in Africa, our industry partnerships and global initiatives, or through our social projects to help indigenous young people become part of Australia’s reconciliation journey, we are striving to play our part in helping societies thrive.

Establishing trusted partnerships

In the post COVID-19 world, the built environment will need to stand up and be able to demonstrate the return from its activities and investment in terms of the environmental, societal as well as economic value generated.

We continue to invest in our business to improve our ability to help clients set up their programmes in a way that delivers sustainable results. We are passionate about creating an industry that can be the catalyst for creating and operating assets that provide a sustainable future for all.

Related projects

Find out more about how we're helping our clients work towards a sustainable future.