Richard McWilliams

Director, Sustainability,UK
The climate emergency we face means my children’s futures are at stake. We need to act collectively and quickly to tackle this urgent climate need.
Richard McWilliams
I lead our sustainability consultancy service, challenging clients on their net zero journeys and driving social, economic and environmental sustainability considerations into the heart of our service offer. My key area of focus is ensuring our industry tackles the climate emergency and drives the low carbon economy transition.

I have always been passionate about making and delivering change that delivers a positive impact on our environment and in our communities. I have been doing this in the built environment for over 25 years and right now my number one priority is tackling the climate emergency.

In the team, we help real estate and infrastructure clients establish and deliver strategies and programmes strategies with a focus on net zero, working with both existing and new-build assets. This includes leading the delivery of the Mayor of London’s two Retrofit Accelerator programmes.

I am committed to sharing our expertise with others so that our industry can address the climate emergency now. As a result, I also chair the business’ Sustainability Forum and serve as a Sustainability Ambassador for the Major Projects Association.

Q Which project are you most proud of being involved in at Turner & Townsend?

A. I have the privilege of leading the delivery of the Mayor of London’s Retrofit Accelerator for Homes programme. By providing London boroughs and housing associations with the technical expertise they need, we are revolutionising the way the capital retrofits its ageing and energy-inefficient housing to create warm, affordable and ultra-low carbon homes using a whole-house approach. Industrialised domestic retrofit will change the lives of many for the better, it will also play a significant role in the UK’s net zero journey and drive forward a green recovery.

Q How do you contribute to Turner & Townsend making a difference?

A. The climate emergency we face means that my children’s future is at stake. Every day I see my job as doing everything I can to make a difference, by inspiring as many people to help deliver and secure a safe and habitable future for the next generation. My role is to accelerate the pace of change and make it practical and achievable. Whether it is on the Retrofit Accelerator programme or large one-off office refurbishments, I highlight the difference we are making on actual projects.

Q What is the emerging trend in your industry specialism and how are you responding to this?

A. In the sustainability sector we have a once in a generational opportunity to create the future built environment sector that we have always wanted. One that is focused on outcomes and wider societal benefits, on guaranteed performance, on industrialisation, collaborative behaviours and really understanding what the purpose of our industry is. In response to this, our Advisory business offers a holistic service to clients where we are seeing convergence of requirements across the market drivers of sustainability, productivity and digitalisation – where sustainability is the ‘destination’, productivity is ‘the way’ and digitalisation is the ‘how’.

Career highlights

  1. Joined Turner & Townsend

    2015
  2. Secured GLA RE:FIT Programme Delivery Unit contract and appointed Innovation Lead

    2016
  3. Secured GLA Retrofit Accelerator for Homes contract and appointed Programme Director

    2019
  4. Secured GLA Retrofit Accelerator for Workplaces contract and appointed Programme Director

    2020
  5. Formed Turner & Townsend’s Sustainability business and UK Sustainability Forum

    2020