Environment, Equity Diversity & Inclusion, Sustainability, Sustainable Legacies

Environmental Business International, Inc. and its awards selection committee recently announced winners of the 2021 Business Achievement Awards spanning the environmental and climate change industries. Entries in various categories are submitted to the award programs representing two separate publications: the Environmental Business Journal (EBJ) and the Climate Change Business Journal (CCBJ).

Read more about the winning projects submitted by AECOM and on behalf of our clients below and in greater detail at EBJ and CCBJ.

AECOM Diversity and Inclusion: Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) Launched
Won by: AECOM
Award: EBJ, Diversity and Inclusion

AECOM launched a robust Employee Resource Group (ERG) program with six groups worldwide: Women’s Leadership Alliance, Ethnic Diversity Network (Europe), BeBOLD, Pride, Juntos and Mosaic, with plans to expand. These employee-led teams have executive-level sponsorship, formal business outcomes, and charters and by-laws, creating a sense of belonging and generating an inclusive environment. ERGs are the latest addition to AECOM’s award-winning ED&I initiatives and support AECOM’s ED&I pledge, “When we feel free to be ourselves, we thrive.”

Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) 1st U.S. Digital Interactive Tier-1 Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)
Won by: Arizona Department of Transportation
Award: EBJ, Project Merit: Interactive Transportation EIS

The Federal Highway Administration and ADOT published the first fully interactive transportation Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) in the U.S. This new format is easily accessible, user-friendly and includes digital features such as zoom-in-maps and clickable layers of information. Regulators and the public were engaged and gained a deep project understanding, demonstrated by 3,000 views of the digital EIS in just 75 days. The groundbreaking platform facilitated a broader, more inclusive audience than traditional EISs and set the bar for industry transformation.

BASF Rensselaer Ecosystem Restoration Project
Won by: BASF
Award: EBJ, Project Merit: Hudson River Remediation

Hudson River sediment adjacent to the nation’s oldest dye manufacturing facility in New York was historically impacted by a variety of inorganic and organic compounds. Remediation included 39,000 cubic yards of dredging, installation of a five-acre sub-aqueous cap and habitat restoration. AECOM’s ecologically enhanced sub-aqueous cover system created a series of ecological habitats, allowing wildlife to move freely between the river and the upland buffer in this urbanized environment. The remedy is fully integrated with BASF’s larger sustainable site development and Engineering with Nature goals.

Coal Ash into Cement: Innovative CCR Pond Closure Design
Won by: CenterPoint Energy
Award: EBJ, Project Merit: Ash-to-Cement

CenterPoint Energy created a complex, ash-to-cement solution involving removal of approximately 6.8 million tons of ponded coal ash, resulting in restoration of a former stream valley in Indiana. AECOM constructed an innovative mile-long pipe conveyor and repurposed a barge-loading facility for transport of select ash to a cement plant. Laboratory results characterizing the ash’s composition were built into a 3D environmental visualization model to guide material reclamation. This pond closure project reduces landfill waste, reduces costs to end-users, protects groundwater and restores the environment.

Digital AECOM
Won by: AECOM
Award: EBJ, New Practice Area, Digital Consulting & Software

AECOM established a brand new, global digital practice around three pillars: creating world-class software for the digital marketplace; advancing customer-focused, digital consulting/advisory; and ensuring internal digital excellence. At market entry, AECOM released two environmental and ESG-related applications: PlanEngage™ and SewerLogic™. Because its consulting/advisory applications portfolio has grown so large, AECOM developed a fully interactive, digital exhibition for customers. AECOM is organically building a world-class global digital organization driven by multi-year investments.

Sustainable Legacies
Won by: AECOM
Award: EBJ, Industry Leadership

AECOM’s Sustainable Legacies environmental, social and governance (ESG) strategy embeds sustainable development and resilience across our work, improves social outcomes, targets net-zero emissions and enhances governance. Our ambition is to achieve science-based net-zero, having already achieved operational net-zero in 2021. ScopeX commits us to 50% carbon reduction from major projects. Our Thrive EDI program delivers social equity by understanding community needs and incorporating them throughout our work, and our enhanced enterprise risk framework assesses and mitigates ESG risk in potential projects.

Climate Resilience Study for Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA)
Won by: Airport Authority Hong Kong
Award: CCBJ, Industry Leadership: Airport Resilience

AECOM crafted a Climate Resilience Study to review and strengthen HKIA’s operational resilience and adaptive capacity to a changing climate. The study used scenario analysis to develop a climate adaptation and resilience plan based on prioritized physical climate risks to key assets and operations, and a transition risk analysis to examine potential impacts associated with the transition to a low-carbon economy. HKIA is one of the first Asian airports to publish a Taskforce on Climate-related Finance Disclosures Statement, setting precedence for other airports.

Henvey Inlet/Nigig Power/Pattern Canada
Won by: Nigig Power/Pattern Canada
Award: CCBJ, Project Merit: Low Carbon Energy

Henvey Inlet First Nation ⁠— through its subsidiary Nigig Power Corporation — partnered with Pattern Canada to develop the 300 MW Henvey Inlet Wind LP project, generating clean, renewable energy for approximately 100,000 Ontario homes. This one-of-a-kind venture is both the largest single-phase wind project in Ontario and Canada’s largest First Nation wind partnership. AECOM obtained the environmental permits/approvals and coordinated and implemented an environmental management system. AECOM also executed environmental construction monitoring to minimize harm to species-at-risk.  

Natural Capital Laboratory (NCL)
Won by: AECOM, The Lifescape Project, Emilia and Roger Leese, The University of Cumbria
Award: CCBJ, Industry Leadership: Natural Capital

The Natural Capital Laboratory in Scotland develops innovative approaches for tackling biodiversity and climate emergencies, with a focus to reduce costs of acquiring and analyzing data through technology to remotely monitor and support estimates of environmental net gain. The 100-acre living laboratory documents site rewilding, testing and trialing technologies to measure and monitor environmental change. The team’s 60 specialists bring expertise in rewilding, natural capital, ecology, water, landscape management, acoustics, AI, VR and stakeholder engagement. NCL also collects information around the environmental, economic and social impacts of rewilding by developing models and valuation estimates. 

Systemwide Climate Vulnerability Assessment for Transportation Major
Won by: Metrolink
Award: CCBJ, Project Merit: Climate Change Adaptation & Resilience

As the United States’ third largest passenger rail system, Metrolink has long been prepared to handle periodic flooding, wildfires and go-slow heat orders. However, with the increasing frequency of extreme weather events and a large dependent population, Metrolink commissioned AECOM to complete a systemwide Climate Vulnerability Assessment/Adaptation Plan. Leveraging stakeholder insight, AECOM developed climate adaptation strategies to address the most vulnerable parts and users of the network. Strategies were prioritized by assessing feasibility and co-benefits and cost-of-inaction case studies, organized into an actionable implementation plan. 

Victorian Government Rail Infrastructure Alliance
Client: Rail Projects Victoria
Submitter:  The Rail Infrastructure Alliance (RIA), comprising John Holland, CPB Contractors, AECOM, Rail Projects Victoria and Metro Trains Melbourne
Award: CCBJ, Advancing Best Practices: GHG Mitigation

The Metro Tunnel Project creates an end-to-end rail line to untangle the City Loop so more trains can run across Melbourne, Australia. RIA’s strategic and innovative approach to delivering sustainable outcomes integrated sustainability into plans, designs and delivery. Poured concrete is tracking 43% reduction of Portland cement, equaling 25,129 tCO2-e embodied emissions saved. The project also saved 988 tCO2-e of embodied emissions through smart design and sustainable materials in the bridge, while purchasing 100% GreenPower for the three main site offices. Biodiesel generators with B20 biodiesel fuel powered lighting/ventilation units for tunnel works.

Henvey Inlet Wind Project, Ontario, Canada
Originally published Mar 9, 2022

Author: AECOM Editors