Energy, Environment, ESG, People Spotlight, Sustainability, Water

Our People Spotlight series gives you an inside look at our technical experts around the world. This week, we are highlighting a principal consultant who works across our Environment and Energy, and Water business lines in the United Kingdom and Ireland, and providing an insight into their inspiration and work. 

Lucy Latham joined AECOM in 2023 as a qualified sustainability professional with nearly 15 years’ experience leading international sustainability programs and delivering environmental consultancy services. Lucy delivers ESG projects for our private sector clients, as well as a variety of projects focused on urban development and sustainability, including with the World Bank and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.  

What inspired you to join the industry? 

My love for nature sparked my early interest in studying environmental science, which I was lucky to have the opportunity to study at school. This interest further developed while I was pursuing my degree in the field, as I learned more about how interrelated environmental and social issues are — as well as the challenges and opportunities around connecting human development with the protection of our natural environment. 

My first role was in a small consultancy in Newcastle, supporting an electric vehicle accelerator project and, following this, I was offered a post to support Newcastle University understand its scope 3 transport emissions. This role broadened my experience by covering a wider variety of environmental projects and was my first opportunity to develop skills in operational environmental sustainability. When applying to AECOM, I was attracted to the consultancy environment as I knew it would give me exposure to lots of different and new areas and give me the opportunity to build my technical knowledge. 

My love for nature sparked my early interest in studying environmental science, which I was lucky to have the opportunity to study at school. My first role was in a small consultancy in Newcastle, supporting an electric vehicle accelerator project and, following this, I was offered a post to support Newcastle University understand its scope 3 transport emissions. This role broadened my experience by covering a wider variety of environmental projects and was my first opportunity to develop skills in operational environmental sustainability.”

What is your favorite AECOM project that you’ve worked on and why?  

I am currently working with an industrial client to identify and procure a new Environment, Health & Safety (EHS) digital solution to support them in managing and reporting their EHS performance across numerous international sites. To select this solution, we developed technical and business needs specifications, following a series of stakeholder consultation workshops and assessed, shortlisted and interviewed several vendors in partnership with the client.  

The project has involved lots of stakeholder dialogue, which I really enjoy, to ensure that the selected software solution is fit for purpose and meets the needs of the business and users on the ground. We also dove deep into the software platforms, met the vendors and heard them pitch their products and technical capabilities. The client required a solution that was accessible and intuitive for its floor workers, including providing mobile phone access, but had the necessary analytical functionality for its EHS managers to conduct their reporting and improve performance. The client hosted in-person workshops in two of its main geographic hubs with the final-stage vendors to trial the software and evaluate the user experience; engaging with colleagues across different business units, job levels and geographies helped demonstrate the software’s global application. Getting under the surface of these different software solutions and having a critical eye to draw out any gaps between their offer and the client’s requirements has been an interesting challenge and learning opportunity.  

Digital EHS was a new area for me as well as my first opportunity to manage an AECOM project. It has been a very rewarding learning experience and a great opportunity to collaborate with colleagues across AECOM’s global business. Working across multiple time zones and ensuring everyone is abreast of activities and developments has been particularly challenging – attention to detail when organizing meetings is a must! 

I am currently working with an industrial client to identify and procure a new Environment, Health & Safety (EHS) digital solution to support them in managing and reporting their EHS performance across numerous international sites. The project has involved lots of stakeholder dialogue, which I really enjoy, to ensure that the selected software solution is fit for purpose and meets the needs of the business and users on the ground. Getting under the surface of these different software solutions and having a critical eye to draw out any gaps between their offer and the client’s requirements has been an interesting challenge and learning opportunity.”

Tell us a story of how your work positively impacted the community. 

Very soon after joining AECOM, I got the opportunity to support colleagues who were developing a suite of materials — including training slides, practical tools, and a guidance report — for C40 Cities (a global network of nearly 100 mayors of the world’s leading cities that are united in action to address the climate crisis) to help the network better understand the importance of equity and inclusion in infrastructure and embed actions within their sustainable infrastructure projects. The vision for the project was to equip planners and city officials with the tools to address these issues head on, enabling sustainable development whilst improving access and quality of life outcomes for all. 

Working with the C40 Cities Finance Facility (a project set up to facilitate access to finance for climate mitigation and resilience projects in cities), our project team developed a guidance document which examined the various entry points for embedding equity and inclusion across the project preparation cycle. We also developed interactive trainings on equity and inclusion considerations across four key sustainable infrastructure sectors: nature-based solutions, net zero buildings, solid waste management and mass transit.  

I was excited to engage with something I care deeply about that could potentially drive meaningful positive change in cities and communities globally.  

It was also a great first lesson in AECOM’s Sustainable Legacies strategy and our commitments towards embedding sustainable development and resilience and improving social outcomes. We hope these brilliant resources will support other projects across AECOM and identify more opportunities for integrating equity and inclusion into our service offering.

Working with the C40 Cities Finance Facility (a project set up to facilitate access to finance for climate mitigation and resilience projects in cities), our project team developed a guidance document which examined the various entry points for embedding equity and inclusion across the project preparation cycle. I was excited to engage with something I care deeply about that could potentially drive meaningful positive change in cities and communities globally”

Share a piece of career advice. 

Be open to trying different things – you never know which project, person or conversation is going to lead to an interesting new opportunity. 

Originally published May 13, 2024

Author: Lucy Latham