COP26, ESG, Sustainable Legacies

As the world looks to Glasgow for the COP26 conference on climate change, we’ll be discussing some of the changes our industry needs to make and reflecting on the COP debate on the AECOM Blog. Join the discussion on social media by following us on Twitter and LinkedIn. Find more information in our special COP26 edition of our “Future of Infrastructure” report:

For almost three decades, the ‘Conference of Parties’ (COP) summits have brought together world leaders to discuss action on climate change. At AECOM, we understand the issue’s urgency and we are helping our clients reduce their carbon emissions and achieve their net zero ambitions. Our Sustainable Legacies: COP26 Report – published specifically for this global conference – shares insights from our network of experts and innovators who are always looking for new solutions to these critical challenges.

“As we look to the COP26 conference in Glasgow, we’re at a pivotal moment in dealing with this challenge. We’re excited to play our part in this global conversation and moment of climate action,” said Troy Rudd, our chief executive officer. “AECOM’s Sustainable Legacies strategy, launched earlier this year to ensure that the work we do in partnership with our clients leaves a positive, lasting impact for communities and our planet, serves as a roadmap for our engagement.”

Approximately 70 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions come from infrastructure construction and operations such as power plants, buildings, and transport, according to the World Bank. Our COP26 report illustrates the potential infrastructure could play in the battle against climate change.

“We all know that the challenges of the climate crisis can only be overcome by working together,” said Lara Poloni, our president. “We’ve identified priority actions needed in the fight against climate change for each of the COP26 themes – finance, energy, nature, resilience, transport and cities. In each of these areas we highlight practical solutions that improve environmental and social outcomes while tackling climate mitigation and improving resilience.”

To download the special edition of our Future of Infrastructure thought leadership report, please visit Key articles include:

Finance: Many companies have created sustainability reports, but often these exist as standalone documents unconnected from core business decisions. Now, as Business Sustainability Director Sally Vivian argues, climate considerations need to run through every aspect of business and financial decision making. We take a look at what this entails with food ingredients producer Tate & Lyle, who we’ve been advising on how to integrate climate risks and opportunities into their current enterprise-wide risk management framework.

Energy: Our second article concerns the transition to a zero-carbon economy. Energy market sector lead Toby Uppington argues that the issue’s complexities necessitate a holistic approach involving an interlinked appraisal of infrastructure, how it interfaces with and uses energy, while also considering the ways in which energy is generated, transferred and utilized.

Nature: AECOM’s Chris White draws on his experience creating and managing a landmark project rewilding the Scottish Highlands to talk about protecting and restoring natural ecosystems. The Natural Capital Laboratory is restoring 100 acres of forest, capturing data about environmental conditions at the site and acting as a live experiment to develop, test, and commercialize new tools and approaches for better managing the environment. Just two years in, it is already inspiring a similar project with the Western Australia Biodiversity Science Institute.

Resilience: In partnership with one of Singapore’s largest sustainable infrastructure companies, we’ve been looking at solutions to the issue of water scarcity – a major issue in this water stressed nation. The Keppel Marina East Desalination Plant (KMEDP) is the world’s first large scale dual-mode water desalination plant, winning awards for innovation, as AECOM Scott Dunn and Keppel’s Executive Director Goh Eng Kwang discuss.

Clean transport: Our global transportation electrification lead Andrew Bui teamed up with Ben Prochazka, director of the Electrification Coalition, to look at the roadblocks to the scaling up of the switch to electric vehicles. In this article they discuss accelerating consumer acceptance and uptake of this new technology, arguing fleet owners have an opportunity to lead the way.

Cities: Over half the world lives in cities, making action in our urban centers critical to delivering on climate goals. Cities leads Andrew Jones and Stephen Engblom look 50 years into the future to consider how cities could evolve to meet our environmental and social needs. With the right policy steps, they see a new role for town centers as civic hubs at the heart of communities.

Originally published Oct 25, 2021

Author: AECOM Editors