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The right climate
The industry can’t afford to repeat its past mistake of being
slow to learn from experience – best practice must be promoted
more widely to combat climate change, says Ken Dalton
welcome the UK government’s new energy The low carbon economy will become a reality
strategy aimed at boosting renewables, which both because of climate change agreements, and the
was highlighted in last month’s Journal (August, need to ensure security of energy supplies.
page 14). Our industry has long advocated the To meet the challenge we must constantly check
need to tackle climate change. So, now that we have that our business planning processes result in the
strategies in place, how can we as an industry help development of new services and capabilities, which
it become reality? will meet future client needs. As such climate change
Our biggest impact on carbon emissions reduction, and other sustainability issues need to be firmly
and indeed in ensuring that the UK can be better embedded in our mindset, so they automatically
equipped to adapt to climate change, is through our affect the way we think about and plan our future.
project work. Regulations, carbon pricing, and other
It is no longer good enough for us to deliver instruments need to be rolled out effectively and
projects that are compliant with regulations – we in detail by government so as to support industry
need to act as advocates of solutions that significantly efforts. Government strategies like the Low Carbon
reduce carbon emissions. This requires long term Transition Plan are well
reductions over a project’s whole life cycle, in thought through and
addition to the immediate reductions made via should be commended,
energy efficiency measures. but it’s the attention
We need to demonstrate our commitment to to detailed policy challenge is
our employees and our clients by greening our implementation that
that many companies
own operations. The challenge here is that many tends to be lacking – and
companies, ourselves included, identify project and here the Government identify project and
operational carbon footprints separately. How do we needs to listen to industry
operational carbon
ensure that companies, and the industry as a whole, to be effective.
produce meaningful indicators showing progress The 80 per cent target footprints separately.
and relative performance in both areas? is hugely demanding,
We need to show
We can’t afford to repeat our past approach within but achievable. AECOM
the industry of being slow to learn from experience. wants to work with relative performance
The key here is training. At AECOM we already others in the industry
and progress
invest hugely in training, and we will have to invest and the supply chain to
further, and not just in our own people, but in our get there. We appreciate in both areas.
supply chain and industry bodies, so as to promote that it’s not a case of
new and best practice more widely. whether government,
Here I see CIBSE continuing to play a pivotal role. industry, or clients take the lead – we all have to.
I also recognise a need to support a construction As the Copenhagen Communiqué from the Prince
research and education infrastructure without which of Wales Corporate Leaders Group on Climate
we won’t have the talent necessary to enable the Change says (see www.copenhagencommunique.
transition to a low-carbon economy. com): “The problem of climate change is solvable ... The
We also need to do more to tell our employees, one thing we do not have is time. Delay is not an option.”
clients, supply chain and communities what we are We all need to step up a gear. l
already doing, and what more we can do to reduce
carbon emissions. Then we need to keep on telling
Ken Dalton is chief executive of AECOM Europe.
20 CIBSE Journal September 2009
CIBSEsep09 pp20 opinion dalton.indd 20 20/8/09 19:07:40
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