US engineer Aecom yesterday announced the launch of its strategy for reaching ambitious environmental, social and governance (ESG) objectives. The aim of "Sustainable Legacies" is to promote sustainable development, improve its social outcomes, achieve net-zero carbon emissions and enhance governance.
Troy Rudd, Aecom’s chief executive, said: "As leaders of our industry, we have a responsibility to embed ESG principles into everything we do, and partner with our clients and communities to advise on their efforts to advance complex, multi-decade sustainability initiatives."
As part of the plan, the company aims to make itself "operationally net-zero-carbon" by the end of the year. This will involve decarbonising its vehicles, switching its energy suppliers to renewable providers, cutting business travel by half, building carbon-minimisation into its supply chain and creating projects around "nature-based solutions".
For its projects, it has introduced ScopeXTM, an initiative intended to design out embodied and operational carbon across a project’s lifecycle. The aim here is to cut carbon on major schemes by at least 50%.
In terms of social outcomes, the company will pay attention to equity, diversity and inclusion in its own workforce, including a "near-term" target of placing women in at least 20% of senior leadership roles and 35% of the overall workforce. Project teams will reflect the clients and communities they are working with, and it will partner with SMEs to generate social value through "positive community investments".
As for the projects themselves, the company says it will deliver "inclusive, accessible projects that proactively improve social value outcomes for individuals, communities and society". It will also look for "innovative solutions that propel the industry forward".
Under the heading of governance, Aecom says it is developing a framework to monitor and audit ESG targets on an annual basis, and will track and report on its performance externally "in line with leading industry benchmarks".
Lara Poloni, Aecom’s president, said the tighter focus on ESG would help the company "stand out" as the construction company that could help clients to meet their social and sustainable goals.
She said: "Our clients have new, evolving priorities focused on sustainability and delivering social impact through their projects and services … By developing our strategy with a focus on advancing our ESG objectives and supported by the strength of our technical excellence, global collaboration and local engagement, we will continue to drive innovation in our industry while leaving long-lasting impacts on the communities we serve and the planet as a whole."
For more on Aecom’s Sustainable Legacies programme, click here.
Image: ESG goals have become more important for clients and investors over the past five years (Dreamstime)