One year on – Beca’s commitment to combat the climate crisis

Today marks the one-year anniversary since Beca joined 60 companies from across New Zealand in a pledge to commit to taking action on climate change. Amelia Linzey, Beca Board Member and Sustainability Steering Group Chair discusses the actions Beca has taken to tackle the issue affecting us all.

“We’re taking climate change seriously,” says Amelia. “While we have been undertaking sustainability reporting for nearly a decade, joining the Climate Leaders Coalition has been a real catalyst for further step change. For the past year, we've taken a number of actions to make tangible progress in our sustainability goals.

We have established a Sustainability Steering Group (SSG) whose purpose is to lead the integration of focused sustainability principles into our core business and market operations; to drive the agenda and actions to reduce our footprint; and to maximise our handprint through helping our clients. Over the past year, the SSG has been developing a Sustainability Framework that will outline our approach to embedding sustainability principles in everything we do as well as identifying the actions associated with our two priority areas for 2019/20: reducing carbon emissions and promoting liveable cities (sustainable urbanisation).

In terms of climate action, we strongly believe we need to ‘walk the talk’. We are in the process of setting our own science-based emissions targets (the reductions we will make to our carbon footprint), and I’m excited that we’ll soon be in a position to publicly confirm our targets. In the meantime, we’re progressing work on the actions we can take to improve our carbon efficiencies.

One initiative is reducing the emissions from the buildings we occupy through building tuning (B-Tune) which we're currently putting into Beca House in Auckland. We've already experienced noticeable benefits from implementing this in our Wellington office – Aorangi House – which is now one of the most energy and carbon-efficient buildings in New Zealand. We're expecting this could provide emission reductions in the order of 40 tonnes of carbon emission per year.

We see the advice and designs we provide clients as having the most scope for us to make a positive difference in reducing carbon emissions. First up, we're identifying opportunities to reduce emissions for every job we set up; an action embedded in our internal Project Management system. Our next step will be to start identifying ways we can measure and report on the contribution we are having to reducing carbon emissions in the designs and services we deliver our clients.

Our second area of focus – liveable cities/urbanisation – provides us with the opportunity to be involved in city-shaping projects and measure how our actions contribute to the sustainable development of a liveable city. Project Auckland is one such example of where we are integrating our sustainability focus.

We know that the response to these issues is both an urgent one, but it's also complex and relies on us collaborating with clients, partners and our communities. Our approach will continue to evolve as we constantly think what we can do differently to make everyday better. We will continue to work with the Climate Leaders Coalition and look for initiatives to respond to the climate crisis.”

About the Climate Leaders Coalition

The Climate Leaders Coalition is serious about tackling climate change. On their first anniversary, they have released a snap shot report detailing the progress of the coalition and the launch of a second, higher ambition pledge. Read their full press release for more information and to download the report.