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Looking to the future: Why our sustainability commitments matter to millennials and beyond

Published on March 31, 2021

By Harry Cross, Sydney Hougrand and Jade Garner

Environmental Consultants Harry Cross, Sydney Hougrand and Jade Garner from RSK’s environment, planning and design team (EPD) are members of the Junior Business Development Forum, a networking and business development initiative for EPD employees within the first five years of their careers. Below, they discuss their views on RSK’s recent signing of the Pledge to Net Zero and joining of the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi).

RSK’s recent steps in signing the Pledge to Net Zero and joining the SBTi, which commits to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to avoid their impacts on the planet and society, mark a significant shift for the company towards sustainability. In the last three years, RSK has furthered its resolutions with the creation of a sustainability route map and commitment to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Following these actions, RSK has made several key changes in the business such as the switch in energy supplier to SSE Green and the installation of charging points for electric vehicles at RSK offices.

Having fairly recently graduated from university, we have found that the importance of climate change is embedded into the foundations of our technical knowledge: it is evident and well understood that immediate action is required to mitigate the warming of the planet. From our perspectives, sustainability and the mitigation of climate change are priorities, are a passion and are at the tip of our tongues in both our personal and professional lives.

Jade, Harry and Sydney

“It was always an ambition of mine to become involved in projects that would make a difference to the environment, while working for a company that acknowledges and understands the importance of climate change and sustainability,” comments Harry. “I have been lucky enough to work at RSK since early 2019, and the company continues to fulfil my ambitions. The signing of the Pledge to Net Zero and joining the Science Based Targets initiative further highlight RSK’s commitment to these incredibly important global issues.”

Working for a company like RSK, which matches our sustainability ethos, is incredibly important. As the environment and engineering together form the core of RSK’s business, it is vital that we lead by example in reducing carbon emissions and transitioning to net zero. RSK provides junior members of staff with a platform to share thoughts and innovations and to contribute to corporate strategy, and we are incredibly grateful that we are encouraged to provide valuable and recognised input into RSK’s sustainability journey.

“It is fantastic to see RSK furthering its commitments and putting actions in place to help the UK achieve net zero by 2050,” said Jade. “I feel proud to work for a company that is putting sustainability at the forefront of its business and is playing a leading role in protecting the environment and tackling climate change.”

Recently, we have had the opportunity to provide ideas for RSK’s involvement in the upcoming UN climate change conference (COP26) that will be held in Glasgow in November 2021.

Looking to the future: Why our sustainability commitments matter to millennials and beyond

As RSK progresses on its sustainability journey and achieves its science-based targets, we are hoping to see the phasing out of inefficient vehicles, further investigation into electric fleet options, more office charging stations and further encouragement of sustainable behaviours through environmental volunteering days and the development of group green champions.

As an understanding of sustainable practices and behaviours spreads, it would be fantastic to see the strategy, which has been implemented at board level, filter down to each and every employee of RSK. Colleagues would take personal responsibility for reducing their carbon footprints and would actively consider their behaviour in relation to climate change and green living. RSK’s implementation of science-based targets will encourage innovation, driving our internal and external processes to be more efficient, and thus more sustainable. It is well recognised that RSK’s transition to net zero has the potential to benefit our clients as well, opening up opportunities for them to profit not just from the efficacy of our sustainable practices, but also from our influence that generates more sustainable outcomes in the projects that we are a part of. The road to net zero is very much a collective effort and we hope that our joining the SBTi influences and encourages our clients to consider climate change and sustainability from plan, project or programme inception, through to completion.

Committing to the Pledge to Net Zero and joining the SBTi are steps in the right direction and we encourage individuals and companies to join RSK on this journey. We anticipate that our commitments and initiatives will help to influence other businesses to follow suit and we look forward to sharing best practice across the industry, so that we can cooperatively progress towards a low carbon future. The reduction of carbon emissions is vital in maintaining and enhancing conditions under which humans and nature can exist in harmony, to maintain and improve social, economic and environmental requirements for today, tomorrow and beyond.

“It is incredible to be a part of a company that exemplifies sustainability environmentally, socially and fiscally and even more so to be given opportunities such as this to contribute to RSK’s march towards a carbon-neutral future,” concludes Sydney. “RSK presents opportunities, not just to voice our ideas and passions, but also to amplify them, enabling our ambitions to become part of the fabric of RSK’s corporate strategies. RSK’s commitment to the SBTi is another step in the right direction, establishing the company and its employees as key players in the fight against climate change.”

We look forward to the announcement of specific targets in the next few months and we are excited to play a part in achieving these.

Interested to know more about RSK’s next generation and how joining RSK offers young innovators (and more experienced ones!) the opportunity to make a difference? Jade, Sydney and Harry would be happy to answer your questions. You can see our latest vacancies on RSK’s careers webpage.

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