RSK Geosciences features in a Ground Engineering article investigating the carbon footprint of the engineering sector

March 16, 2021

News stories about the continuing coronavirus pandemic and Brexit are unavoidable, but there is a longer-term threat that has been overshadowed in the news recently: the climate crisis. The UK is hosting the UN climate change conference, COP26, in Glasgow in November 2021 and the global conference should herald a united effort to reduce our impacts on the climate to ensure that the planet thrives for future generations. RSK understands this and proactively rises to the challenge. Last year, we signed the Pledge to Net Zero: an initiative that commits organisations from the environmental services sector to leadership roles in the transition to a net-zero-carbon economy. This demonstrates our dedication to doing the right thing by developing science-based targets to reduce emissions, following the Paris Agreement.

RSK Geosciences recently contributed to a Ground Engineering article that examined how various companies and initiatives in the geotechnical engineering sector are contributing towards net-zero emissions and sustainable development goals, particularly in the UK. “Sustainable practices are playing an increasingly important part in reducing the carbon intensity of geotechnical projects,” begins Ground Engineering writer Ailbhe Goodbody. The article goes on to document how the sector contributes to the release of greenhouse gases because of the vast quantities of energy needed to extract raw materials, and subsequent measures such as transportation, construction, operation and maintenance.

An industry specialist outlines the complicated relationship between the construction industry and sustainable development regarding carbon emissions. According to the article, the main issue is the “understanding of the concepts of embodied carbon, embodied energy, operational carbon, carbon footprint and whole-life carbon”. The Ground Engineering writer notes the several challenges that are involved in implementing sustainable practices in the geotechnical industry; however, internal barriers feature heavily.

RSK Geosciences Director Tom Henman explains, “The geotechnical sector is traditionally conservative and slow to change. Drivers such as the need to work towards net zero are expected to gradually change this, with sustainability considerations being integrated into geotechnical design.”

Ground Engineering also publicises RSK Wilding, launched last October as a multidisciplinary team aiming to rewild land and capitalise on the biodiversity-net-gain requirements that are being introduced. “The team is focusing principally on former agricultural or other greenfield land, primarily to offset biodiversity and carbon impacts,” explains Tom. “The skills and knowledge gained on RSK Wilding projects are being applied to the brownfield land context and vice versa.”

Click here to read the long-form feature.