Collaboration key for unlocking sustainability progress for FIDIC

FIDIC, the International Federation of Consulting Engineers, is the global representative body for national associations of consulting engineers and represents over one million engineering professionals and 40,000 firms in more than 100 countries worldwide. As sustainability is an essential element of FIDIC’s 2020 – 2024 strategic plan, the article outlines the organisations commitments to reducing…

FIDIC, the International Federation of Consulting Engineers, is the global representative body for national associations of consulting engineers and represents over one million engineering professionals and 40,000 firms in more than 100 countries worldwide.

As one of FIDIC’s core principles, sustainability is an essential element of FIDIC’s 2020-2024 Strategic Plan. As an industry, there must be a push to embed sustainability in the day-to-day delivery, lives and operations; if done sufficiently, it should be possible to normalise and become part of daily operations and identity.

The climate challenge is one that no section of society can ignore if we are to achieve a sustainable quality of life. Never has it been so crucial that the entire infrastructure sector is engaged in action to address and tackle this challenge. 

The FIDIC Climate Change Charter launched at COP26 in Q4 of 2021 sets out, in basic, initial terms, how FIDIC can address climate mitigation, adaptation and resilience of the built environment in the years and decades to come.

The charter importantly also saw FIDIC, for the first time, undertake the measurement of its own carbon emissions. Specifically, FIDIC committed to the following:

  • Taking a science-based approach to reducing its carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions in line with guidance from the Greenhouse Gas Protocol working towards a net zero / 1.5 degrees centigrade of warming trajectory for Scopes 1 and 2 and covering Scope 3 as relating specifically to business travel and commuting emissions.
  • Developing a climate action plan to cover clean energy and decarbonisation across its operations, facilities, and activities.
  • Contributing to climate neutrality through best-in-class project support that offset FIDIC’s residual operational emissions after decarbonisation across operations, facilities and activities. 
  • Annual reporting on its climate action plan implementation includes details of its Scope 1, 2 and selected Scope 3 emissions reductions from 2023 in line with its science-based approach and aspiring towards the ISO 14064-1 standard.

“Reducing our carbon footprint is a collective effort and we invite our members, employees, partners and stakeholders to join us in our sustainability journey. Together, we can make a positive impact on the environment and create a more sustainable future for generations to come.

“Taking the initiative to measure our own carbon footprint is a significant step towards FIDIC’s commitment to sustainability. By taking responsibility for our environmental impact and implementing meaningful actions to reduce our emissions, we are striving to be a responsible organisation and contribute towards a greener future.”

FIDIC chief executive Dr Nelson Ogunshakin

FIDIC understood the challenge for this journey, and therefore looked to engage with the support and expertise of Positive Planet, a sustainability consultancy, to ensure accurate measurement and successful delivery. The chosen measurement period was established between January – December for 2019-2021, with work already underway to measure their 2022 carbon footprint. 

Positive Planet provided the measurement of FIDIC’s carbon footprint, with their most recent measurement (2021) highlighting total business emissions of 542 tCO2e. Following this, Positive Planet created a bespoke carbon reduction plan to support FIDIC on their carbon reduction journey. 

To ensure progress was achieved, bi-weekly catch-ups between the delivery team and Positive Planet where scheduled. Positive Planet also provided an online portal where all project members could message and supply data, documents and materials throughout the process.

From an internal perspective, FIDIC is focusing on establishing an accurate post-Covid benchmark to compare to 2019 data before exploring additional reduction methods. FIDIC is committed to improving data quality to increase the accuracy of future carbon footprint measurements. In the short-term, minimising travel company-wide is a priority to reduce organisational emissions. Whilst other sustainability steps FIDIC are looking to take include transitioning to paperless (unless unavoidable) and educating employees on the importance of carbon reduction.

To continue with momentum built up throughout the process so far, FIDIC has improved several templates in 2023 to better reflect its operational processes and allow staff to report carbon footprints throughout the year. Reducing the need for a single concentrated effort to collect data. 

Going forward, FIDIC is continuing to measure its carbon footprint for 2022 and there are also plans for wider collaboration with Positive Planet, including public and member-only webinars, material and training collaboration for Member Associations and Companies to start their carbon reduction journey.

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