Global engineering climate change charter launched

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International engineering federation FIDIC (the International Federation of Consulting Engineers) has launched a transformative plan of action for the global engineering industry to decarbonise. 

As the global infrastructure sector looks to turn COP26 climate change ambitions into outcomes on the ground, the international engineering federation FIDIC has launched a Climate Change Charter, calling on engineers to take a leading role in global decarbonisation.

The engineers who design and deliver the world’s infrastructure and built environment have a key strategic role in ensuring the world tackles climate change and achieves net zero by 2050. So the new Climate Change Charter that sets out specific actions to be taken by individual engineers, companies, member associations and project teams and is calling on the engineering, construction and infrastructure industry to step up and commit to the charter.

Tony Barry, president of FIDIC, commented: “The world has been too slow to reduce climate change emissions. Even going into COP26, global leaders were still not yet in agreement about what needs to be done and how fast it can be done. As engineers, we work across the globe and we have the collective responsibility to inform and implement decarbonisation solutions and reduce other greenhouse emissions. This charter is a clear roadmap for ensuring we do that while eliminating our own climate impact during the process. I urge all organisations in the global engineering, construction and infrastructure sector to sign up to the charter.”

Dr Nelson Ogunshakin OBE, chief executive of FIDIC, added: “Climate change is an existential threat to nature, to the built environment and to the future direction of human civilisation. The engineers that design and build the human world will be more crucial than any other sector to shaping the world’s response and making a success of ending climate change and tackling the consequences of it. So, we have to lead by example.”

The Climate Change Charter represents a significant new call to action by FIDIC, the global consulting engineering industry body which represents over 40,000 companies and more than one million professional engineers and consultants operating in over 100 countries around the world. It sets out clear commitments and actions for reducing and eventually eliminating carbon and other climate emissions from the sector and has been drawn up with the support of experts from around the world.

Commitments include:

Companies: Develop and promulgate policies and corporate objectives which promote a climate responsible approach to business and projects; create a culture that encourages the development of net zero and resilient engineering solutions; and where realistically possible, support employees to work on projects that align with their professional preferences and desire for eliminating climate harm.

Individuals: Audit personal behaviours and thinking on climate change and consider how an individual can make a positive contribution; commit to expanding an individual’s knowledge on climate science and innovative engineering solutions that can mitigate climate change and make assets more adaptable and resilient; and be an advocate for net zero and resilient infrastructure solutions.

Project Teams: Include appropriate expertise in project teams to address climate change challenges; provide advice to clients which promotes carbon reduction objectives for their project; and assess and advise clients on risks associated with carbon emissions and their impact on climate change.

Member Associations: Advocate for the UN Sustainable Development Goals, sustainable development and climate change mitigation; encourage consulting engineers to adopt best practice in the areas of climate
change, demand reduction, carbon emission reduction and infrastructure
adaptation and resilience; develop policy and advocacy documents to address climate change in their country and for their industry; and contribute to government and industry policy discussion and debate.

FIDIC itself is also taking a lead in this process, including its own commitments in the charter.

Dr Ogunshakin said: “FIDIC has been working to decarbonise its own operations for some time and we are committing through this charter to upgrade our own internal activities, to take a science-based approach to reducing carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions further and to engage with best-in-class offset programmes to address residual operational emissions. We are also committing to annual reporting of scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions and we are proud to be leading this change and proving what is possible.”

You can read more about the charter and sign up at www.climatechangecharter.world