Key focus on the environment at flagship infrastructure conference in Geneva.
The key issue of sustainability and climate change was the issue of the hour at the opening session of the FIDIC Global Infrastructure Conference in Geneva today, which focused on Delivering sustainable solutions for a better tomorrow.
In a keynote address, Raphaël Bello, Director for Finance and Human Resources at CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, said: “CERN is dedicated to sustainability because or stakeholders, supporters and staff all want it and it really is a must-have for us. It is the right thing to do. We are committed to sustainability, now and into the future.”
Bello made the point that politicians had a key role to play in the journey towards a more sustainable world and there needed to be an absolute focus on influencing them on the industry’s behalf.
Susan Reisbord, CEO and managing director of Stantec, highlighted the importance of the social and economic impact of their work, which she said was front and centre to everything they did as a company. William Cox, chief executive officer at Aurecon said that they were focused on “not just our clients, but also our clients’ clients – the ultimate end-users of the things we build and create,” he said.
Cox also made the point that young people coming into the industry wanted to see a demonstrable commitment to sustainability from the organisations that they work for and that was increasing shaping attitudes and actions in the corporate world.
Thomas Rohner, professor for building information modelling and timber construction at Bern University, said that there were 17 UN sustainable development goals and there needed to be an absolute focus on achieving all of them. Rohner said that the attendees at the conference had it within their power to make things happen and fashion a more sustainable world.
Closing the session, FIDIC CEO Nelson Ogunshakin made an impassioned plea for engineers to enter the political arena. “We don’t want to lose anyone from engineering but if we have to then I hope that people move into politics because we need more political leaders who understand the importance of engineering and infrastructure and the positive difference it makes to society and to people’s lives.”