What role do we play in decarbonization?
September 12, 2023
September 12, 2023
The energy and resources industry is committed to reducing emissions. So, what role do consulting firms play?
The energy and resources industry is undergoing one of the most significant changes in our lifetimes. This is the transition towards clean and sustainable energy, which includes decarbonization—or the reduction and elimination of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions into the atmosphere.
Stantec plays a powerful part in decarbonization at every stage of the energy supply chain, from critical mineral extraction, to renewable energy generation, transmission, and distribution, to electric vehicle (EV) charging stations. As consultants, we believe in leading by example and are making progress in our own net zero roadmap.
Let’s take a deeper look at how Stantec is approaching decarbonization and how we’re helping our clients do the same by reducing their own greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
Decarbonization requires companies to think through the impact their operations have on the world. Hard topics must be addressed, and solutions must be proposed that inspire others to act on the greatest challenge of our life time—the climate crisis. Here at Stantec, we unite over 28,000 team members working in over 400 locations across six continents. How we operate our company and the actions we take have the potential to make an impact on the industry and communities around the world.
Our own business practices are a testament to our commitment to a robust environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) sustainability strategy. To minimize our environmental impact, Stantec is purposeful about reducing our business travel. We have implemented a flexible workplace strategy and our team members work from home or in size-optimized office space. When evaluating new office space, our leaders evaluate factors such as building energy efficiency and transit access. And we proactively purchase renewable energy.
Since 2010, we have measured, managed, and analyzed our operational carbon footprint and reported and validated our GHG emissions. We are proud to have an aggressive emissions reduction program in place to achieve our operational net zero commitment. In 2022, as a first step in achieving net zero operations, Stantec achieved operational carbon neutrality.
To further promote decarbonization, Stantec invests millions of dollars annually to fund research and grants that pursue innovative solutions. We know that innovation is essential in an ever-changing world, and our innovation strategy combines proven ideas with curiosity, creativity, and digital-forward approaches to find new ways to meet challenges that have a positive impact on our communities.
Based on our role as consultants in the built and natural environments, we assess our ESG impact and focus on the areas where we have the greatest impact, influence, and responsibility. For decades, Stantec has been partnering with clients to reduce environmental impacts, enhance social value, and adapt to our changing climate. In fact, in 2022, 60% of our revenue (approximately $3.4 billion) was connected to projects furthering one or more of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that Stantec directly influences. In addition, we have a team of dedicated climate action leaders to further support our clients’ climate action goals.
Our teams seek out strategic partnerships that focus on promoting the energy transition and environmental protections while also driving social equity. Whether reducing diesel use in an Indigenous community or combining wind and transmission to create the largest clean energy infrastructure project in United States history, we recognize that our strategic partnerships are vital to our ability to deliver sustainable design and solutions.
Decarbonization requires companies to think through every aspect of their operations. We must address hard topics, form creative partnerships, and inspire others to act too.
Our clients have made commitments of their own to a lower carbon future. To do their part, they are making huge investments in renewable energy generation. For example, one of our long-term clients, AVANGRID, has invested in three offshore wind projects that will produce 2.8 gigawatts of clean electricity once operational. That’s enough to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by almost three million tons per year. Together with AVANGRID, we’re helping to design and construct these projects that will generate 800 megawatts of electricity annually, power over 400,000 homes, and help support Connecticut’s clean energy goal by generating approximately 14% of the state’s electricity supply.
Another example can be seen in California where Stantec is partnering with a carbon removal startup to design a first-of-its-kind water treatment facility, deploying brine management and direct air capture technology. If the pilot phase is successful and can be scaled, the technology could be a groundbreaking, cost-effective solution that could increase water supply while offsetting the industry’s carbon footprint.
Decarbonization requires companies to think through every aspect of their operations. We must address hard topics, form creative partnerships, and inspire others to act too. It will take collective action to address the climate crisis—the greatest challenge of our lifetime.
In addition to reducing our own carbon footprint, our role as consultants is to help clients look critically at avoiding carbon emissions across their entire supply chain while continuing to provide sustainable and affordable energy to our communities. The industry is changing, and it’s up to us as consulting experts to work with our clients and tackle the challenges ahead together.