Skip to main content
Start of main content

Stantec UK calls for a whole systems approach to climate change


National strategic leadership, backed by joined up policy across government departments is needed to tackle the challenges of climate change.

  • Effective, cross-cutting policy which can be delivered through local, place-based initiatives
  • Increased cross-sector collaboration, to break out of silos
  • Better data, knowledge and skills training

As the second week of COP26 gets underway, Stantec UK is calling for whole systems approach, across industry sectors and government, to deliver tangible action on climate change.

The appeal is prompted by insight gathered at a workshop with clients and stakeholders from across private and public sectors aimed at exploring the drivers and blockers to dealing with climate change.

Lack of strategic leadership from Government and the absence of joined up policy emerged as the biggest challenge preventing action across industries.

Participants from development, energy and transport sectors also called for more effective cross-sector collaboration to overcome fragmentation in sector as well as the need for better data, knowledge and skills.

The discussion, which was facilitated by the UCL Climate Action Unit, set out to explore the interdependencies between sectors and identify how different industries can collaborate to tackle blockers.

Participants were clear about the need for clearer regulation, standards and guidelines to create a level playing field across competitors in the market. 

In sectors, particularly development, it was felt that regulation was too piecemeal and needed better end-to-end planning to be effective.  Many agreed that more action and funding is needed to encourage and enforce retrofitting of homes and across commercial uses.

The workshop also identified areas where action was being taken at company level and through industry-led initiatives. Setting net zero targets was seen as a necessity as well as a business opportunity with the general consensus that companies which do not respond adequately will not survive in their sectors.

Keith Mitchell, regional director for infrastructure at Stantec, said: “Change is happening at a furious pace. But it’s still not happening fast enough. The problems we face are systemic. We need to break down silos and collaborate across industry and government in a joined-up approach that puts places first.”

Kris de Meyer, neuroscientist and director of UCL Climate Action Unit, said: “We sometimes fail to take action because we feel utterly helpless to change a situation. Psychologists call this ‘learned helplessness. But focusing on positive examples of changes created energy in the group. Participants valued listening to different perspectives from different sectors.”

Claire Pearce, Director of Planning and Economic Development at Salamanca Group and Gravity “Leading transformational solutions in places like Gravity that adopt a strategic response to both climate change and economic restructuring requires vision, ambition and passion to make a difference. This has to dovetail with finance, consents and delivery to compete in a global market place and ensure the UK can host international occupiers that can help us achieve a step change in responding proactively to climate change”.

As part of its continued commitment to industry-leading sustainable practices worldwide, global design firm Stantec has pledged to carbon neutrality by 2022 as a first step in achieving net zero operations. In doing so, Stantec continues to demonstrate leadership in aligning itself to the most ambitious aim of the Paris Agreement―to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

Specifically, Stantec has committed to set science-based emissions reduction targets, for all three scopes, in line with 1.5°C emissions scenarios. Furthermore, Stantec has committed to a long-term target to reach net zero emissions in line with the criteria and recommendations of the Science Based Targets initiative.

For the latest Stantec insights from COP26 visit here.

About Stantec
Communities are fundamental. Whether around the corner or across the globe, they provide a foundation, a sense of place and of belonging. That's why at Stantec, we always design with community in mind.

We care about the communities we serve—because they're our communities too. This allows us to assess what's needed and connect our expertise, to appreciate nuances and envision what's never been considered, to bring together diverse perspectives so we can collaborate toward a shared success.

We're designers, engineers, scientists, and project managers, innovating together at the intersection of community, creativity, and client relationships. Balancing these priorities results in projects that advance the quality of life in communities across the globe.

Stantec trades on the TSX and the NYSE under the symbol STN. Visit us at or find us on social media.

Stantec Media Contact                                                                                  
Kellie Young                                                           
Stantec Media Relations                               
Ph: (44) 1189-520670                              

End of main content
To top
Run Modes: s7connect,crx3,nosamplecontent,publish,crx3tar
Build Version:
Build Date: 2022-43-28 08:43:59