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Towards sustainable development: Reducing our carbon emissions.

Only 4 years ago we implemented a new sustainability strategy, based on the CO2 performance ladder tool in The Netherlands. Since then we have been able to lower our CO2 emission by 12% and broadened our project portfolio on sustainability.

To be sure that we have a sustainable future, it becomes more and more important to balance economic growth with the planetary boundaries without limiting the social needs of our society. At Arup we feel the responsibility to contribute in this transition. This also resonates in our mission statement 'Shaping a better world.'

In The Netherlands we use the CO2 performance ladder tool, provided by the SKAO foundation, to help us to map and reduce the emission. This resulted in the highest level certificate (level 5), being CO2 conscience.

Office and business carbon management

During the certification period between 2015-2017, we had an objective (based on 2014) to reduce our emission by 8% in all areas, per employee.

Due to rapid growth of people in our office the emission raise in 2015. In 2016 this stabilised again. Half way 2017 we were able to accomplish a significant reduction of electricity consumption by transforming to 100% wind energy for our office in Amsterdam. Slowly but surely, we are enhancing the sustainability of our vehicle fleet by using more hybrid cars and in the meantime we have the first fully electric operated cars in use. By the end of 2017 we achieved a reduction of 12% CO2, exceeding our own objectives.  


Our new objective for April 2020 is to reduce our emissions in air travel and in fuel driven cars by 5%. To do so we are raising even more awareness among our people in the office and encourage them to use video conferencing to avoid unnecessary use of air travel and other techniques to avoid extra CO2 emission. Looking at other objectives we have still some steps to take. To further reduce emissions we have introduced a new mobility plan that takes measures in reducing emission in business travel and commuter traffic.

At the beginning of October we organized the sustainability week that was a success among employees. It is important to continue to focus on consciously traveling, consuming food and energy use.

 

Shaping a better world

Our fundamental aim, as established in the Ove Arup Key speech, is to serve society and deliver meaningful work for a more sustainable development within the built environment. We recently committed ourselves to the 17 UN Sustainability Development Goals (UNSDG’s) by adjusting our businesses and doing research on how we can connect with the Paris climate agreement. We already have a policy on how we contribute to sustainable solutions for all our clients in the world and that is where we succeed and find our biggest challenge and opportunities.

In the past year we participated to the Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven with ‘People’s Pavilion’. People's Pavilion was the meeting place for creative thinkers and doers from around the world. Visitors had nine days of free access to meet-ups, presentations, performances, meetings and music events. This temporary building consisted for 100% of borrowed materials supplied by companies. The materials used were returned to the owners undamaged after the event.

Arup contributed to this radically new interpretation of circular construction. And with that a new future for sustainable buildings. The big challenge with this project for Arup was to develop a dismountable connection between the elements, without damaging these elements and at the same time guaranteeing safe and reliable use during the event.

This year four highly sustainable buildings were completed, where our design services delivered high energy and material efficiency: QO Hotel, Tacitusbrug, Dafne Schippersbrug and AMS15 Data centre

In our research project Cities Alive: Designing for urban childhoods we proposed a child-friendly approach to urban planning that is helping us to build successful cities that works, using 40 case studies from around the world.

In our current projects we contribute to the development of high quality sustainable infrastructure with the project A16 Rotterdam. For RWS, Arup contributed to the promotion of sustainable purchasing, resulting in a successful submission that included an “energy positive tunnel”. Furthermore, we found interesting opportunities on how to reduce CO2 emissions, like the 74 metres high timber residential building HAUT, and on how to contribute to the development of cities that are accessible and habitable for everyone with Merwedekanaalzone in Utrecht.

A full commitment to risk evaluation and communication with our clients and project partners is key. We are committed to constantly improvement of our quality related to skills, knowledge and process management in order to maximize the benefit for our clients from our expertise.  

 

Front view of the museum. Credit: Pietro Savorelli Front view of the museum. Credit: Pietro Savorelli

Changes inspire us

With our new insights on sustainability, we stimulate designers to enhance their knowledge and we are able to position ourselves in the market to influence other parties. We invest in our own research and seek collaboration with academics and commercial partners. 

As initiator of sustainable technology we take part in the innovation consortium in The Netherlands, to realise the Dutch Wind Wheel. A 174 m high building in Rotterdam that is an icon of sustainability.

We also invest in our own branch by taking part in sustainable initiatives. Arup is a member of the sustainability committee TC1, initiated by Bouwen met Staal and we take part in the Green Deal, Duurzaam GWW 2.0. We also partner with the Ellen McArtur Foundation (world leader in circular economy) by sharing our knowledge and we have an intense collaboration with Madaster, a registry bureau for materials in the built environment.

We live in an era where people more than ever rely on the knowledge of engineers and designers. They provide us the answers and have the solutions to our global challenges, like climate change, explosive growth of our population in cities and the scarcity of natural resources. At Arup we take responsibility in shaping a better world and take designing a more sustainable world very seriously.