Meet the rising talent driving the sustainability agenda at RPS

Our Sustainability team works with businesses across the UK and Ireland to plan, design and build the infrastructure needed to reduce their carbon footprint.  Made up of individuals who are driven by the green agenda, our people are passionate about sustainability, striving to build a better world for future generations.

 

Over the coming months, we will be catching up with some of the rising talent in our team, those who put sustainability at the heart of their solutions and whose passion for a greener future will help businesses reach their net zero goals and tackle the climate change emergency.

First up, we catch up with Senior Consultant, Andrew Tasker who believes strategy and science based targets could be the key to net zero success. 

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What’s the best thing about your role?

The opportunities.

Working within a multi-disciplinary company provides countless avenues and resources to support and innovate Net Zero Carbon (NZC). I work with a vast number of clients across numerous sectors which gives us a great depth of opportunity to make a difference and enact change for the better.

And the worst?

It may sound like a bit of a cop out, but, there isn’t a worst thing about the job. I admit that sustainability is a challenging career; however, these challenges are the things that I enjoy and come to work to solve. The opportunity for problem solving is what drove me to a career in sustainability from day one. If I had to choose one element, it would be the frustration of forcing climate change up the agenda. The recent white paper published around planning reform highlights causes for concerns with downplaying the role that sustainability can play and could mean that instead of being at the centre of reform it is seen as a hindrance.

 

Where do you think the biggest opportunities lie in the quest for NZC?

A holistic approach to business and projects is key, in sustainability we take a holistic approach and think about the big picture. When looking into NZC we also need to think about our impact, what we can do beyond our own operations and what we can do about the hidden emissions surrounding a person or a company supply chain.

What do you think are the biggest obstacles to overcome to achieve NZC?

I would normally say behaviour, this is always one of the hardest tasks to undertake a global change to the scale that is required for NZC. Perhaps we already have the solution with people like Greta Thunberg and Sir David Attenborough helping to change people’s behaviour. One of my worries is that through times of change and uncertainty, like the Covid-19 crisis, the NZC movement gets less investment as it takes a back foot to economic progress.

What would be the one policy you would implement or change in support of NZC?

Make it compulsory for companies to set a carbon reduction target in line with climate change science. This is a subject area where there is increasing interest, the idea of a ‘Science Based Target’. In making it mandatory for all companies, it will ensure with some level of confidence that we achieve this legally binding target. This would also drive investment in innovative solutions towards a low-carbon economy.

What are your predictions for 2049? 

Best case – We acted swiftly and transitioned through a low-carbon economy and achieved our NZC target early. The UK has become a carbon negative economy and the government and companies are supporting the more carbon heavy nations with their reduction targets.

Worst case – We acted too late to limit climate change and heat waves, extreme storms and droughts have become the normal. 

Whatever situation we may find ourselves in in the year 2049 I believe that the words of Ester Boseroup will still ring true ‘necessity is the mother of invention’. This means that if we need it, someone will invent it. We are seeing good levels of investment and innovation in the area of NZC and I believe that we will continue to do so into the future.

What’s the most important piece of advice you would give a client starting their NZC journey?

Start today! Devise a plan, begin to implement a strategy and measure your performance.

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