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Business

Blueprint for a different kind of sustainable environmental consultancy  

Is it possible to prioritise the quality of client deliverables and wellbeing of employees whilst optimising financial objectives? If any industry should be leading the transformation away from the ‘growth at any cost’ model it is this one. 

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Policy & legislation

UK’s progress on biodiversity framework 

Environment Analyst reviews progress towards the Kunming-Montreal nature targets agreed at COP15. Even as biodiversity net gain is mandated, environmental groups are calling for greater ambition and urgent action to protect UK nature.

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Biodiversity

BNG: the ‘world’s most powerful tool’ for nature investment?

Biodiversity net gain (BNG) became mandatory for new developments in England from February. The Environment Bank has already created over £100m worth of tradable BNG units – offering a globally scalable model – but concerns remain about BNG's long-term viability.

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Water

Pressure mounts for systematic water-related risk assessment

Companies should be doing more to assess water-related supply chain risks and engage with suppliers to manage them, says global disclosure organisation CDP.

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Business

Career support and inclusion head up concerns for early careers professionals

Results from our early careers survey point to five common issues shaping the decisions and development of those looking to progress their sustainability careers.

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Policy & legislation

Extending UK ETS is vital but also vexatious, say experts

Pulling more sectors and industries into the UK’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) is critical to lowering emissions, but the economic costs need to fall on the right players, according to delegates at a WEET conference.

Sustainability/ESG

Designing for resilience and regeneration: Arup shows the way

Global warming risks making cities uninhabitable for humans in many parts of the world. Countering this trend is an inclusive, holistic, “regenerative” approach to design.

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Sustainability/ESG

Beyond the controversy: a strategy for beyond the value chain

Before the conversation turned to SBTi’s corporate net zero policy shift, the organisation had produced detailed guidelines for implementing beyond value chain carbon mitigation. They deserve our attention.

Climate & carbon

Consulting firms lead the way on data sharing for net zero buildings

Where sustainability is concerned, the construction industry does not rate highly. Environmental and design consultancies are playing a major role in making the sector’s rich data resource accessible for practical action.

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Biodiversity

New standards offer promising signals for emerging UK nature markets

Environment Analyst looks at how nature markets are set to develop as investor interest grows and the first dedicated standards to support the sale of high-integrity biodiversity credits in the UK are introduced.

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Sustainability/ESG

A planetary perspective: how consultancies can raise the game

As humanity pushes past Earth system boundaries, sustainability experts will be painfully aware of the disconnect between frameworks and targets and what’s needed in reality. How can they reconcile the disparity?

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Sustainability/ESG

Impact update: evolving strategies for climate mitigation and ESG reporting

In the second instalment of this special series, Environment Analyst examines how consultancies are responding internally to the complex challenges of climate change mitigation and measuring their wider sustainability impacts.

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Energy

UK strategy for clean hydrogen reaches tipping point

The UK has lost its early lead on clean hydrogen and is slipping down international development rankings. The outcome of the second project funding round, HAR2, will be a bellwether for the future of the nation’s hydrogen economy.

Water insight 2024 cover
Water

AMP8: Can record investment reshape the water industry?

Insight: The next five-year asset management programme (AMP8) could see £96bn spent on improving Anglo-Welsh water infrastructure. As consultants prepare for unprecedented levels of demand, we ask: how have we got here, and how could the next five years change the course of the water sector?

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Business

English-speaking world dominates latest E&S consulting M&As

Notable acquirers in the environmental and sustainability advisory space in recent weeks include Anthesis, NV5, WSP and ERM, demonstrating interests in climate data management and reporting, social justice and GIS.

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Sustainability/ESG

Impact update: consultancies advance their climate leadership journeys

Environment Analyst delves into the latest crop of annual ESG and sustainability reports from professional service firms to assess progress in climate action and disclosure, as the march towards science-based net zero continues.

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Policy & legislation

Cross-sector collaboration to push planning reform for net zero

Multi-stakeholder initiative aims to influence the UK planning system ahead of the election, to help streamline delivery of energy projects that meet climate goals — without compromising local environments.

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Biodiversity

UK pioneers geospatial tech for biodiversity improvements

Geographic Information System (GIS) technology is revolutionising the processes required for delivering biodiversity mandates and improvements — and the UK is setting the bar.

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Climate & carbon

SBTi removes climate pledges of top consultancies before revisiting offsets rule

Consultancies are among those with long-term carbon reduction commitments marked as ‘removed’ from the SBTi dashboard, although an update to its offsets policy could see a reversal of some of these.

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Sustainability/ESG

More consultancies disclose to CDP, but fewer make ‘A list’

Firms must pick up the pace of decarbonisation and disclosure with high-quality ESG data, or risk being downgraded. Environment Analyst scrutinises the latest CDP climate scores for consultancies.

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Sustainability/ESG

Whole systems approach must underpin sustainable urban development

Reducing carbon emissions from the built environment requires a move away from silo-based carbon counting towards a circular, whole systems approach, or the ‘super cities’ of the future risk being environmental disasters.

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Business

PE investors enable UK sustainability specialists’ ongoing expansion

The UK’s largest sustainability and circular economy consultancies are pushing ahead with global expansion plans, announcing acquisitions in the US, Germany and Australia.

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Policy & legislation

Spring budget misses growth potential of net zero

The spring budget included some boosts for the UK’s net zero ambitions, alongside incentives for waste management and planning, but missed the opportunity to deliver a coherent green strategy that could also address economic growth.

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Energy

Diversity in people and skills will power a just transition

Diverse workplaces and new skills will be critical to the energy sector’s chances of delivering an equitable and successful low-carbon transition.

Energy

Hydrogen strategy starts to deliver but lacks long-term vision

The UK government has backed up its commitment to green hydrogen — part of the country’s decarbonisation strategy — with policies and funding rounds. But to maintain momentum it needs to ramp up ambition, say experts.

Biodiversity

Skills bottleneck could jeopardise biodiversity net gain

Defra’s biodiversity net gain (BNG) has been described as the most ambitious biodiversity policy in the world. But the growing shortage of ecologists in consultancy and planning could be a major constraint on its success.

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Energy

Policy transformations could make nuclear viable

A radical new roadmap for nuclear power will only succeed if three ducks are correctly aligned: finance, planning and site availability. This time, they just might be.

Decarbonation challenge pipeline UK
Policy & legislation

Catching up with CBAM: heavy industry is impatient for action

The UK will implement carbon border taxes in 2027. Better late than never, say manufacturers, trade bodies and the public.

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Sustainability/ESG

On the ground and global: Nestlé tackles sustainability at scale

The world’s largest food and beverage company is nothing if not ambitious when it comes to sustainability. Attendees at Environment Analyst’s 2023 UK Summit got a taste of its approach.

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Digital

Expert Opinion: How AI can give rivers a voice

Using AI and machine learning to interpret data from sensors in water sources can help anticipate and minimise polluting or flooding events.