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WSP purposeful impact harnesses its collective influence for good

WSP purposeful impact harnesses its collective influence for good

 December 06, 2022

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At a time when climate and biodiversity crises are deepening, and social inequality is worsening, the potential for companies to use collective influence for good – to have impact with purpose – has never been greater. That’s why net-zero and creating social value have become key drivers for WSP, central to the company’s purpose as set out in its three year 2022-24 growth strategy. This includes clear commitments to:

  • become carbon neutral in its UK operations by 2025, on its way to being SBTi-accredited net zero globally by 2040 
  • create GBP 120m of additional social value in WSP's communities by 2024 
  • halve the carbon of its designs and advice in the decade to 2030 

With such an ambitious sustainability agenda, each team needs to deliver tangible progress to achieve this shift in how WSP does business. Step forward WSP's Local Government team who have been supporting WSP's sustainability agenda with its employees, clients, and the wider society since it formed in 2021. The team advocates for WSP’s sustainability approach, collaborating with others across the firm to provide direction, and helps to implement monitoring of the environmental impact of WSP’s designs and advice on the climate crisis. 

 A lifelong sustainability advocate

WSP Sangeeta Chauhan

Sustainability is a key strategic and operational imperative for WSP.

WSP Project Manager for Sustainability in the Local Government discipline, Sangeeta Chauhan [pictured below left], has a strong passion for sustainability that started well over a decade ago. She has since pushed boundaries in different sectors and now supports WSP’s commitment to become carbon neutral in UK operations by 2025, on the way to STBi-accredited net zero globally by 2040.. A lifelong sustainability advocate, Sangeeta focuses on communicating the importance of advancing a greener, safer and inclusive environment for all. "So much has changed in how we operate – 10 years ago, who would have heard of hybrid working?" says Sangeeta. “Creating sustainable value engineering and net-zero mindsets first – all contribute to repairing mother earth.”
“From humble beginnings listening to Showaddywaddy and Bay City Rollers whilst my Mum was sewing saree blouses as she worked from home, I was sure of only one thing. And that was to do something that would stretch my mind, remove barriers to bring peace to the soul, and give that passion to deliver my work in such a way that it would create a ripple in getting others to look at things contextually, the causes and effects and how everything is relative and connected,” explains Sangeeta.

Inspiring young people into STEM careers 

WSP Sangeeta Chauhan Tori Pope

Sangeeta started her career in human resources where she made her mark by recruiting the first female firefighter in the West Midlands, inspiring young people into science technology engineering and mathematics (STEM) renewable sector careers, to teaching ICT in secondary schools when the government introduced improvements to the curriculum towards computer science and technological innovation. 

“I completed my BA, PGCE, and CIM (Fellow) in the evenings and seriously joined the construction sector within Interface and Stakeholder Management, delivering undertakings and assurance agreements made with local authority clients, impacted by the design of Curzon Street and Interchange HS2 Stations," explains Sangeeta. "It was during the writing of the Business & Tourism Sustainability Legacy Strategy as part of Birmingham’s Commonwealth Games 2022 that nudged me towards the bigger part I can play in achieving WSP's net-zero and wider ESG commitments.”
So far, this has provided Sangeeta with an interesting journey. Sangeeta is now responsible for driving climate resilience and decarbonisation into design and advice, through the Local Government’s leadership with clients on sustainability.

Working in the environmental sector

WSP Sangeeta Chauhan Tori Pope

A graduate consultant for Local Government, Tori Pope [pictured above left], is a sustainable changemaker and an inspirational woman to watch out for. Tori uses her enthusiasm to inspire further young women to follow their passion, and through her work she tackles long-held misconceptions about climate change and global warming.

“I had an inkling that I would end up working in the environmental sector after studying Geography at school. I genuinely loved the lessons. My teachers were an inspiration to me, and I decided to continue my studies at the university,” explains Tori. “This led to four years of studying towards a BA in Geography and MSc in Environmental Management. This time helped me to develop a strong mentality that I wanted to make some positive change in the world. WSP was my first choice of employer, in order to implement the learning I accumulated through my studies.”

WSP ranks highly across industry

Tori shares that WSP is ranked highly in the industry, with exceptional clients, but also good employee reviews.

“I decided I'd put in an application for WSP's Graduate Scheme. I was then matched to an interview with the Local Government Sustainability Team. The interview confirmed what I had learned previously - that the company excelled in this area with a team that was welcoming and friendly. It was by far the most comfortable I'd felt in any job interview I had ever done,” reflects Tori. 

“Now I am at the very beginning of my career where I get to shape how we consider and implement net-zero strategies as a discipline, and support change on the ground with our clients. I've been with WSP for just under three months and my highlight has been getting involved in organising and supporting our LANZAROTE (Local Authority Net Zero And Reducing Other Transport Emissions) sustainability event, which brought WSP clients to collaborate and discuss lessons learned on projects that considered net-zero. Such interaction really embodies the collaborative nature of tackling climate change, and I'm proud of how our activity within this area has developed and progressed.”

Tori is aiming to achieve Chartered Environmentalist status within five years and in line with WSP’s commitment to halve the carbon in its designs and advice between 2020 and 2030, wants to support projects that present reduced carbon materials as an obvious choice for the environment, proving that being sustainable is an effective solution for all.

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