Environment

Our approach

As a leading global provider of environmental consulting services, we are acutely aware of our responsibility to reduce our environmental footprint through the effective management of our offices and assets, business activities and client project work.

Environment is a key focus area within the UN Global Compact and, as a signatory, we strive to embrace its core values and promote these values within our sphere of influence.

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August Martin, Principal Consultant, Austin, Texas, US (photo provided by City of Austin Office of Sustainability)
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Demonstrating climate leadership and collaboration

August Martin, a Principal Consultant at ERM based in Austin, Texas, United States, collaborates with industry, government, academia and students to address climate challenges at the local and regional levels.

August completed the Climate Reality Leadership Training though former US Vice President Al Gore’s Climate Reality Leadership Corps in October 2017. As a Climate Reality Leader, he collaborates and presents ideas on climate leadership to potential and current clients, community groups, civic leaders and various other stakeholder audiences. In November 2017, August spoke at his alma mater, Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana, to representatives from the private sector, university staff and professors, and students from the chemical engineering and environmental health sciences departments and the School of Public Health on “Making Climate Change Tangible: Adaptation, Behavior Change and the role of Business.”

He has served on the Alumni Board of the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine since the spring of 2014. He was named as Director of Student Outreach, which involves collaborating with Career Services and various university departments to provide relevant programming to students in the areas of career planning, community development, training, mentorship and access to industry professionals in various fields of study.

In collaboration with the City of Austin’s Office of Sustainability, August lead the successful efforts for ERM’s Austin office to become a member of the Austin Green Business Leaders at the Gold level.

We support a precautionary approach to environmental challenges, and we undertake initiatives to promote greater environmental responsibility and encourage the development of environmentally responsible technologies and products. Principle 15 of the Rio Declaration 1992 states: "in order to protect the environment, the precautionary approach shall be widely applied by States according to their capabilities. Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall be not used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation."

ERM's Executive Committee has primary responsibility for our environmental performance. ERM's Global Sustainability Policy and our Sustainability Approach guide our environmental management approach.

Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions

We recognize the benefits of setting GHG emission reduction targets in line with climate science.

Following the Paris Agreement at COP21, there is momentum for business to adopt more ambitious targets to keep global temperature increases below 2°C compared to pre-industrial temperatures.

We have been looking at industry-based methods and approaches for setting medium- and long-term carbon targets that are appropriate for our business and growth ambitions. We concluded that targets based on science that specify how much and how quickly we need to reduce our GHG emissions to support the Paris Agreement are the most appropriate. Targets adopted by companies to reduce GHG emissions are considered “science-based” if they are in line with the level of decarbonization required to keep global temperature increase below 2°C compared to pre-industrial temperatures, as described in the Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

In FY18, we proposed 1-year and 5-year GHG targets based on science. We will be submitting our 2025 and 2050 targets to the Science Based Targets Initiative for validation in early FY19.

Green buildings

We are progressively relocating our offices to more resource-efficient buildings and to areas with improved public transport links to help reduce the commuting footprint of our employees. A number of our offices have been recognized by building councils and local authorities for their reduced environmental footprints.

Our sustainability network works at the local level to identify and help improve environmental performance across our offices worldwide.

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Using our old Dell laptops to reduce childhood exposure to lead poisoning in India

Two years ago, ERM established a scheme with Dell, whereby some of our old laptops with a resale value are sold and the proceeds are donated to the ERM Foundation.

These funds are being used to support Pure Earth’s work in Bihar State, India, to counter the pollution effects of the informal recycling of lead acid batteries in residential communities. To date, the funds received through the Dell scheme have translated into $50,000 grant funding for this initiative, plus $12,000 from the US Foundation grants program. ERM employees in India have also provided pro bono technical support on site.

Pure Earth is a member of the Global Alliance on Health and Pollution, which has recently published a landmark report in the Lancet, revealing the true impact of pollution on public health. Through the ERM Foundation, we are able to make a small contribution to combatting these devastating effects.

Project impacts

The services we offer clients provide many opportunities to help reduce environmental impacts and drive innovation throughout the world. Our projects relate directly to critical issues, such as climate change, waste management, natural capital, resource efficiency (water, land use and natural resources) and biodiversity – each of which is identified within the SDGs. ERM also provides both strategic and technical advice to clients on understanding, managing and measuring product sustainability and life cycle impacts.

While we continue to take steps toward reducing the impacts of our operations, it is clear that our work for clients forms the largest part of our sustainability footprint. Stakeholders have challenged us to undertake more effective measurement and disclose the impacts we have through our client projects. We continue to explore and refine our methodologies in this complex area of work.

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Climate change

FY18 target

Adopt ambitious GHG targets based on science.

Result

Senior management approved ambitious GHG targets, which we will submit to the Science Based Targets Initiative for validation in FY19. 

See FY18 performance

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