Sustainability Report 2015

Our performance

Environmental footprint

We recognize the need to continue improving our own environmental performance 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 them within our sphere of influence.

As a company and a steward for our clients, we support a precautionary approach to environmental challenges, undertake initiatives to promote greater environmental responsibility and encourage the development of environmentally responsible technologies and products.

ERM's Executive Committee has primary responsibility for our environmental performance, with local performance coordinated by office sustainability teams. ERM's Global Sustainability Policy and our Sustainability Approach guide our environmental roadmap.

Globally, ERM uses a software system to improve the monitoring, management and reporting of its environmental, community and thought leadership data. This enables us to manage information in a more efficient, integrated, timely and user-friendly way, as well as to improve business performance. We have a network of focal points in every ERM office responsible for collecting data and supporting local management with the analysis of performance and creation of improvement action plans. In FY16, we will be refreshing this approach to form a Sustainability Network to strengthen our engagement with employees, drive performance at a local level and implement efficiencies in our sustainability reporting process.

As required under our company-wide Safety Management System (SMS), each of ERM’s business units around the world must complete an annual environmental aspect assessment to identify significant environmental impacts. The SMS also requires that we conduct an environmental risk review before initiating or modifying significantly any client project.

The work we do for clients provides many opportunities to help reduce environmental impacts and drive innovation throughout the world. Our projects relate directly to critical issues, such as greenhouse gas emissions, waste management, natural capital, resource efficiency (water, land use and natural resources) and biodiversity. ERM also provides both strategic and technical advice to clients on understanding, managing and measuring product sustainability and life cycle impacts.

We continue to develop innovative approaches and tools to create business benefits for ourselves and our clients and collaborate with third parties on solutions to global sustainability challenges.

Green buildings

We apply our expertise to make improvements as we open, renovate or move to new offices, incorporating lessons learned on each occasion. We are steadily 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. We minimize the office space we require through smarter building designs and new working practices. This, in turn, decreases heating and cooling costs and related emissions. A number of our offices have been recognized by building councils and local authorities for their reduced environmental footprints.

Project 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.

In FY15 we tested draft methodologies for quantifying the sustainability impacts of client projects as part of an internal innovation project. The ERM Foundation has adapted the methodology for measuring project impacts and applied it through an online tool, which is being piloted currently with selected projects. The Low Carbon Enterprise Fund is piloting a second methodology, developed by members of the ERM Sustainable Finance team to understand the social and environmental impacts of our investments into low carbon enterprises.

During FY16, ERM will continue to develop a range of methodologies to measure the impact of our work for clients, and determine the best application of these methodologies for different types of projects. We also will continue to refine the tools that clients can employ to enhance sustainability-based decision-making. This work builds on our involvement with the consortium developing the Natural Capital Protocol, an initiative led by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.