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Why is working in a zero carbon community important to me?

Sustainability By Ola Young, Engineer, Structural Engineering – 26 November 2021

Sprawling field of sunflowers, a wind turbine is in the front right of the image with another just visible in the back left


Ola in a short sleeved top stood in front of a brick office wall

Ola Young

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As a business, Cundall has committed itself to strengthen its alliance with designing for a sustainable world, working with clients and the industry to transition to delivering energy and carbon solutions necessary to keep global heating below 1.5 degrees. Our approach is to drive change from a bottom-up approach, engaging everyone in every office, every discipline at every level to share knowledge and deliver responsible solutions within our industry.

Since starting at Cundall, I’ve had the opportunity to work closely on a local office scale with representative green teams, working our way to implement positive practices in our day-to-day life. Following on from University studies, on completion of the Cundall diploma, it was my first real look into specifically how, as an engineer, I could contribute to designing responsibly in collaboration with a multitude of disciplines and areas. Now on a global scale, I have been given the chance to be part of the core team, preparing the way to create a community within the business, supporting, inspiring and empowering friends and colleagues as they grow to adopt zero carbon practices within their own core decision making.

One of the greatest challenges that we have faced on this journey is breaking down barriers and re-evaluating team mindset, reaching out to the wider Cundall network with the focus on renovating resource and knowledge, rather than reinventing business which can seem very daunting!

Secondly, by looking for clarity in definitions and using a pre-determined standard methodology in procuring zero carbon practices, which is very comforting for an engineer, we found this restricts the overarching goal on a business scale. It is important to be accountable for the statements that we are making, however, by following industry standards alone, it is cushioning targets. We are striving to be more ambitious, moving away from a reliance on offsets as an excuse to meet our targets, utilising them only in areas where technology has not formally developed, and responsible manufacturing behaviours not established.

To reach zero carbon is a nine-year initiative, with a short-term goal of creating zero carbon pathways on all our projects by December 2022. I’m looking forward to seeing the industry mature and grow, working with my colleagues to make this next step a reality.