What's your view?
What does sustainability mean to you? Let us know at nce.co.uk. Or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This survey is being produced in association with Halcrow. See the back page for more information on the company, or visit
Water and powerWorking with two of the most sustainability-aware clients in the UK has given water business regional operations manager Helen Samuels a keen awareness of the standards that can be attained. "We do a lot of work for the Environment Agency and the South West Regional Development Agency (SWRDA)," she explains.
"They are both trailblazers in sustainability, and that in turn influences us and gives us knowledge that we can take to other clients – particularly in the private sector, where there is a perception that sustainability means spending more money."
Samuels is project director for SWRDA's ambitious wave energy hub off the coast of Cornwall. Wave Hub gained planning approval two months ago, and earlier this month won the sustainability award at the Institution of Engineering & Technology's annual innovation awards.
"What we've learned from clients like that has enabled us to consider sustainability very early – always having it on our minds, not coming along as some sort of add-on at a later stage," she says. "It's become a habit for us now, and I genuinely believe that we're able to influence those clients for whom sustainability is not one of their core values, and demonstrate that it doesn't automatically mean spending more money."
Knowledge transfer underpins Samuels' understanding of what sustainability means. "It's important that we pick out the parts of the world where there is excellence in different areas. We can learn a lot from other parts of the world," she says.