The winner of this category is changing attitudes to sustainability everywhere from Helsinki to Sydney

Winner: WSP Group

Not content to follow the pack, WSP has proved itself a sustainability pioneer and is pushing the boundaries in everything from technological innovation to staff management. The firm, which counts the governments of Dubai and Australia among its clients, is leading by example across the globe. International projects include research into the energy efficiency of glazed office buildings in Sweden and the creation of a sustainable strategy for Helsinki. It has strived to get its own house in order too, with a programme to cut emissions and waste across its offices. Lincolne Scott, its Australian business, is already carbon neutral. Particularly impressive is a no-nonsense scheme to help staff tackle their own carbon footprints. Under the voluntary programme, each worker has a carbon allowance of six tonnes in the first year – those who exceed it will pay a fine, while those who beat it can claim a cash reward. The firm is also strong on pro-bono work – it helps UK charities develop environmental strategies free of charge.

Runners up

Atkins/ Faithful + Gould

Atkins and its QS arm, Faithful + Gould, take a collaborative approach to sustainability. They are working with Cardiff university, Greenwich university and the British University in Dubai on sustainable innovations, and advising Constructing Excellence on green issues. Their carbon calculator is free to download and is used by the Carbon Trust and Building Schools for the Future. Faithful + Gould is also developing a sustainable procurement guide for the NHS, largely on a pro-bono basis. Internally, the firms are also pushing hard. A database has been set up to measure environmental performance in each office and a training programme launched to educate all 18,000 staff about sustainability.


Good practice at this firm is driven by its sustainability group, which includes experts on materials, passive design, renewable energy and biodiversity, and works hard to encourage clients to use eco-friendly designs. A good example of its success is the Hale Village masterplan. The disused factory site in Tottenham Hale, London is to be transformed into a sustainable mixed-use development, using biomass boilers, rainwater harvesting and green roofs. The designs also include combined cooling, heating and power as part of a carbon-cutting energy system.


The BRE has been driving the sustainable agenda for almost 90 years and shows no signs of slowing down. In 2007, it began phase two of its innovation park, giving developers, manufacturers and architects the opportunity to showcase cutting edge design. The good news is the lessons learned are being shared with the 20,000 visitors who have come to the park, many of them schoolchildren. The consultancy has also advised Marks and Spencer on its sustainable construction programme and launched GreenPrint, a methodology to help boost sustainability in masterplanning.

Faber Maunsell

Faber Maunsell has added Defra's zero-carbon office building in Alnwick, a project with a BREEAM rating of “outstanding”, to its impressive clutch of schemes with an “excellent” rating. It has matched its distinction in the field with a commitment to social and ecological sustainability in its own offices. The firm invests 2.6% of turnover in training, contributes 1% of profit to charity and vigorously promotes recycling, green travel and ethical procurement. It is also involved with sustainable policy at the highest level - advisory work has included the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive and the Code for Sustainable Homes.

Waterman Group

Waterman recognises that clients can find it hard to keep up with the ever-changing world of sustainability and is working hard to keep the process as simple as possible. Its new framework, Future360, is designed to help steer a project through the process, ensuring sustainability is top of the agenda from the start. The group is also making its mark on the global stage - Workplace6, its waterfront office building, was Sydney's first building to achieve six starts under Australia's Green Star environmental accreditation. Closer to home, work includes advising the Crown Estate on energy infrastructure.