As a water and environmental firm our work directly impacts the environments where we live and the ecosystems around us. We understand that while the outcomes of our projects matter, we can leverage our effort through embedding principles of sustainable design into our project delivery and achieve a greater impact.
In 2017, we developed and released our inaugural Corporate Social Responsibility report. It included a goal to add more Institute of Sustainable Infrastructure (ISI) certified Envision Sustainability Professionals (ENV SPs) in our practices and to establish a comprehensive process to collect environmental, social, and governance statistics on our projects by 2020. This self-examination has shown us how much we have achieved thus far and adds to how we understand our current and potential impact in the communities where we work especially in relation to our municipal clients.
Sustainable infrastructure certification
The ISI Envision Framework serves as our consistent, consensus-based resource for sustainable infrastructure design, operations, and construction. The company has increased the number of ENV SPs by 60 percent, adding to our talented team of sustainability professionals who share the Institute’s knowledge throughout our practices. Going forward, we are encouraging more sustainability education and training and to enhance knowledge sharing so more employees can familiarize themselves with the framework available for sustainable infrastructure development. We are excited to strengthen the collaborative work between existing and future ENV SPs and our design, operations, and construction teams to continue delivering the most sustainable projects for our clients.
Climate, resilience, and sustainability consulting
In addition to our existing expertise, discussions, and strategic initiatives, our experts developed a Climate Change, Resilience, and Sustainability Workgroup two years ago. The group’s goal is to unite experts and interested individuals and create space to share knowledge, contribute to, and continue to build our scope of climate change, resilience, and sustainability services. Group membership and activity has consistently increased as we work to expand our services to address this growing need for additional sustainability support.
Concrete environmental, social, and economic improvements
In our municipal business practices, we drafted a list of economic, environmental, and social metrics to collect from projects. We are currently formalizing a process to gather this information. In the meantime, the following is a summary of some achievements made in partnership with our clients last year:
- Our New England stormwater compliance practice helped more than 20 communities reduce stormwater pollution, protecting over 2,400 miles of waterways and 14,000 acres of lakes and ponds.
- We helped water suppliers across the country improve fire protection at over 200,000 properties.
- We helped produce more than 50 billion gallons of safe drinking water treated to stringent health and regulatory standards, while also addressing pathogens, lead, and PFAS.
- We planned the creation of sustainable water supplies benefiting over 4.5 million consumers and 20,000 acres of prime agriculture lands.
- We worked with communities to help them remove more than 2 billion pounds of pollutants and return over 800 billion gallons of clean reclaimed water to the environment and reuse systems.
- We collaborated with hundreds of stakeholders to enhance the sustainability of 200,000 million acre-feet of critically impacted groundwater resources.
- As the spread of COVID-19 shed light on the importance of outdoor sports, recreation, and open space for the community’s health and wellbeing, we helped connect people to the outdoors by planning, designing, and/or providing construction administration on nearly 200 acres of parks and athletic facilities, including 25 miles of walkways and trails, 31 athletic fields, and 4 running tracks.
- We improved the flood resiliency of more than 100,000 homes and businesses across the country, representing over $100 billion in real estate assets and critical infrastructure.
- Over the past five years, our Utility Finance Team secured approximately $1.4 billion dollars in grants/loans for critical infrastructure work including public works infrastructure, including drinking water, wastewater, stormwater, ecological restoration, environmental remediation, and community/economic development for local and regional projects.
Engaging with our communities
Infrastructure investments, when targeted appropriately and implemented in a conscientious way, can help create more equitable communities. By expanding our understanding of equity and its relationship to how we build and maintain our infrastructure, we become leaders on this front in our communities.
With the appointment of our first Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Manager, we are proactively working to bridge the opportunity gap by building more equitable recruiting and hiring practices. There is still much work for us to do in this area, however, our investment in internal systems, external networks, and partnerships we hope to engage directly with underrepresented communities in our industry.
We have the opportunity and ability to drive significant social and environmental change in a positive way. We are proud of our accomplishments, focused on inherent challenges, and inspired by the opportunities we see before us.
Want to learn more about our impacts?
To discover more in-depth information and examples of our environmental, social, and economic impacts while working with our municipal clients, visit the following expertise pages and connect with the right Woodard & Curran expert: