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Dr Katherine Maxwell to drive Sweco’s carbon management and resilience strategy as new Technical Director for Net Zero Cities.

We’re delighted to welcome Dr Katherine Maxwell, as Technical Director for Net Zero Cities to our Energy, Water and Environment (EWE) division.

Katherine brings 13 years of experience in the sustainability sector and will play a key role in developing our net zero and resilience service offering to strengthen Sweco’s profile in climate advisory space. We caught up with her to find out more about her journey so far and her vision for Sweco.

Tell us a little about your background, Katherine…

I’ve been working in the Sustainability sector for about 13 years. I started out in renewable energy deployment and low carbon transport across Scotland. Here I had the opportunity of working with a variety third sector clients and organisations including Changeworks and the Scottish Government.

My technical knowledge in energy and transport then led to advising corporates and small to medium enterprises on their climate impact at the Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation at the University of Edinburgh. Following that, in 2015 I decided to apply my technical expertise at a city scale, and completed a PhD in Sustainable Urban Development, qualifying in 2020.

I’ve worked for LSE Cities and C40 Cities providing technical and strategic support for cities around the world on their climate action plans and ensuring that these aligned with the Paris Agreement objectives. I then moved to WSP where I developed and led the Net Zero Cities team.

I am delighted that Katherine is joining the Sweco family.  She is a renowned expert in low carbon and net zero design having delivered leading projects for companies and city municipalities. She brings with her a wealth of experience in developing sustainable solutions and will be the key driver in building our net zero and resilience service offering for Sweco clients.

Gordon McGregor Chief Sustainability Officer

What are your main passions, professionally?

Net Zero is my primary area of interest and where I have the most expertise, particularly in carbon management and developing net zero strategies for cities. I look forward to building on Sweco’s work to date on sustainability and climate change by developing strategic advisory services for cities.

I’ve been fortunate enough to have collaborated with many cities in the global north and global south to identify carbon emission sources and provide recommendations for how to mitigate the impact of climate change in their net zero strategies.

My other area of interest is in urban resilience, which really needs to be considered alongside the net zero (mitigation) work. I’ve worked directly with cities in Africa and Latin America on how to futureproof infrastructure and communities. For example, back in 2016 I worked with municipalities in Chile to incorporate disaster risk reduction into local urban plans and provided guidance on how to enhance resilience. I think this is a growing area and that urban resilience will be a major priority at COP28 later this year.

On a broader scale my passion cuts across net zero and resilience. We are seeing a shift within cities from the design to implementation of climate action. This shift means that cities must consider how they will govern for net zero, access funding and identify the co-benefits of climate action. This is an area that I have increasingly focused on in my Visiting Fellow work with the University of Oxford and Cambridge, as cities need to deliver on their climate commitments.

We know our clients, and indeed society at large, need more support in tackling climate change and addressing resilience and adaptation, so I’m really excited that Katherine has joined us. As a recognised leader in her field, her areas of expertise complement and extend the skills we already have in net zero and the wider sustainability agenda. Her wider knowledge and client base will help extend our reach into city-scale customers and support our planned growth in this vital area.

Andy King Director of Energy, Water & Environment

What are your main goals for your role at Sweco?

My primary goal is to build on Sweco’s sustainability and climate change work to date. I look forward to collaborating closely with current Energy, Water ant Environment teams to develop and enhance our net zero and resilience service offering. I intend to support and strengthen Sweco’s climate advisory profile.

My aim is to also work at the UK level to influence and inform a broader approach to urban sustainability and enhance our cross selling so that we can effectively communicate the breadth of our service offering to our local authority clients. I will also look at leveraging the great work in other Sweco regions to build our UK offering.

A personal goal of mine is to support Sweco with equality and diversity. I’m particularly passionate about mentoring and supporting women’s development and encouraging progression into more senior roles.

What are you looking forward to most about working at Sweco?

I’m most looking forward to collaborating with colleagues on interesting net zero and resilience projects and supporting Sweco’s aspirations to become a leader within the net zero cities space. So far, I’ve enjoyed learning about the company and had the opportunity to meet some great people in Energy, Water and Environment and I am eager to start working across different teams and meeting Sweco clients.