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Sustainability at Sweco

Solving the greatest societal challenges of our time is more relevant and inspiring than ever before. Together with our clients and employees, we shape the sustainable communities and cities of the future.

The world is in transition. We will have to deal with resources differently. Whether that is space, energy, materials, water or other scarce goods. This requires the necessary knowledge and cooperation. Sustainability is in our DNA, in projects and our own business operations.  ‘Sustainability by Design’ is our guiding principle,  anchored in the Global Goals for Sustainable Developments (SDGs).

Our vision on sustainability, the measures we take in our global business operations, matching ambitious KPIs and the impact that Sweco makes come together in our Group sustainability report for 2021, which can be downloaded below.

At Sweco, we aim to be a role model in sustainability, taking responsibility for and being part of the solution to society’s sustainability and carbon reduction challenges. Our commitment is to do more to support and challenge our clients in delivering innovative solutions through expert consultancy and high-quality design.

Max Joy President Sweco UK

Sweco UK & Ireland’s journey to reach Net Zero by 2030

Sweco is in the unique position of not only designing the sustainable communities and cities of the future, but also working with clients and partners to help transform society as a whole with positive outcomes for all.

We have delivered carbon efficiencies and positive environmental impact across thousands of projects to date, and our teams of multi-disciplinary sustainability experts pride themselves on sharing climate insights with clients and professional institutions alike. But we know that even more must be done to avert environmental catastrophe, and quickly.

By focusing first on our Environmental, Social & Governance ambitions over the next five years, and going on to achieve Net Zero by 2030 (10 years earlier than the Pledge To Net Zero’s actual deadline of 2040), we aim to become the go-to environment partner for clients who need to set and meet their own climate action ambitions in line with local and global targets.

View public reporting data for our Pledge to Net Zero performance here

Meaningful change by 2025
Our core ESG initiatives

Our five core ESG initiatives make up the principles of our sustainable business. They acknowledge the broader commitments of Sweco UK that allow for evolution and adjustment in an ever-changing world. We have not simply taken the easiest options, but the most realistic and effective for Sweco UK while initiating a deep-seated shift in behaviour.


Support and contribute to UN SDGs through client work

Through our daily business operations and by working with our clients to address the issues that are material to them, we have the greatest opportunity to help reduce impacts and push forward with improvements.

Lead on carbon efficiencies and innovations across the business

It is important to us to distinguish between the impact on climate change of Sweco’s own operations and the indirect impact we have through our projects. Key to this is the engagement of an approved third-party to verify our carbon baseline and all initiatives now, and in future.

Promote work-life balance, opportunities and learning

As we deliver efficiencies across the business, we also look to our colleagues. Adapting and improving working lifestyles to meet today’s challenges while preparing for the future ensures we can all manage the new way of working and living, capture opportunities open to us all.

Share our knowledge and resources with local communities, supporting future generations

We will set in motion a blueprint of activities and contributions that will benefit local communities for the short, medium and long term. The contribution of our knowledge, ideas and time have the potential to improve the welfare and education of many.

Measure and manage our environmental impacts striving for continual colleague excellence

By continuously measuring, reporting and reducing our impacts on the environment in accordance with legislation, our clients’ expectations and those of our stakeholders, maintains our accountability. It sends a clear message of intent to all.

Carbon Net Zero by 2030
Our key climate action initiatives

It is vital we understand the source of all emissions from the business, both direct and indirect. Therefore, we have committed to reducing emissions in line with the Science Based Targets and limiting global temperature rise to 1.5°C. As signatories to the Pledge to Net Zero – but with more ambitious target of reaching this target by 2030 – it is our duty to implement initiatives to reduce CO2 emissions that are realistic and effective, as outlined below.

Using certified Net Zero and renewable utility providers

Halving business travel including flights, utilising smart technology and digital platforms

Working with and supporting our supply chain to embed carbon reduction


All electric fleet vehicles (mission critical vehicles and scale up to future-proof the fleet)


Investment in technology and digital excellence


As signatories to the Pledge to Net Zero and as part of our contribution to the Race to Net Zero campaign, we recognise that we must lead by example by setting ourselves ambitious internal targets.

How we help businesses drive climate action

COP26: Collaborate through conversation

Strategic support

There is growing understanding that drastic change is required. But clear guidance is in short supply. Sweco’s role is to join the dots between strategic climate ambitions and practical implementation. We show our clients where efforts can be best directed.

Insight leadership

We want to go beyond simply enabling carbon reduction in our projects. We need to make it happen. To do this, we continue to raise industry awareness and make carbon reduction a contractual standard across the supply chain, by providing thought leadership as well as practical direction.

Carbon collaboration

Through a programme of continuous carbon management, including design team training and the introduction of enhanced digital techniques, we highlight new opportunities for carbon reduction to clients. If carbon management is applicable to a project but not requested, we set out the opportunities that it offers.

Digital transformation

We have developed digital techniques to clearly communicate the carbon impact of design decisions. This helps to build awareness among clients, engineers, and key stakeholders. Developments in artificial intelligence are set to automatically optimise carbon and associated costs in the near future.

Lifecycle foresight

We help clients in every sector actively challenge their supply chain, through procurement mechanisms that require carbon reduction and encourage innovation. Critically, we also ensure that focus is maintained on carbon impacts throughout project lifecycle, and post-completion.

UNSDG mindset

Each project we undertake is aligned to multiple United Nations Sustainable Development goals. Sustainability is at the heart of our building designs, transportation projects, landscape architecture visions, and infrastructure planning workflows – which allows us to truly transform society.

01. Velum Sky (Geneva Biotech Campus)

Providing a sustainable building design which met the Client’s and local authority’s expectation on the excellent view out to Lake Geneva along with a visually appealing building which fits in with the surroundings.

The design concept agreed with the planners was for a glazed design, and this proved to be a challenge to optimise for sustainable design.


How to plant the seeds of sustainability


Why Net Zero isn’t just a climate benefit

360 degree sustainability

We support the delivery of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals both through our daily business operations and by working with our clients to address the issues that are material to them.

Our operations are primarily focused on ‘combating climate change’ (Goal 13), ‘promoting the development of sustainable cities and communities’ (Goal 11), ‘sustainable energy for all’ (Goal 7), ‘gender equality’ (Goal 5) and ‘sustainable industry, innovation and infrastructure’ (Goal 9).

What are the United Nations Sustainability Development Goals?

The Sustainability Sun measures organisational performance against the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – created by the United Nations in 2015 to provide common, achievable aspirations which act as a “blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all”.

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

Introducing the Sustainability Sun™

The Sweco Sustainability Sun™ is a visual assessment tool that provides at-a-glance, data-driven illustration of an organisation’s climate action and wider sustainability successes – or shortcomings. Developed in 2018, it was the first digital innovation in the industry to give business the ability to assess if, and to what extent, its product, programme or whole project activity contributes to the 17 UN Sustainability Development Goals (UNSDGs).

The Sweco Sustainability Sun


Building the future through circular data: tools for mining the ‘green gold’

Exclusive Sweco Report

Healthy water cities: From sewer to health booster

Extreme rainfall and flooding have devastated communities across the world this summer. IPCC’s latest report highlights the need for societies and businesses to prepare for a new climate. Here, we propose three water strategies that deal with health challenges at the same time.

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