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The green transition

The green transition – a joined-up evolution from linear, carbon-dependent practices to circular, resource-efficient alternatives – is critical if society as a whole is to mitigate climate change, protect biodiversity, and unlock a sustainable future for all. 

The benefits of transitioning to a greener society and environment are numerous and far-reaching. By reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and promoting renewable energy sources, we can significantly decrease air and water pollution, leading to cleaner and healthier environments for both humans and wildlife.

A green transition also has social, ‘just transition’ benefits, as it can create new job opportunities in green industries and improve overall quality of life by promoting healthier and more sustainable spaces for living, working and relaxing – ensuring nobody is left behind. And of course, promoting sustainable, circular economy practices such as recycling and reducing waste can also help conserve natural resources and protect biodiversity.

At Sweco, we aim to be a role model in the green transition, 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 energy, transport, urban, water and industry solutions through expert consultancy, high-quality design and technical excellence.

Max Joy President Sweco UK


In the midst of the current climate crisis, the need for effective mitigation and adaptation strategies has become more urgent than ever.

Mitigation strategies focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and limiting the effects of climate change, while adaptation strategies aim to prepare and protect communities from the inevitable consequences of a changing climate.

Both are essential components in achieving a successful green transition, as they work hand in hand to minimise the negative effects on the environment and society.


Transforming society together

As Europe’s leading architecture and engineering consultancy, Sweco has the vast and diverse sustainability consultancy expertise to transform society together with its clients across all sectors. Operating at the heart of the green transition, our 22,000 architects, designers and engineers work with organisations of all types to optimise solutions for major challenges across the built environment, transportation networks and critical infrastructure.

A successful green transition requires the adoption of new technologies, alongside adaptation to new ways of thinking and best practices that reduce our collective carbon footprint, cut greenhouse gas emissions, preserve (and revive) natural resources, and address the effects of climate change through net zero strategy.

Bringing together ‘sub-transitions’ in energy, transportation, urbanisation, water and industry will be critical in combating the negative impacts of human activities on the planet. Specifically, the bigger picture concept of a green transition encompasses renewable energy, sustainable and active travel, circular economy methodologies, and nature-based solutions.

Sweco’s central role in the green transition

At Sweco, we know the greatest opportunity to influence and contribute to the transition through the thousands of projects we lead and support each year – with cross-border, cross-discipline and cross-sector collaboration.


In our client projects, we identify, shape and apply the most sustainable solutions with long-term consideration of people, the environment and society. Sweco also has a great responsibility to run its own operations sustainably, with the least possible environmental and climate impact and an inclusive culture supported by diverse competencies and based on robust business ethics. Below are the core areas of the green transition where our difference-makers are transforming society together– the more complex clients’ challenges become, the more frequently Sweco’s teams span multiple disciplines and geographies.

Energy transition

You’ll find us deep in the energy transition, supporting the electrification of society and industry. Our wind, solar, hydrogen and energy storage expertise is leading the essential shift from fossil fuels. And as Europe’s most sought after consultant in systems, grids, transmission and distribution, our vision aligns with major energy investment.

Sweco supports its clients by bringing together expertise in a range of areas of strategic importance for energy supply. These range from renewable energy production, expansion of the electricity transmission and distribution grid, efficient energy consumption, and technological development in areas such as hydrogen energy storage, carbon capture and storage (CCS) and carbon capture and utilisation (CCU) or electrofuels.

A well-functioning electricity transmission system with expanded grid capacity is essential to the green transition’s success. It enables integration of renewable energy, provides grid stability, facilitates long-distance electricity transmission, optimises energy flows, and supports the transition from fossil fuels to a more sustainable energy mix. Read more about grid expansion projects across Europe and how Sweco plays a role in helping countries get closer to their climate goals.

Industry transition

You’ll find us shaping the industry transition, where huge efforts and investment are committed to decarbonising entire industries. As trusted advisor to some of Europe’s most ambitious projects, we’re influencing net zero innovation in carbon capture, circularity, energy supply and game changing battery technologies.

There is an increased client demand for technical solutions and cross-industry collaborations to create a reliable and sustainable energy supply and resource-efficient industrial facilities. To tackle the emissions from hard-to-abate sectors such as steel, aluminium, cement, chemicals as well as aviation and heavy-duty transport, Sweco works with clients to increase resource efficiency and secure the supply of raw materials through circularity.

With in-depth collaboration with energy and industrial clients across several European markets, Sweco works across disciplines and draws advantage from experiences from project to project, which benefits the pace of innovation as well as project finances. With a high level of technological expertise and well-established processes in industrial transition, energy- and resource-efficient solutions are applied in many parts of the manufacturing, process and pharmaceutical industries.

Transport transition

You’ll find us powering the transport transition, embracing electric vehicles, improving public transport, modernising travel infrastructure. Our experience right across this field is critical for creating the sustainable transportation systems of tomorrow, and we’re part of the journey to make multi-modal, sustainable transportation the norm across communities.

There is a great need for more multi-modal systems that move people and goods safely and efficiently.

Harling Drive Cycle RouteDigitalisation has profoundly changed transport needs and patterns. A sustainable, accessible transportation system is essential for connecting communities efficiently and appealingly. Digitalisation, in the form of sensor technology and management of large amounts of complex data, can be used to optimise the design of light rail and tramway systems from an emissions perspective. Digital technologies can also meet the demands of urbanisation for efficient transport solutions by improving traffic flows and maintenance planning.

With more than 6,000 employees focused on transport issues, Sweco is one of the world’s largest actors in the area. With expertise in technology, architecture and environmental services, Sweco plans and designs transport systems for pedestrian and cycle paths, roads, bridges, tunnels and ports. In multi-disciplinary teams, within and across national borders, Sweco develops existing systems and designs tomorrow’s transportation infrastructure.

Urban transition

More than 70% of European residents live in cities, many of which are transforming to become more sustainable, digitalised and resilient. That’s why we’re also at the core of the urban transition, being engineers and architects with expertise as deep as it is broad.

Sweco offers a wide range of ‘placemaking’ and net zero services in buildings and urban areas with sustainability as a key component. Understanding the big picture is essential for long-term success, and Sweco’s architects, engineers and environmental experts work in close-knit, autonomous teams to develop solutions to the most challenging issues for private and public clients.

Special attention is paid to climate adaptation and emissions reduction, circular material flows and energy-efficient systems. Social sustainability is a key component in promoting a more equal, safe and inclusive society. Biodiversity is actively supported with work that includes planning cities’ ecosystem services and working with Nature-based Solutions (NbS) – i.e., measures to protect, sustainably manage and restore ecosystems. In housing and urban development, sustainability and digitalisation go hand in hand, with new technology often a means of analysing, simulating and designing the best solutions.

Water transition

In the face of pressing challenges such as climate change, environmental degradation, and population growth, the water transition represents a vital shift towards sustainable and resilient water management that will benefit all of society. The role of water in facilitating healthy, robust communities, a successful economy, and a thriving environment has never been more evident.

Water is a key resource in all aspects of our lives and is a crucial element in the wider green transition. Robust water provision, collection and treatment systems ensure a resilient water supply and mitigate the impacts of climate change on the population. Introducing advanced wastewater treatment technologies facilitates water reuse to reduce reliance on freshwater sources.

We need to infuse Nature-based Solutions, systems thinking, digital innovation and sustainability-first methodology with technical excellence. Sitting alongside engineering and modelling, we need to integrate creative landscape architecture, leverage ecologists’ and sustainability expertise, and maximise digital skills to revolutionise the water industry.

At Sweco, our Water team is at the heart of this transition to a more sustainable approach to water. Sweco support our clients across both the regulated and non-regulated water sectors and beyond, implementing innovative systems -based, catchment solutions that improve water management, enhance water efficiency, and protect our vital water resources.

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.

Our three strategic perspectives

  1. Carry out client projects that contribute to sustainable development

The green transition is impacting society at large, facilitated by the increasing amount of capital being directed in a sustainable direction. The complexity of these issues is driving demand for Sweco’s expertise in all business segments. Sweco carries out client projects that actively support sustainable development through measures such as designing resource-efficient and resilient urban areas and buildings; developing systems for renewable energy production, transmission and storage; reducing the climate impact of industries; expanding and restructuring transport infrastructure; and safeguarding valuable habitats and biodiversity.

  1. Increase sustainability performance in client projects

In close dialogue with clients, Sweco works to further improve sustainability performance in ongoing projects through optimisation of design, choice of material, resource management and work methods. Using automation, digital solutions and AI, a project’s impact on the climate, environment, economy and society is calculated and Sweco’s experts propose appropriate measures to improve sustainability performance.

  1. Act sustainably in Sweco’s own operations

Sweco has a responsibility to act sustainably in its own operations and focus is on creating value for owners and clients, being an attractive and inspirational workplace for employees, reducing the environmental impact of its operations, and following business ethics and social guidelines. The company’s group-wide goals is for its operations to be climate neutral by 2040, with emissions halved by 2030, and to achieve a 40 per cent share of female employees in the Group by 2040

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.

The green transition holds great potential for mitigating the effects of climate change. As more and more countries and industries adopt sustainable practices, we can expect to see a significant decrease in greenhouse gas emissions and a slowing of global warming.

However, it is important that we continue to push for even more ambitious and comprehensive green initiatives across buildings, transportation and infrastructure projects to make a meaningful difference. By working together and prioritising the health of our planet, we can create a more sustainable and resilient future for generations to come.