1. Tackling the causes and effects of climate change
Global temperature rise must be kept to 1.5°C above the pre-industrial average to prevent runaway climate change. Curbing greenhouse gas emissions to achieve that goal is essential, possible, and profitable – and there is no time to lose.
The infrastructure industry has a crucial role to play, since well over half of carbon emissions come directly or indirectly from infrastructure. Leading companies and their supply chains have already shown that embodied carbon can be cut at programme scale by 60%, reducing average capital costs by up to 30%. Operational carbon and cost savings of 40% are being achieved. The challenge – and opportunity – is to go much further.
2. Building resilience to natural hazards and human-made pressures
Rural or urban, the places we live and our quality of life are under ever greater pressure – from population growth, environmental pollution, depletion of resources, budget constraints, ageing infrastructure and climate change. Making places for people that are liveable today and for the long term requires careful planning and management, and considerable ingenuity.
3. Improving life chances and social inclusion
Simply turn on the news: around the world people feel disadvantaged, disenfranchised and discontented. With each investment – in infrastructure, health or education – there is the opportunity to turn that around and make society stronger. Seeking out ways to stimulate regeneration, empower marginalised groups and equip people with skills to thrive in the future enables social and economic inclusion.
4. Making possible what was thought impossible
Innovation is the engine of progress. It releases value, unlocks potential and makes possible what was thought impossible. Tried and trusted methods have their place but new thinking, solutions and methods are essential to achieve change and respond to our changing world: innovation helps to address old challenges in new ways and tackle new problems. In quantum leaps or small increments, innovation is the product of creative minds. But it takes more. To turn an idea into something useful requires knowledge, development, nurturing and resources.
5. Merging engineering knowhow and data science to unlock value
Gathering, processing, managing and manipulating data are offering new insights into the way infrastructure and services perform. Better information allows faster, better decisions to be made, enabling smoother operation, less disruption, greater resilience and timely intervention. It also saves cost, time and carbon, as well as producing higher quality outcomes.
The art is in achieving the right match between digital solutions and real-world challenges. We’re supplementing our engineering, management and development experience with digital tools and strategies that optimise performance. We call it smart infrastructure: where digital meets physical.
6. Unlocking finance to meet society’s needs and release potential
Access to capital has become increasingly difficult for businesses and public authorities alike, yet there are fundholders looking for opportunities to invest. Connecting public services, infrastructure and urban development opportunities with investors can be complex and requires creative thinking to deliver both public and private benefits. Investors and lenders rightly want reliable returns, while government and society reasonably want fairness, access and inclusion.
Bringing together national and local government, project sponsors, developers and operators, investors and lenders to think creatively about common needs, opportunities and value is key to unlocking finance. Innovative financial models create projects that are affordable, provide value for money, and offer an inclusive and lasting legacy.