Consulting & Engineering: Climate Change Practice

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Gold MedalAECOM (Los Angeles) for achieving a leading position as an advocate and consultant for climate change mitigation and adaptation for private clients in a range of industries as well as governments and institutions. Earning $6.55 billion in revenues for the year ending September 30, 2010-a year-on-year increase of 7%-the architectural and engineering firm has bulked up its climate change expertise significantly over the last several years through acquisition. Among the acquired firms that added to AECOM's climate change practice: Design and planning firm EDAW (2005), which had 1,200 employees and $120 million in revenues; Earth Tech (2008), an engineering and construction firm with $1.3 billion in revenues and 7,000 employees; A&E firm Ellerbe Becket (2009) with 450 employees; and Spanish A&E firm INOCSA (2010) with 550 employees.

According to data provided to CCBJ, AECOM's climate change practice has executed more than 150 projects including studies and models for adaptation and plans and strategies for mitigation. In Australia and New Zealand, AECOM has prepared 70 adaptation plans for municipalities, utilities and businesses, and is now working with the Asia Development Bank on climate change studies for Indonesia, Laos and Vietnam. In the U.S., AECOM has prepared climate action plans for 30 local governments, universities and private clients. In transportation, AECOM is a leading advocate for and designer of bus rapid transit systems that can increase ridership capacity at a fraction of the cost of rail systems. AECOM is also completing energy and water masterplans for 31 U.S. federal facilities focusing on reducing carbon emissions as well as costs, and it has conducted a nationwide riverine flood study for FEMA (AECOM is recognized separately for this work under Consulting & Engineering: Climate Change Adaptation). AECOM's new book Climate Design is a collaboration between its own experts and academics to explore design and planning strategies for the climate change era.

Silver MedalERM (London) for its large and growing sustainability and climate change practice, which today accounts for roughly 10% of its $607 million in revenues for the year ending March 31, 2010. Privately held ERM-founded in 1987 by the merger of U.S. and U.K. firms and now headquartered in the United Kingdom-has a global climate change and sustainability practice led by 30 senior staff with more than 225 professionals in 39 countries working on GHG measurement, management and mitigation, according to John Curtis, Global Climate Change Practice Leader. With a PhD-level "knowledge leader" and a global "carbon school," ERM is rapidly expanding its in-house climate change expertise.

Clients range from consumer packaged goods and retail giants like PepsiCo and Tesco to the oil and gas sector which represents more than 30% of ERM's overall revenues. "We are helping many of our oil and gas clients prepare for the extensive GHG reporting requirements under the recently promulgated Subpart W to EPA's Mandatory Reporting Rule," Curtis told CCBJ. "We have several large programs underway to assess applicability, evaluate and fill compliance gaps, and develop the programs, tools and systems needed for managing the important data and details related to rule compliance." Many U.S. clients in unregulated sectors contract with ERM for lifecycle analyses to drive product innovation, eco-design and performance improvement, according to Curtis.

Although ERM's revenues declined in the recession-from $695 million in the year ending March 31, 2009 to $607 million for the same period in 2010-the firm sees growth "re-emerging in many geographies and sectors, and issues of regulation, reputation and risk, as well as long-term resource needs, will continue to drive spending in our market," according to a July 2010 operational report. North America is its largest geographic segment, followed by Europe/Middle East/Africa. Asia Pacific is where the company is growing fastest overall and in terms of energy and climate change work.

Bronze MedalEnviron (Arlington, Va.) for outstanding consulting work around GHG management and mitigation with clients as diverse as Coca Cola Enterprises, The Home Depot, United Airlines, Kiewit, the City of Los Angeles and consortia of air quality regulators. In October 2010, Environ was named by the Carbon Disclosure Project as one of five Silver consultancy partners-to work with CDP to encourage high quality disclosure of climate change related data from global corporations in the United States.

According to North American Practice Leader for Carbon and Energy Lisa Grice, Environ's domain expertise in oil and gas, food and beverages, marine ports and other sectors has enabled the firm to bring a strategic perspective to clients, integrating GHG management with client's broader goals for growth and profitability. Environ has a large global energy efficiency business, its largest market being Europe where carbon policies have created a strong demand for energy audits and advice to reduce both costs and carbon emissions. "In the United States, sustainability strategy is gaining momentum with a focus on environmental optimization for business efficiency or customer expectations driving lifecycle assessments for a variety of products ranging from stuffed toys to printing inks," said Grice. Lifecycle assessments for biofuel producers has been a significant market segment, driven by GHG goals in the federal Renewable Fuel Standard. Environ has also assessed GHG emissions associated with land use, producing a methodology manual with the California Association of Air Pollution Control Officers, Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management, and National Association of Clean Air Agencies released in August 2010.