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Sustainable development: a UK perspective on the role of geosynthetics

Event organised by ICE

07 November 2023

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There is a growing realisation that the current model of development is unsustainable. In other words, we are living beyond our means. Climate change is the defining crisis of our time, and it is happening even more quickly than we feared. The goal of sustainable development is to enable all people throughout the world to satisfy their basic needs and enjoy a better quality of life, without compromising the quality of life of future generations. It aims to show how geosynthetics can support sustainable development in the context of the United Nations Sustainability Development Goals.

The presentation considers ways of measuring the sustainability of civil engineering projects with a focus on Life Cycle Analysis and embodied carbon assessment. Examples are presented of sustainable development using geosynthetics that include accelerated embankment consolidation, reinforced bund construction with contaminated cohesive fill, temporary working platform construction, pavement construction, instrumented and "smart" geosynthetics and finally active geosynthetics.


Russell Jones

Russell Jones


commercial director

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Russell Jones

Dr Russell Jones is a commercial director with WSP UK Limited with responsibility for the company’s Earth & Environment business unit. He joined WSP in January 2022 as part of its acquisition of Golder Associates, having spent the previous 29 years with Golder, latterly as a senior partner and statutory director of the UK and Ireland companies. Dr Jones is a chartered civil engineer, geotechnical specialist and a Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers, the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and the Geological Society of London. He has authored more than 80 technical papers on various aspects of slope stability, containment engineering and geosynthetics in peer reviewed journals, symposia and conference proceedings. He is a former president of the International Geosynthetics Society, and former chairman of the IGS UK Chapter.