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Trustee strategy day update – February 2023

02 March 2023

Knowledge networks, UNSDGs and a vision for 2030.

Trustee strategy day update – February 2023
ICE President Keith Howells gives an update from the annual Trustee Board strategy day.

At its annual strategy day, trustees met with the ICE’s executive directors to discuss the ICE’s strategic plan, with a particular focus on the institution’s purpose in the context of the climate and nature emergency.

The climate and nature emergency

Some of the great challenges we face, such as climate change, decarbonisation, productivity, and climate resilience are woven into the ICE’s rolling five-year plan.

So, our first session of the day looked at whether the institution is doing enough to address these challenges.

It was good to hear of the progress being made that will help members face the challenges going forward.

One such initiative is the PAS2080 standard, which the institution has worked on with BSI to update.

It is a globally applicable standard for managing carbon in the built environment that looks at the whole value chain.

It aims to reduce carbon (and cost) through intelligent design, construction and use.

I’m delighted that ICE have sponsored the update to the standard (launching in April) and the associated guidance document, making it now free to download.

It’s clear that we need to put our weight behind this important standard and push for its adoption if our industry is to meaningfully reduce carbon.

ICE supported initiatives such as the International Coalition for Sustainable Infrastructure (ICSI), the Race to Resilience and our COP27 activities have demonstrated the potential impact we can have collectively in delivering on ICSI’s pledge to ‘generate high-impact guidance on resilience that has influenced and/or delivered 3,570 projects in 210 cities globally to improve the resilience of 570 million individuals.’

Knowledge networks

It is also pleasing to hear that a new knowledge network for nature-based solutions will be established in 2023 alongside the introduction of CPD topics that cover this area.

It is apparent that the institution is helping to ensure that those going through the qualifications process have a good grounding in this and related topics, with the Joint Board of Moderators (JBM) requiring students to possess knowledge of the climate emergency and its impacts.

ICE’s attributes for professional qualified membership build on this.

These are topics at the heart of the ICE’s purpose and are reflected throughout the ICE’s work, but there is always more that can be done.

Trustees discussed a number of ideas including updating future iterations of the plan to include more specific language and focusing on outcomes rather than specific sectors.

Sustainable Development Goals

Trustees also debated whether the institution is delivering against the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to make connections between mitigation, adaptation, biodiversity net gain and social value to build a better understanding of the wider picture.

While PAS2080 is a key strand of work there is more to be done to address issues such as biodiversity loss and social value.

A project to explore how ICE members’ activities impact on the SDGs is being led by council member Priti Parikh.

The findings will help the institution to refine its plan and identify the best SDGs to measure outcomes against.

It will also be used to inform the UN as it begins its work of selecting suitable SDGs post-2030.

A major event in 2025 will showcase the best examples and set out ICE’s views on the SDGs going forward.

A vision for 2030

The ICE has made great strides over the past few years in shifting its focus to sustainability, so it was important to look ahead at goals for 2030.

A variety of aspirations were discussed including developing clear codes of practice for members, agreement on a single version of the ‘truth’ for measuring carbon, and a significant improvement in productivity.

Reusing existing assets was a recurring theme, as one way that our industry can help achieve its net zero goals, as was embedding carbon literacy across the infrastructure workforce.

Incorporating programmes that enable members to tackle the nature emergency and biodiversity loss in our planning and projects were also themes that featured prominently.

An institution with ambition

What struck me most about the day, was that our institution is championing creative and innovative solutions to overcoming the challenges that our world faces.

While there are many opinions on the optimum routes to achieving the ICE’s vision and purpose, there is unanimous agreement that we must demonstrate clear leadership and ambition.

  • Keith Howells, president 2022/23 at Institution of Civil Engineers