Last week was Sustainability Week at Roughan & O’Donovan (ROD), and our environment team rolled out a programme of events aimed at raising awareness of sustainability and empowering our people to make simple changes to minimise their everyday environmental impact.
Pushing the sustainability strategy forward
Our Principal Spatial Planner, Frances O’Kelly, kicked the week off with a lunchtime presentation titled ‘What is sustainability?’, and it was followed by a lively discussion on the company’s workplace sustainability strategy, which includes:
- Promoting sustainable transport modes
- Avoiding paper waste
- Reducing energy waste
- Promoting a healthy and balanced workplace culture
Supporting local communities
ROD’s commitment to working towards sustainability involves not just improving our own operations; it also involves sharing our expertise with others.
Our design and environmental teams are helping local communities become more sustainable by, for example, working to solve critical transport challenges, such as How we can better manage mobility on the road network? and How we can shape the future of mobility?
In 2017, the transport sector accounted for nearly 20% of greenhouse gas emissions, of which more than half of road transport emissions came from private vehicles, according to the EPA.
At ROD, we encourage our team to consider cycling and walking as a means of commuting – both to and from work and, where practicable, to client meetings. We also participate in the National Transport Authority’s (NTA) annual Smarter Travel Cycle and STEP challenges.
We used the opportunity presented by Sustainability Week to urge our new joiners, and those who have yet to participate in the challenges, to get involved in WALKTOBER, an event aimed at encouraging people to become more active while having fun.
Supporting global communities
ROD works closely with organisations, such as Engineers Without Borders, Europengineers and Habitat for Humanity, to help underdeveloped communities across the globe become more sustainable.
We use our specialist knowledge and skills to make a real difference to the lives of vulnerable people and contribute to delivering on several of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Last Tuesday, we held a lunchtime screening of BBC1’s hour-long documentary, Climate Change – The Facts, presented by the renowned naturalist, Sir David Attenborough.
The programme examined “the science of climate change and the potential solutions to this global threat” and highlighted the importance of protecting and planting trees, which act as carbon sinks, to help solve the climate change crisis.
An evening walk along the Dodder Greenway
One of the highlights of the week was an evening walk along the Dodder Greenway led by our ecologists, Michael Bailey and Kate Moore, with guest speaker, River Dodder enthusiast, Robbie Redmond.
While Robbie guided the group along the locations of the lost mill races that fed the former industries in the area, our ecologists discussed the many important functions of our river ecosystem.
The natural and historic richness of the area gave the group a greater appreciation of the value of urban greenways and the rich source of biodiversity present in Dublin city.
Action Plan To Tackle Climate Change
Last Wednesday, Graduate Environmental Scientist, Yana Bersunukayeva, presented a summary of the Government’s Action Plan To Tackle Climate Change to the team.
The plan includes major policy shifts to enable a rapid decarbonisation of the State within 12 years, including targets for:
- Putting 1 million electric vehicles on Irish roads
- Retrofitting of 500,000 homes
- Achieving 70 per cent renewable energy in power generation
Last Thursday, the team’s knowledge of the environment and the biggest sustainability stories of the past year was put to the test with a lunchtime quiz presented by Graduate Environmental Scientist, Lorraine Guerin.
Questions ranged from How many hectares of rainforest have burned in the Amazon this year? to What is the name of the Swedish girl who inspired a school climate strike movement, under the name Fridays for Future?
Mighty oaks from little acorns grow
The level of engagement across the company in the week’s activities was hugely encouraging and demonstrated the team’s interest in living more sustainably.
The week ended on a high note with news that the company is supporting the Irish charity, ‘Hometree’, in its efforts to create a sustainable forest in Lehinch, County Clare. 40 native trees will be planted on ROD's behalf this autumn. Roll on next year!!