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Delivering a Sustainable Future: The Construction Industry and the UN Sustainable Development Goals

25 Sept 2023

Jose Hernandez

Jose Hernandez


Celebrating 8 years of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals, Jose Hernandez, Director Director, Head of Sustainability & Energy, explores the pivotal role of the construction industry in realising these objectives and their crucial impact on enhancing environmental conservation and community welfare within the construction sector.

With ever-growing environmental concerns and the pressing urgent need for global action, the construction industry needs to play a pivotal role in shaping a more sustainable future. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) provide a reference framework for our industry to deliver environmental, social and economic value.

The UN SDGs comprise 17 interconnected goals that recognise the urgent global challenges facing our world, understanding that problems and actions in one area will affect others, and offering a ‘blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all’.

Pick Everard continues to work to align its practices with these goals, and in doing so drive positive Social Value (SV) change for our communities and address the Environmental Social Governance (ESG) needs of our clients, creating spaces that contribute to a better world and provide lasting legacies. Amongst the SGDs that Pick Everard contributes, we highlight the following:

SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities

Making cities and communities sustainable means creating career and business opportunities, safe and affordable housing, and building resilient societies and economies. As urbanisation continues to accelerate, Pick Everard must lead the way in designing buildings and spaces that are environmentally friendly, socially inclusive, and economically viable. Sustainable urban planning, infrastructure and green public spaces are all essential components of creating healthier and more resilient societies and economies.

SDG 13: Climate Action

The construction industry has a significant carbon footprint, throughout the design, construction and long-term operational use of buildings and infrastructure. Pick Everard recognises its responsibility by applying circular economy approaches to reduce this impact and thus taking urgent action to combat and adapt to climate change and its impacts. Conscious that every sustainable choice we make contributes to a more resilient planet, Pick Everard works to deliver energy-efficient buildings, the use of sustainable materials, and the incorporation of renewable energy sources to strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards.

SDG 9: Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure

Innovation and creativity are at the core of sustainable design. Pick Everard’s staff are challenged to think creatively and push the boundaries of the design process to build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation and foster innovation for the industry.

Empowering a Transformative Culture

At Pick Everard, our commitment extends beyond sustainability and social value; we are dedicated to cultivating an organisational culture that prioritises equality, health, and wellbeing. Group People and Culture Director, Elizabeth Hardwick-Smith, discusses the various Sustainable Development Goals that our firm is driving through innovative staff schemes and the establishment of a transformative culture. We are implementing practices that resonate with our core values and objectives.

SDG 3: Good Health and Wellbeing.

Within a safety-first culture, Pick Everard have proactively addressed core health and wellbeing risk areas through an evidence based 'wellness through compassion' health, wealth and inclusion programme. Drawing on in-house expertise, digital solutions and external partnerships we've responded to our core value of 'Being Compassionate.' Investing in new apps, rewards, our e-learning provision and training mental health first aiders, we’ve worked hard to enable purposeful support, personal connection and wellbeing solutions at the right moments for our people.

SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities

We’re also proud to drive an inclusive workplace culture, that is centred on providing a strong employee voice. The firm has a 13-point equality, diversity and inclusion plan in place and clear identified areas to work on. Starting with an increased focus on understanding the make-up of our workforce, we’ve established an equality, diversity and inclusion index survey, which regularly captures the identity, backgrounds and specific needs of our people. We use this for journey mapping our people and identifying solutions to encourage wider pools of talent to apply and progress within the business.