Our ESG Services

It’s more important than ever for organisations to adopt environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) commitments, and take action to deliver a better world. We’re here to partner with you at every stage, from concept to design and delivery.

Our Strategy

With ESG principles embedded into everything we do, the goal of our Sustainable Legacies strategy is straightforward: to ensure that the way we run our business, and the work we do in partnership with our clients, leaves a positive, lasting impact for communities and our planet.

Our People

Robert Spencer

Global Head of ESG Advisory Services

"We’ve seen such a huge transformation in the way we do business and it’s been fantastic to be a part of that."

In his newly created role as Global Head of ESG Advisory Services, Robert will help public and private sector leaders design and implement impactful change. With 25 years’ experience in sustainable development, he is motivated by supporting others to create positive environmental, social and governance legacies for future generations.

For as long as he can remember, Robert has been driven by concern about the environment — and a desire to do something about it. From planting acacia trees in Nigeria to halt the spread of the Sahara Desert at age 17, to helping transform the drafty community hall in his local Oxfordshire village into a clean energy exemplar, Robert has devoted his life and career to making a difference.

Seizing the opportunity

At AECOM, he’s seized every opportunity to embed sustainability into his work, beginning as a land use and forestry consultant when he was 26. Within a year, he was returning to Nigeria to manage a £2.7 million (US$4.3 million) forestry and nature conservation project. He often camped deep in the forest with his mosquito net, earning the respect of the villagers. “A lot of people would just swing by in a Land Cruiser, but I knew if I stayed and got to know the forest communities then the project would have more of an impact.”

After seven years working in international development, Robert returned to the UK to work in sustainable waste management. He describes the National Industrial Symbiosis Program he co ordinated as a “dating agency for industrial waste” — matching companies that had waste materials to dispose of with those who had the technology or know-how to turn them into new commercial opportunities. “We were early circular economy pioneers with well-honed communication and engagement skills,” he says.

Innovation into ESG services

When the company launched an internal competition for a sustainability business plan, Robert saw an opportunity to get wider traction for his ideas. His winning entry focused on innovation, and he convinced the board to create a platform to develop and fund creative ideas, some of which are still bearing fruit today. “That’s something I’m really proud of — seeing innovations developed then, still underpinning some of our key ESG services today. For example, the Natural Capital Laboratory uses a tool that helped us understand ecosystem services valuation.”

It’s really exciting to strategize and — for those who want to make use of our technical solutions and know-how — to help implement real change. We’re happy to share what we’ve learned, clients are welcome to use any of our internal training courses for example. It’s a huge honor and a privilege to be invited into the boardroom with organizations who want to make a positive impact on communities and the planet.

Industry influencer

Seeking to influence wider industry, Robert founded the Major Infrastructure–Resources Optimization Group, MI-ROG, in 2013 as a forum to develop and promote circular economy ideas among UK infrastructure operators. International industry bodies then came calling, including the International Federation of Consulting Engineers and the Prince of Wales’ Sustainable Markets Initiative, for whom he chairs sustainable development working groups.

After the landmark Paris Agreement on climate change reached by world leaders in 2015, Robert sketched out what he describes as “a sort of manifesto” detailing the urgency of the climate challenge and how AECOM could lead the change to a more sustainable and equitable future. Those thoughts drove what became our Sustainable Legacies strategy, which embeds environmental, social and governance considerations into everything we do.

Spearheading positive, impactful change

From our travel with a purpose policy, designed to cut emissions by reducing the amount we travel for business, to ScopeX, our commitment to reducing carbon through design, ESG considerations have become part of the way AECOM does business. Every employee is part of this with mandated ESG training designed and delivered by Robert’s team, as well as specialist programs for specific disciplines to keep AECOM at the vanguard of sustainable best practice.

In his new role, Robert is now working as a trusted adviser to organizations that want a sharper ESG focus.