Discover how Mott MacDonald gets its team onboard: from a top down approach to committees and more

Mott MacDonald is a global management, engineering and development consultancy. In 2022, the company reaffirmed its commitment to net zero by joining the Race to Zero and developed its first net zero strategy.

The strategy outlined the changes needed in its operations, its clients and partners and its external engagement in order for the global organisation to reach net zero by 2040.

At the end of 2022, the net zero position was translated into paths by each of their regions. These paths outlined the steps to reduce its global emissions by 90% by 2040. 

Mott MacDonald established a carbon reduction committee in Australia to involve team members and decrease emissions company-wide.

Eugene Wai and Geriant Breese, sustainability engineers at Mott MacDonald, lead the movement at their Sydney office. We asked Eugene and Geriant how they get the team on board with their net zero ambitions.

Image: Geriant Breese, Stephen Giblett and Eugene Wai, Mott MacDonald Sydney office. Photography by Stefanie Zingsheim

What’s the story behind setting up the emissions working group?

Our sustainability action is led by our executive team in a top-down manner. Policies and plans are ratified by our executive team to prompt action in each region and office.

Since 2012, carbon accounting and reduction activities have been taking place across Mott MacDonald’s Asia Pacific, New Zealand and Australia (APNA) region.

In quarter 4 of 2022, David Johnson, our managing director for APNA, endorsed initial carbon reduction glide paths for our region. These were tailored to the unique characteristics of each of our units: East Asia, Greater China, New Zealand and Australia.

To contribute to Mott MacDonald's 2040 net zero target, we established a carbon reduction group in Australia.

“We are proud to share that we have set targets for deep carbon reduction across the Mott MacDonald Group, aligned with 1.5"C temperature pathway, and these targets have been validated by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). We will reduce 90% of our absolute emissions from all scopes by 2040 while remaining committed to disclosing our emissions annually and maintaining ISO 14064 certification.”

Cath Cheeson, Australian climate change practice leader at Mott Macdonald

How does the group work together and who's involved?

The group consists of the state manager and sustainability representatives from each state. We have monthly meetings to identify additional targets and actions necessary to reduce carbon emissions across all offices in Australia, in accordance with our 2023 group carbon reduction plan.

On a micro level, our Australian offices prepare and manage a local environment practice plan to monitor and minimise resource use in the office. This process is championed by the office manager and a local committee. We then publicise our ambitions internally.

Image: Geriant Breese, Lauren Sharp and Eugene Wai, Mott MacDonald Sydney office. Photography by Stefanie Zingsheim

What tactics did you deploy for building buy-in? How do you influence your company to change?

We’ve found a top-down approach, with our executive driving meaningful actions at a macro scale, is important to achieving buy-in from our team members across all levels of experience. In addition, we strive to make it easier for employees to make sustainable decisions.

To enable our team members to make sustainable choices more easily, we have:

  • provided reusable coffee cups and take away bowls to use at local cafes

  • collaborated with our building manager in each office to improve the end-of-trip facilities and encourage active transport

  • continued to monitor our air travel emissions. We report these with our monthly financial reports to our Australian leadership team

  • promoted the use of online meetings and limiting interstate and international travel.

Image: Mott MacDonald Sydney office. Photography by Stefanie Zingsheim

“We host a sustainability week every year. Last year we focused on the theme 'Embedding sustainability in everything we do'. The week consisted of 5 days full of events and activities to showcase our impact at the global and office level. We fostered debate about how sustainability is something that we can all do. And we provided practical examples and guidance for how you can embed sustainability in everything you do.”

Cath Cheeson, Australian climate change practice leader at Mott MacDonald

What activities have you found helpful in achieving your goals?

  • Sharing sustainability tips in internal company newsletters and forums.

  • Established a good relationship with our building managers to make it easier to collect data on electricity, waste and water use.

  • Invested in GreenPower. We buy GreenPower for all our Australian offices.

  • Hosting a 30-minute sustainability training session for all new staff.

  • Established local environment practice plans for each office.

  • Replaced all fluorescent lights with LEDs.

Is there anything else you’re proud of you’d like to share?

A new initiative we’re excited to start is our second hand and vintage clothing casual Fridays in the office. In 2021, the global fashion industry was identified by the World Economic Forum as the planet’s third largest polluter.

We have also used green walls and other plants in the office to create a connection to nature and help improve air quality.