A trio of powerhouse women leading the fight against climate change
In celebration of International Women’s Day, 8 March 2020, and in light of the recent launch of our industry leading climate change action plan, we are proud to put a spotlight on a trio of powerhouse women at Costain that are leading the fight against climate change across some of our major projects, ultimately helping to improve people’s lives.
Having grown up in Tanzania and embarking on her first safari at just one years old, it’s no wonder Aarti Gupta, innovations strategy and investment lead, has always had an interest in being part of creating something tangible in order to protect our wonderful environment. The former investment banker made the move to Costain to better understand how things were built, from the materials used to the skills, knowledge and investment required with the determination to help develop sustainable infrastructure.
Currently, Aarti is project managing an air quality project aiming to transform the invisible problem of air pollutants into a visible one. She has also helped set up an investment vehicle to help generate investment for innovation led opportunities focussing on sustainable, long-term market areas including nanotech, smart materials and air quality. Evidently, Aarti is playing a key role in delivering leading-edge whole life carbon solutions to clients.
Aarti wants people to recognise that all climate change events are ultimately interconnected. The way to have a positive impact on climate change Aarti believes is through clearer demonstration of how leadership, boards make a difference through their own choices combined with incentives to live sustainably for example free water bottles or refillable coffee cups are key differences.
Siobhan Pereira currently plays a vital role in ensuring ambitious but achievable carbon reduction targets are met at one of the UK’s biggest transportation projects. This is alongside her work in climate change adaption for Costain’s permanent assets and looking at embodied carbon in design and operational carbon, both of which have an impact on climate change.
Citing Christina Figueres, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), as one of her role models, Siobhan highlights the need for women to support women. Having always worked in the environmental sector, Siobhan notes the challenges of being taken seriously and ambition being recognised, supported and celebrated in what has been perceived as a “soft skill” profession. Breaking that mould, the natural environment enthusiast is proud to have brought positive change to how client’s respect their environmental impact through its manufacturing processes.
As well as working hard to amplify the need for businesses to integrate sustainability into their business as usual practices, Siobhan amplifies that individuals can also make a positive difference to the environment. Shopping local and plastic free are her tips for a great way to start.
According to sustainability engineer Zoe Rogers, the most common understanding about the impact of climate change is that it is something that will happen in the future. “We are already seeing the climate change, which is obvious in large and dramatic weather changes” Zoe states. “It is less apparent in the reduction in our air quality and the impacts this has on human health. We can all make a difference.”
Zoe believes everybody can take responsibility to understand how their actions at work and home affects the environment and most importantly look to improve and reduce these impacts wherever possible. Her core responsibilities include conducting life cycle assessments to help clients understand their impact and more importantly where they can take action to reduce carbon emissions from their operations.
Addressing climate change is not a new endeavour for Costain and many tools and approaches have helped ensure the foundations for delivering on our climate change action plan are solid. A background in civil engineering resulted in Zoe being a fundamental part in the development of a one of these tools. Organising Costain’s first carbon conference in association with Edinburgh University and i3P also sits highly on her list of achievements as it enabled her to connect people focused on sustainability to make a big difference to industry.
Zoe highlights the need to support women on their journey to become influential positions within companies.
Aarti, Siobhan and Zoe are just three of a team of people actively helping our clients make a positive difference.
Lara has been at the forefront of the development and implementation of our industry leading climate change action plan in which we have pledged to deliver low carbon whole life solutions to every client by 2023.
International Women's Day (8 March) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.
The theme for the 2020 campaign is #EachfoEqual helping highlight how each one of us can help create a gender equal world.