In early 2020, we launched a new internal community of practice focused on embodied carbon. One of its first action items was to develop embodied-carbon specifications for our Structural Engineering practice. Starting with concrete, members identified regional performance-based average values that engineers can use to track against and show improvements through better materials selection. This work is being implemented in collaboration with our Standards Committee and is supported by an internal education plan. By 2021, we aim to roll out concrete, steel and wood specifications to our technical staff so they can actively use the new specs to reduce embodied carbon in the structures we design.
Lower Per-Person Carbon Footprint Below 3.9 Tons of CO2e Per Person by Cutting Energy Use
How can we achieve climate-neutral business operations by 2030? By reducing our per-employee carbon footprint by 10 percent every two years. In 2020, when we conduct our next biennial carbon footprint analysis, we’re aiming for a footprint below 3.9 tons of CO2e per person. How? By reducing – not offsetting – our energy use.
To set this 10 percent reduction target (from 4.3 tons of CO2e in 2018), we considered our past reductions and predicted increases in employee numbers. So we’re confident that we can achieve this energy-use reduction. We will continue to follow our best practices for sustainable operations, including using highly efficient lighting, purchasing the most efficient office and kitchen equipment, and reducing plug loads with the help of our local green champions. In fact, with most employees working remotely and avoiding travel since March 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s likely that our average per-employee carbon footprint will be even lower than the target we set in January.
Achieve 100% Employee Awareness of Our Inclusion & Diversity Initiative
As part of a larger leadership transition at Thornton Tomasetti, oversight of our Inclusion and Diversity (I+D) initiative passed into new hands this year. With a new structure and new goals in place, we’re ready to take our I+D efforts in new directions.
In May, we launched two new grassroots employee network groups (ENGs) to advocate for underrepresented groups among our staff. Mosaic supports and empowers multicultural employees. Spectrum does the same for the LGBTQIA+ community. Mosaic and Spectrum join Women@TT – our first ENG, launched in 2013 – in a shared mission to help every employee at Thornton Tomasetti feel comfortable and succeed in their roles.
A 2019 employee survey showed that only 65 percent of participants were aware of our earlier I+D initiatives. The recent reboot offers more opportunities for active employee involvement and is being promoted on our intranet. With that – plus the heightened attention globally to issues of racism and social inequity – we expect our next survey, at the end of 2020, to show 100 percent employee awareness of our I+D initiative.
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