WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff - Future Ready

The Asda Environmental Leadership Award, Finalist, 2016

WSP | Parsons is making sure that its building and infrastructure projects are future fit and sustainable through research into environmental, economic and social trends.

Good for the environment

  • Major UK projects for WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff's clients have been designed for future climates, a circular economy and new technology.
  • Its Future Ready programme has increased awareness of trends and projections among built environment professionals in the UK and globally.

Good for business

  • WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff is helping to build a stronger, more resilient UK economy by designing for the long term as well as the short, and sharing insights with others.
  • Future Ready has helped WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff to win £200m of business so far.

WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff logoOverview

WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff works to improve the built environment and infrastructure. Many of its projects have long lives – up to 120 years for railways and roads – but thinking that far ahead isn't always part of the design process. 

The company's Future Ready programme is changing that by giving staff an understanding of key long term environmental, social and technology changes relevant to its projects and markets, then challenging them to offer designs that are ready for tomorrow as well as today.

In this way the programme is making a practical difference, helping to deliver low carbon, low waste solutions. For example:

  • Planning for how London will change over Crossrail2’s 110 year lifespan, including 40°C peak summer temperatures, 50% heavier rainfall, and higher river levels.

  • Regenerating Aylesbury Estate in Southwark with flat designs that greatly increase fresh air intake, getting ready for rising temperatures.

  • Building flexible embankments at Poole Harbour using natural saltmarsh protection, and flexible structures which can be easily upgraded in the future as sea level change is better understood. 

Future Ready is helping to deliver much stronger, more resilient designs, and a better environmental outcome, as well as supporting the company's growth.

Challenging staff to look to the future

Responsibility for the delivery of Future Ready lies with WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff's Technical Leadership Teams, who lead the technical design of the business. However every staff member is challenged to embrace Future Ready as a way to make a contribution to a sustainable society through their projects. 

WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff has used cross-team meetings, staff roadshows, intranet announcements, and videos to take the Future Ready message to staff and has received positive feedback, practical endorsement and action. 

The company has also received positive feedback from clients on the Future Ready concept and delivery and consulted with industry organisations such as UK Green Building Council and Business in the Community.

Sharing expertise and forming coalitions

Now WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff  is sharing its knowledge and building strong coalitions for change with other organisations. For example, the company has published a practical guide to The UK’s Built Environment in 2030, and two white papers. 

As well as participating in the UK Green Building Council’s Future Leaders programme and DEFRA’s 2018 climate impacts programme review, the company has brought together a working group of leading built environment firms in the West Midlands to work to help make the West Midlands the most ‘Future Ready’ region in the UK. 

WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff's Future Ready programme gives staff insights into key long term environmental, social and technology changes relevant to their projects and their markets, and challenges them to design for new futures. The result is fresh design which is better for the environment and for business.

What WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff's UK Chief Operating Officer in the UK and Managing Director said:

“Future Ready is our flagship sustainability programme. We know that our future world will be very different from today’s in many ways. We believe it is our duty to be able to advise our clients on a range of future scenarios embracing climate, demography, resources, technology and life values. We offer them the opportunity to make better informed investment decisions that deliver more flexible and resilient assets with greater life-cycle cost efficiency and more responsiveness to future markets. Our clients tell us that this approach adds real value to their organisations, so offering Future Ready services makes good business sense to us.”  - Mark Naysmith, UK Chief Operating Officer and Managing Director WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff in the UK