Emissions Reduction Plan calls for thinking beyond engineering solutions

Released this week, Aotearoa New Zealand’s Emissions Reduction Plan contains strategies, policies and actions to put us on a path to a low emissions, climate resilient future.

It’s the first of its kind and the challenges will sit in the detail, says Brett Ogilvie (Executive Leader – Sustainability at Tonkin + Taylor), who shared his first response to the plan with us.

What was your initial reaction to the plan?

At first read, I was impressed by how holistic it is, taking into consideration much more than the usual carbon emissions. It includes cultural, Te Ao Māori, inclusion, and innovation aspects, alongside the technical aspects of reducing emissions. This universal approach considers the many factors that need to work together to reduce Aotearoa New Zealand's emissions long term.

Professional services in the engineering sector are critical to meeting our emissions reduction targets. What do you think the Emissions Reduction Plan means for the sector?  

The plan calls for us to think beyond engineering solutions, and draw upon perspectives beyond the technical – which we can do by broadening the knowledge base of our existing workforce, as well through recruitment and partnering. Many of these are not traditional 'engineering' skillsets, so it will call for innovation and collaboration within and outside of our sector.

To be successful long term, we need to consider how we improve efficiency and create lasting sustainable solutions for future generations.  

There’s a huge task ahead when it comes to transforming infrastructure to meet our emissions goals. Do you think the task has been adequately addressed in the plan?

The plan has created a great framework for transforming infrastructure and beyond. As always with these high-level plans, the challenges will sit in the detail around what we do, where we do it, skillsets and capacity requirements, leadership needs, and economic instruments and funding models.

It’s up to us to decide on and provide these details, and continually strive to be better, for our people, clients, and communities.


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