Texan by Nature is excited to recognize Stantec as a 2022 TxN 20 honoree for their leadership in conservation and sustainability. Stantec’s commitment to conservation, their projects, programs, best practices, and lessons learned are an example and inspiration for us all.
Honoree Industry and Size: Architecture – Enterprise
Team members from Stantec’s Plano, Texas, office help clean up Irving Independent School District’s Elise Walker Outdoor Learning Center during Stantec in the Community Week (SITC), the Company’s annual week of worldwide community service.
Company Overview: Communities are fundamental. Whether around the corner or across the globe, they provide a foundation, a sense of place, and belonging. That’s why at Stantec, we always design with the community in mind.
We care about the communities we serve—because they’re our communities too. This allows us to assess what’s needed and connect our expertise, appreciate nuances and envision what’s never been considered, and bring together diverse perspectives so we can collaborate toward a shared success.
We’re designers, engineers, scientists, and project managers, innovating together at the intersection of community, creativity, and client relationships. Balancing these priorities results in projects that advance the quality of life in communities across the globe.
What is Stantec’s conservation and sustainability mission and why is it important to your culture?
At Stantec, sustainability is key to our purpose, promise, and values. We live it every day because we are accountable to our communities–to strengthen them and make them resilient for whatever the future may hold. We are committed to being a leader and model of sustainability by doing business in a way that meets the needs of the present while contributing to an environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable future. This commitment is at the heart of how we operate and how we deliver solutions to our clients, and it is vital to our long-term success in achieving our vision: to create a future where infrastructure gives back, water is protected, natural systems are valued, biodiversity is prioritized, economies are circular, nothing gets wasted, development is responsible, everyone can access renewable energy, and society is just.
How is conservation and sustainability a part of Stantec’s business strategy?
Stantec concentrates on areas where we believe we can have a significant impact.
Building a leading sustainability consulting practice in the markets we serve by:
Integrating sustainability into our overall operations and everyday practice by:
Our strategy is based on furthering our environmental, social, and governance (ESG) performance, and we routinely assess our material ESG topics to focus our efforts on the areas of greatest impact, influence, and responsibility. For each material topic, we publish formal management approaches to overview how Stantec manages the topic and to provide easy access to information on associated policies, commitments, goals, targets, and the like.
We also recently amended and extended our syndicated senior credit facility under a Sustainability-Linked Loan (SLL), aligning our financing strategy with our continued commitment toward ESG leadership. The SLL aligns the cost of funding with:
This will be the first SLL globally to link the financing structure to progress made relative to the score.
“To design with community in mind is to design with sustainability in mind. Stantec is committed to operational action and deeply understands our responsibility to make impactful contributions to sustainability through the work we do for our clients to address extreme weather events, aging infrastructure, growing populations, water scarcity, climate change, and social inequity.”
-Gord Johnston, President, and Chief Executive Officer.
What are Stantec’s short and long-term goals as they relate to conservation and sustainability?
Stantec delivers innovative ways to mitigate environmental impacts and enhance the resiliency of the communities and clients we serve. And we’re committed to conducting our business in a similar way. As an industry leader, we’re proud of its performance and recognition, but we feel a responsibility to keep it going with additional action.
We set short-term, mid-term, and long-term emission-reduction goals, which support keeping global warming under 1.5°C. We have pledged to achieve carbon neutrality by 2022 and then net zero, which reflects our commitment to a robust ESG sustainability strategy. We’ve signed on to various climate programs. We push ourselves a little bit further each year. That’s why we are committed to using the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as our guide to making a positive impact on the communities we serve.
Stantec is a caring company as well, committed to supporting growth by enhancing knowledge, prosperity, health, and quality of life in the communities where we live and work. We support endeavors in the arts, education, the environment, and health and wellness. We strive to make a difference in the places where we live and work, and we’re committed to investing in our communities. By 2030, we aim to invest a further $30 million into community organizations around the globe, taking our total to $60 million since starting this initiative in 2007.
Additional goals include but are not limited to:
The University of Texas Dallas Science Building is a LEED Gold certified facility designed by Stantec’s architecture team to encourage collaboration and promote future growth at the tier one research university.
Dr. Bruce Novak, professor of chemistry, holder of the Francis S. and Maurine G. Johnson Chair and former dean of the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, advocated for the new building: “Much to our delight, through the diligent and creative work by the architectural firm Stantec, the general contractor Linbeck and our Facilities Management team, we identified ranking opportunities in several areas that allowed us to secure LEED Gold. This accomplishment directly speaks to the University’s commitment to environmental sustainability that will extend long into the future.”
Who at Stantec is leading your conservation and sustainability efforts and what are some examples of employee engagement in conservation and sustainability at your company?
Sustainability is part of Stantec’s identity. We incorporate it into our purpose, promise, and values; take actions to mitigate climate change impacts; and support social justice endeavors. And we steadfastly promote efforts to develop a sustainable future for the clients and communities we serve—all to create a safer, healthier, and more inclusive world for all. That being said, here are a few individuals whose efforts and commitment to conservation and sustainability have a ripple effect throughout the organization:
Stantec’s Environmental Services team is passionate about applying science and engineering to optimize the relationship between our natural and built environments—under the banner of safety, quality, and regulatory compliance.
What conservation and sustainability programs and projects does Stantec lead and participate in?
Stantec established an emissions reduction program in 2010 and has consistently reduced operational emissions each year since. In 2021, our 1.5°C emissions reduction target was approved by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), and it was recently announced that we have achieved carbon neutrality for operations in the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and the European Union.
We continue to support and protect our clients and communities with an accelerated focus through strategic investments as well. In 2021, we launched our Climate Solutions offerings and the Stantec Institute for Water Technology & Policy to drive forward essential new ideas, technologies, and policy changes.
“A primary mission of the Institute is to identify emerging and leading-edge technologies to help address the water challenges our communities face and bridge the gap between science and practice to de-risk their implementation. The Institute exists to demonstrate that solutions to preserve and protect water quantity and quality in the context of a changing global climate are both technologically available and achievable at any scale,” said Dr. Art Umble, Stantec Senior Vice President, Global Sector Leader for Wastewater Treatment.
We also recently established a cross-disciplinary Center of Excellence to provide sustainable, climate-smart, and equitable infrastructure design services. The Center responds to the need for an immediate transition to a low carbon economy to limit global temperature rise and that communities must prepare to better respond to and recover from the increasingly frequent and severe natural disasters related to climate.
We facilitated an intensive two-week long COP26 program focused on helping both clients and Stantec practitioners understand the potential magnitude of climate change’s influence on the built environment.
We have a passion for creating strong and vibrant communities. Through donations, sponsorships, and volunteering, we connect with our communities and help strengthen them in meaningful ways. We achieve that by supporting endeavors in the arts, education, the environment, and health and wellness. Along with our four pillars, we also focus on equity and diversity partnerships, scholarships, Dollars for Doers, and Stantec in the Community (SITC) Week.
Since 2007, when we began tracking, our donations have exceeded $31.1 million. In 2021 alone, we invested over $4.4 million in support of organizations in our communities, awarded nearly $830,000 in scholarships (including launching a $200,000 annual Stantec Equity & Diversity Scholarships fund to support underrepresented and BIPOC communities in their studies in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math fields), and provided more than $610,000 in STEM grants.
How do you see the future of conservation and sustainability evolving, and what role will Stantec play in that progress?
For decades, Stantec has been helping clients reduce environmental impacts and adapt to our changing climate. We have mobilized our services around initiatives that support our clients’ climate change mitigation and adaptation goals:
To help the world transition to renewable energy and carbon-free economies, we are committed to helping our clients—including those in GHG intensive sectors—identify solutions and designs that address the climate crisis.
The Holdsworth Center in Austin, Texas, is an AEGB 4-star rated campus providing educators a place where they can truly connect with one another and thrive.
How does Stantec quantify investment and return on conservation and sustainability?
Stantec actively looks to select vendors, subcontractors, and partners who practice sustainable behaviors. We influence our supply chain with our Partner Code of Business Conduct, which details our values, standards, and expectations. Stantec suppliers are managed by a corporate Procurement and Real Estate team and include providers of building leases, vehicle fleets, IT equipment, and office supplies. Subcontractors and specialty partners are managed by geographically dispersed subcontractor management teams.
In 2021, Stantec:
Stantec conserves resources in our operations, bringing direct environmental benefits, increased efficiencies, and reduced costs. In 2021, Stantec
For geographies beyond North America, cellphone recycling is managed at a country level and not centrally tracked. As well, computers are leased through Dell where, at the end of their lease period, the program includes return for responsible disposal.
Stantec’s long-term focus on sustainability creates value by reducing carbon emissions, improving the environmental and social benefits of our projects, and driving operational efficiencies. For example, our coastal resilience, ecosystem restoration, and energy transition work help mitigate the effects of climate change. And our work to foster inclusivity, diversity, and career development contributes not only to an inspired workforce but stronger financial performance.
We support and measure our collective impact against the United Nations SDGs, which provide the world with a concise definition of what a sustainable community looks like—from gender equality and zero hunger to clean water and clean energy—and a blueprint to achieving a better and more sustainable future for all.
For Stantec, the SDGs serve as a model for what it truly means to design with community in mind, and we are actively tracking how our work supports the intent and metrics/indicators of the SDGs. The percentage of our gross revenue that comes from the 7 SDGs we impact most (clean water and sanitation; affordable and clean energy; industry, innovation, and infrastructure; sustainable cities and communities; climate action; life below water; and life on land) has increased from 45% in 2019 to 53% in 2021.
What is the one lesson that Stantec has learned from your conservation and sustainability efforts that others can take back and think about applying within their own space?
Establishing a successful ESG program
With increased urgency, our clients continue to look to our climate advisory services as they navigate and develop their Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) programming. Across all sectors, there is increased ESG related pressures from stakeholders, employees, and investors to access capital.
Understanding climate scenarios, performing climate risk assessments, and developing adaptation plans are all components of a strong ESG program. This work can even help support access to grants and funding from various government sources.
Many companies are trying to act quickly—going from zero to fully implemented. But, developing a solid ESG program requires time to establish goals, develop a successful implementation plan, identify benchmarks to measure progress, and generate transparency through reporting. None of which happens overnight.
Building resiliency through ecosystem restoration
In 2020, the United States’ five-year average disaster costs exceeded $100 billion. With more frequent and extreme weather events on the rise—such as catastrophic droughts, wildfires, floods, tornadoes, and hurricanes—our communities face increased risk to their economies, infrastructure, and natural environments. To address these increasing risks, our communities need holistic and cost-effective solutions. One proven effective solution to mitigating these risks are those that weave in new and optimize existing natural systems and processes to advance community resilience.
Why is Texas an important home or base of operations for Stantec?
Stantec has experts from across all five of our major business operating units (Buildings, Energy & Resources, Environmental Services, Infrastructure, and Water) providing services throughout Texas, including six key geographic areas (Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, Plano, and San Antonio). As the state continues to experience explosive growth, both in industry and population, we recognize the massive opportunity it presents for our growth as well.
Therefore, with support from our corporate leadership, we are collectively committed to working toward a common goal of becoming a top five A/E design firm in the State of Texas with talented experts collaborating on transformational projects that tangibly improve our local communities. Guided by the vision to become a top-tier multidisciplinary firm in Texas, our goals include (but are not limited to) increased employee engagement scores, reduced voluntary turnover, and a high client satisfaction rating in Texas.
Learn more about Stantec’s conservation and sustainability efforts here.
Stantec in the Community Week (SITC) is held each year in addition to the many community outreach activities Stantec employees participate in throughout the year. Since SITC launched in 2013, over 43,500 employees have donated their time to work with over 2,000 organizations worldwide.
In 2021 alone, Stantec invested over $4.4 million in support of organizations in our communities, awarded nearly $830,000 in scholarships (including launching a $200,000 annual Stantec Equity & Diversity Scholarships fund to support underrepresented and BIPOC communities in their studies in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math fields), and provided more than $610,000 in STEM grants.
Stantec worked with a top technology company to help improve water conservation and prevent pollution across its supply chain, supporting everything from engineering to capacity building.
DFW Airport, Texas
San Antonio, Texas
San Antonio, Texas
San Antonio, Texas