All those working in engineering have a significant role to play in helping society achieve a more sustainable future. To support this, the Engineering Council, the regulatory body for the UK engineering profession, has issued updated Guidance on Sustainability for engineering professionals at all career stages.

The Guidance is reviewed periodically and, following a wide-ranging consultation with the engineering community, this edition replaces and updates the previous Guidance.

The revised Guidance on Sustainability includes the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, clarifies its definition of sustainable development, and emphasises the importance of engineers taking a proactive role. This latest edition highlights the importance of designing in sustainability from the start, emphasises the inter-connectedness of environmental challenges and solutions, the role of regeneration and restoration, and consideration of the whole life cycle – including safe disposal.

Alasdair Coates CEng FICE MCIHT CMIOSH, CEO of the Engineering Council said: “Sustainable development is an increasingly important issue for society and the engineering profession works to meet the challenge of the climate emergency. Engineers and technicians have a key leadership and influencing role in working towards sustainability, increasingly as part of multi-disciplinary teams that include non-engineers, and through work that crosses national boundaries.

This Guidance sets out six principles to guide engineering professionals in integrating understanding of the environment and sustainability into all aspects of their work:

  1. Contribute to building a sustainable society, present and future
  2. Apply professional and responsible judgement and take a leadership role on sustainability
  3. Do more than just comply with legislation and codes: be prepared to challenge the status quo
  4. Use resources efficiently and effectively
  5. Seek multiple views to solve sustainability challenges
  6. Manage risk to minimise adverse impact and maximise benefit to people and the environment

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