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«CSAAR (7: 2010: Amman) Sustainable Architecture and Urban Development \ Edited by Steffen Lehmann, Husam Al Waer, Jamal AI-Qawasmi. Amman: The Center ...»

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and Anne Erhlich: j= PxAxT (P: population: I: environmental impact; T:

technology; A: affluence) first published in 1991, to explain his vision. He 'upgraded' and transformed that formula into: 1= PxA/T and added H (happiness with less to satisfy needs) to the formula to become: 1= PxA/TxH to formulate his company's business model for mission zero in horizon 2020. Such examples are significant and iIlustrate the level of commitment and how far a company, and it sustainability champion, could, and i5 willing to, go not only to change its corporate mission but to actually 'practice what it preachcs'.

Eventually "the agenda of sustainability and corporate responsibility is not only central to business strategy but will increasingly become a critical driver of business growth..." as Patrick Cescu, CEQ of Uni lever claims (The Sustainability Agenda_ PWc, 2008). The remaining componcnt i5 to establish a corporate will to undertake and sustain such responsibility. To read further into this issue. this papcr picked on three consultancy tirms with different approach in incorporating sustainability in their "business as usual". The paper considers each of the firms approach to sustainability a unique one due to the firm's history, its cvolvement, clients, and fields 01' expertise and why and how they are tackling the integration of sustainability into their business. There are two firms that belong to the same holding eompany DAR GRQUP; these are Dar AI Handasah and Perkins + Will. Dar Al Handasah, engineering and design practice, with hcavy business eoncentration in the MENA region. Perkins + Will, architccture and planning design practiee, with business concentration in North America and Eurasia. The third consuItancy firm is a UK based firm with European, North America and Middle Bast presence, ARUP. In a nutshell, the three are global players with a 'genuine' interest to market themselves as 'sustainable' consultancy firms.

2.1 Dar Al Handasah: www.dargroup.com

Since 2008, Dar Al Handasah has been heavily involved to incorporate sustainability into its weil greased internaIoperations. For a consultancy firm that was established in 1956 and based in tour design offices (Cairo, Beirut, Pune and London) the kick-off was not easy.lt goes without saying that the consumer, the c1ient in this case. backlash embellished the wake-up cal!. Dar has identified achanging mood in the market place, competitors and c1ients' appetite to developments and it was evident that sustainability was in the driver's seat; it was sufficient to prompt a major rethink in the industry from the firm's point of view.

Sustainable Architecture and Urban Development 475 An evolving business mindset was required to respond to such condition.

The first order of business was to identify key indicators to this e1aimed change;

the following was highlighted:

• Referencing sustainability on reviews of design criteria, standards and norms.

• The widespread use summary of benchmarking to sustainable precedents.

• There is an evidence of updated reviews of project objectives and ambitions to meet with sustainable inspirations.

• A shift in e1ient ambitions and expectations towards more sustainable products.

• Espousal of practitioners' policies and commitments to sustainable developments.

This was followed by a response strategy. The fact that Dar recognized the need to respond, then responded by preparing an internal overhaul, in root and branch, through developing its capabilities is an indication of understanding sustainability concepts and opportunities. It was evident that this is a far reaching change, challenge and it requires a shift in the overall philosophy of design and project development processes, the bread-and-buUer of the firm's expertise. The aim is to lead e1ients, develop business and the biggest challenge is to internally adopt a sustainable business approach as part of its corporate responsibility.

–  –  –

Currently a tentative approval has been granted by Dar's board of directors to formulate a Sustainability Plan. It will branch out from the different technical department as action plans and each department will elect a champion to ensure that the department will attain an acceptable level of commitment to such endeavour. Eventually, a 'sustainability matrix' will be used to screen all types of projects prepared by the firm. Two major challenges have been identified so far: upper management concession and extracting enthusiasm from employees.

To overcome this resistance, a dual process is taking place; both management and employees are being bombarded with sustainable examples with costlbenefit 476 Mustapha Madi assessment and small doses of personal as weil as corporate responsibility are injected. It is implementing in both not only the need but the benefit ofbecoming a fully sustainable business. This approach is based on the principle that such contribution must be developed from within, and disseminated throughout 'bottom up'; while individual motivation is the principal generator of creativity (Figure 2). Dar is incubating corporate citizenship and a sustainable business in the making.

2.2 Perkins + Will: www.perkinswill.com

Although Dar Al Handasah and Perkins Will are part of Dar Group, they are at two different plateaus when it comes to sustainability. For years, Perkins + Will has successfully maintained its founding principles of sustainability, integrity, and design excellence. The brochures at Perkins + Will highlight that it takes both vision and experience to build an environmentally sustainable future. The firm has been an advocate of sustainable design since its founding in 1935; they have a long list of award-winning sustainable buildings to prove it.

On their website, the firm clearly states the obvious: "While other firms are still in a leaming curve, we are perfecting our sustainable design skills at a time when clients are increasingly becoming aware of the financial, social and environmental benefits of sustainable buildings". Even though it is a marketing tool the company has a distinct and focused mission to pursuit new solutions, share the knowledge, and produce ideas and buildings that "honor the broader goals of society". For the firm, sustainable design is more than a process of reducing environmental impact. It is a holistic approach that incorporates environmental concems into the design process from inception.

The firm has focused input on the design procedures to integrate sustainable approach threw out the design process. They have devised an integrated design process that graphs the processes to a better sustainable approach (Figure 3).

These are simplified below:

• Performance and conservation that prornotes energy and efficiency.

• Strategic building orientation and site design to reduce the negative impact of a building on its ecosystem.

• Sustainability-harvested material from renewable resources.

• Society and sustainability of the human resources where employees are the most important asset to any organization.

• Site analysis and solar orientation that will offer and maximize the opportunity to utilize environmental factors.

• Community and eco-system enhancement that has a cost-effective outcome Sustainable Architecture and Urban Development 477

–  –  –

Figure 3: P+W Integrated Design Process (Courtesy ofPerkins + Will) In addition, Perkins + Will is making sure that all its facilities are environmentally sensitive. They adopted a "Green Operations Plan" to establish guidelines for the day-to-day operations. In 2007, they pushed the boundaries and broadened their approach to make a positive impact on the environment.

Currently the firm has more than 750 LEED accredited professionals and a dedicated budget per annum for sustainability and environmental research. The broader goal entails industry leadership, integrated design services, knowledge leadership and operational excellence. The firm even adopted the 2030 challenge for all its new projects which laid the roadmap to meet their sustainability commitments. Using the words of Peter Busby, an executive director at Perkins + Will: "Successful sustainable design strategies are not finite but a process of experimentation, testing, learning and revisiting. Synergies create new opportunities and better solutions. Learning sustainable design is an organic process, as it should be". Evidently Perkins + Will is taking sustainable approach to design, and by de facto sustainable development, through its services to cIients, to the next level. Both ends of the design development spectrum in the firm (from group leader to the junior designer) are in sync with the sustainability plan and because of their commitment their clients, and by transition their projects, are designed as sustainable developments.

2.3 ARUP: www.arup.com

–  –  –

responsibility. By placing sustainability at the middle of its work allows Arup to positively influence on the built environment. Investing in research and development is another way that the firm replenishes innovative approaches to sustainable design.

As part of Arup corporate responsibility, which is a policy, is shaping a sustainable future particularly through the urban environment. The firm considers it one of the greatest challenges in the 21st century. To rise to the challenge, Arup has been investing in research, innovating and creating better sustainable solutions for its clients to create enhanced sustainable developments.

This is being done through promoting Arup's vision and more importantly how it is translated and transferred to its clients and their projects.

4: Arup's Sustainability Report (Corporate Report, 2008) At Arup's web site the firm claims commitment to sustainability wh ich in return informs the firm's approach to design a project. The firm is acutely aware of the responsibility "to do the best possible work for current and future generations". Similar to P+W, Arup's issued its Sustainability Policy in 2007 approved by its board and born out of staff engagement. Obviously for such policy to work requires the involvement of all types or professionals at all levels within the firm. It also requires a systematic approach to attain sustainability.

Figure 3 above summarize the major keystones within Arup (Corporate Report_

Arup, 2008):

• Provide value to clients by building upon its reputation for integrated design and a holistic approach to projects

• Employ and retain staff who have a high degree of awareness and expertise in sustainability for all disciplines and provide continual education and training for all staff to support innovative approaches to implementation of sustainability strategies Sustainable Architecture and Urban Development 479 • Maintain management systems to assist with implementation of sustainability objectives and develop a strategy for the firm to move towards sustainable uses in its operations What is intriguing in Arup's corporate report is the fact that it is made ofboth the sustainability report and the financial statements. Even if not clearly stated, the fact that the firm packaged their annual report by joining sustainability to financial is an indicator of their firm belief that adopting sustainability had a financial ramification on the firm's financial statement. On their web site, the firm claims that in 2008, the date they launched the regional sustainability strategy, it witnessed an annual revenue growth of 27% and profit increase from 8.5% to 11.2%...

3 The Lesson Having described the three firms in some details above it seems important to shed some light on their background and internal issues that shaped their current situation, as weH as those that led to the incorporation of sustainability into their daily businesses. To start with Arup, it should be noted that this is a publicly traded and owned multi-disciplinary entity with stocks listed in the market;

hence, a corporate social responsibility is part of its by-laws decision processes.

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