Shaping sustainability with our next generation of talent

27 October 2021

On Thursday 14th October, over 100 young professionals from Ridge came together for our bi-annual Young Professional Discussion Forum.

Hosted in Birmingham, the event was an opportunity to bring together our growing workforce of those aged 25 and under to network and share ideas. The forum was established in 2016 as a place to engage young professionals, across our disciplines, on a range of industry topics, and to seek their help in shaping the future of Ridge.

This year’s forum focused on the topic of 360 Sustainability – our unique framework that helps clients to deliver in an environmentally and socially-sustainable way. As an organisation we are also looking inwards, to embed further sustainability practices and ensure we are addressing important Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) challenges. For this session, we wanted the input of our young talent to discuss the issues that we face as Ridge, and to hear their insights to how we can solve them.

The session began with an introduction to sustainability by Brian Kilkelly, Co-founder at Climate Business, who shared a stark warning about the impacts of climate change against a clear backdrop of how we, in the built environment, can make an impact. This was followed by an introduction to our own 360 Sustainability framework by Nick Hayes, Sustainability Partner at Ridge. More information about 360 Sustainability can be found here.

Tom Bell, Architect at Ridge and RIBA Wessex Regional Chair, then gave an update on the RIBA’s climate action strategy ‘2030 Climate Challenge’, reinforcing its progressive stance to reduce operational energy, embodied carbon and potable water through better building design.

The group then split out into nine teams, each taking a key pillar in our 360 Sustainability framework. From Transport & Mobility to Materials, Resources & Waste, the groups were tasked with identifying opportunities to make a positive impact in each pillar, categorising them into Compliance, Best Practice or Aspirational.

Key Outcomes

Outcomes from the session spanned topics from diversity and inclusion to energy production and recycling. The teams presented their ideas to the group, each followed by an open discussion. Just some of the ideas shared by the group are listed below.

  • Providing enhanced public transport access at Ridge locations
  • Target biodiversity gain across all sites
  • Establishing a working group on energy reduction measures
  • Providing wellbeing days for employees
  • Set stringent targets for community engagement

Due to the pandemic, we were unable to host the forum in 2020. Since our last event in 2019, our young talent pool has grown by approximately 20%, so it was fantastic to bring so many new faces and ideas together for the first time.

You can learn more about early career opportunities with Ridge, including our graduate programme, undergraduate placements, and apprenticeship schemes, through the Ridge Academy.