Leading not following

Lord Stern, crossbench peer and climate economist, pointed out this month that the Government’s “backsliding” on climate action was a deeply damaging mistake. It raises the question, how are we to meet national and global carbon reduction targets and a 1.5 degree lifestyle if the goalposts keep moving?

It is little wonder that expectations in the UK for COP28 are low. King Charles and Rishi Sunak might be there, but Presidents Biden and Xi Jinping might not be. The conference is the first time progress will be assessed under the 2015 Paris climate agreement, but already we know the world is not on track.

Nevertheless, COP28 remains a critical opportunity to hold governments to account. And to push hard for movement, including to triple global renewables capacity.

Business has a vital role in creating a crack where the light can come in. Not constrained by the short-termism of political cycles, they can often be agile in changing how they operate and then force governments to catch up. In turn, individuals can drive companies to act differently. We all have a role to play.

LDA Design is determined to be part of that group of committed businesses and organisations leading on climate action.

Our latest annual report on Corporate, Social and Environmental Responsibility sets out how we are prioritising climate, nature recovery, and health and wellbeing for the communities with which we work.

Over the year, we have brought rewilding to major national infrastructure, and our masterplanning team is using climate change scenarios to design out carbon, and enhance biodiversity, as well as create great places to live.

The children of St Stephen’s and St Kevin’s enjoying new play spaces in Glasgow's Sighthill. Credit Chris Swan
LDA Design's Olly and Branwen volunteering in Calais
Manchester studio tree planting day

Here are five highlights from this report:

  1. We are committed to carbon neutrality for emissions we directly influence (Scope 1 and 2) by 2025. This is the first commitment of our emerging Climate Action Plan. Now we have full analysis of our Scope 3 data, we are committing to a net zero target in 2023/24.
  1. We are developing an ambitious place-led approach to carbon reduction with a strategy that goes well beyond emissions from the buildings. We have developed and shared practical steps to deliver this, with a programme of low carbon masterplanning workshops which explore how to utilise ecosystem services.
  1. Focusing on health and wellbeing is a priority for us. We want mental health to become an everyday conversation, and now have 12 trained Mental Health First Aiders across our studios. We have strengthened our benefits package and reviewed our flexible working practices.
  1. We are prioritising ways we can give back to the communities where we live and work through paid internships, student placements and one apprenticeship. To support greater diversity in our professions, we have become part of the ‘10,000 Black Interns’ programme. Two of our five annual bursary awards were allocated to those facing financial or other challenges pursuing higher education. We are helping to develop a Level 3 and Level 7 apprenticeship standard with the Landscape Institute.
  1. We have initiated a review of our co-design and community engagement, with an approach that links closely to the values in our Charter, aiming to improve social outcomes.

Download LDA Design’s latest CSER report. 

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