27 January 2021

Guidance to support the engineering profession in achieving a more sustainable future

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.

IOM3 CEO Colin Church FIMMM CEnv welcomed the new guidance, saying, 'It is good to see this revised guidance from the Engineering Council. It recognises the important role professional engineers have in contributing to building a sustainable society. IOM3 will be sharing this with our members as part of our support for professionals in materials, minerals, and mining to be heroes of the transition to a low-carbon, resource-efficient society and not villains.'

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. 

This updated Guidance on Sustainability supports individual engineers in achieving sustainable development through engineering, as well as helping professionally registered engineers – Chartered Engineers, Incorporated Engineers and Engineering Technicians – to meet their professional obligations.” 

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

The full Guidance on Sustainability leaflet, along with a convenient wallet card of the six principles, can be downloaded at www.engc.org.uk/sustainability