By Elisa M. Speranza, Senior VP & Corporate Director, CH2M

July 8, 2015

I love the famous quotation by U.S. naturalist John Muir, who wrote in 1911: “When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.” In this time of global economic, environmental, and social transformation, those of us in the business of providing water, wastewater, and stormwater management face many challenges and opportunities, and they are all hitched together.

As communities and companies face the challenges associated with climate change, failing infrastructure, and not enough money to fix it all, we are called to change the game and be more creative than ever before in meeting critical infrastructure and natural resource needs. Knowing that it is all hitched together, and that we have a part to play for both ourselves and for our clients, we’ve just released the 2015 Sustainability and Corporate Citizenship Report: 10 Years of Progress.

Although it hasn’t always been called sustainability, our work in the world is fundamentally about helping clients protect communities, preserve the environment, and create opportunity—and always has been. As we celebrate 10 years of reporting, it gives us a chance to pause for a moment and consider what we’ve learned.

We’ve set bold, industry-leading goals to reduce our climate impact and improve our environmental, social, and economic performance across the board over the past 10 years.  Like many others who transparently share their triumphs and lessons, we’ve learned that the best progress comes from collaboration. It’s why we engaged with skilled, visionary partners like The Nature Conservancy and Encourage Capital. And it’s why the success of the Value of Water Coalition is so important to us. We want to work with clients to change the way we approach infrastructure solutions, harnessing market-based forces and hitching environmental outcomes to social and economic benefits.

The next generation of engineering solutions is focused on working with nature as a partner and better integrating green infrastructure and natural capital. CH2M started on the green infrastructure path 30 years ago with pioneering work in permeable pavements, and we have not quit innovating, looking for creative approaches to meet infrastructure needs affordably, while generating economic development and quality of life benefits. For the next 10 years, we’ll continue to be bold and challenge ourselves. We’re looking forward to the journey.