2020's vision - EG Magazine

30 Sep 2020
Engineering New Zealand

Engineering New Zealand recently interviewed Mike Burrell on the topic of Will Covid-19’s economic disruption catalyse a more resilient and sustainable New Zealand? Also featured in the article are SBC members Beca and a project at Christchurch International Airport. See an excerpt below or read the full article.

Wanted: new thinking now

The key will be to translate heady ambitions and potent funding into effective action on the ground. Engineers are going to be vital to that, says Sustainable Business Council Executive Director Mike Burrell.

“If there’s one thing that defines engineers, it’s taking abstract ideas and making them real,” says Mike, who argues the infrastructural response to Covid-19 must also confront the looming climate crisis.

“The things we build today will lock in carbon and other sustainability decisions for decades, if not longer. This is a time when engineering companies and engineers need to be quite vocal about what kind of policies need to be in place to encourage a greater uptake of sustainable building practices and sustainable engineering in general. I think engineers are in great position to lead that discussion.”

Mike Burrell says the engineering firms he knows from the Sustainable Business Council membership are “walking the talk” when it comes to sustainability. He wants to see engineering as a sector now lead the way, particularly on greening the built environment.

“I’d love to see leadership from the sector stepping forward and saying ‘This is eminently do-able; we have the materials, the know-how and the technology. If you want us to be more sustainable, here’s what we need to see in terms of policy and legal framework.’”