AECOM Europe’s head of sustainability, Richard John, together with other business leaders, last night presented the Copenhagen Communiqué to UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown. AECOM, one of the members of the Prince of Wales’ Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change, helped develop the Communiqué.

The Communiqué, which has been signed by more than 850 business leaders globally, says, “these are difficult and challenging times for the international business community and a poor outcome from the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen will only make them more so, by creating uncertainty and undermining confidence.”

AECOM believes it is critical to exit this recession in a way that lays the foundation for low-carbon growth and avoids locking us into a high carbon future. As the Communiqué states, “Economic development will not be sustained in the longer term unless the climate is stabilised.”

This is the latest in climate change initiatives instigated by AECOM and underlines the commitment as a company to advocate the need for change to others, including our clients. This focus has been borne out by a recent survey of AECOM’s clients in Europe, which identified carbon emission reduction and energy efficiency as the dominant sustainability issue recorded by clients.

Referring to the AECOM sustainability survey, Richard said: “One of the interesting aspects of the survey is that many of our clients now recognise that tackling climate change is as much about behavioural change as implementing specific energy-efficiency measures. Clearly, climate change has to be part of our thinking at every level if we are, as a country, to move to a low-carbon economy.”

AECOM’s expertise in low-carbon solutions has been recognised with a series of sustainability awards in 2009, building on low-carbon experience going back more than 20 years. One of this year’s award winners, Lion House, is believed to be the UK’s first zero-carbon office development.

AECOM has also been invited to contribute to Peter Mandelson’s Low Carbon Construction Review.