Championing climate resilience in Congress and at WSP

ICSI Board member and WSP USA’s Climate, Resilience and Sustainability Executive Lead, Tom Lewis, recently took part in a US Congressional hearing as part of the evolving discussions around infrastructure stimulus legislation.

Tom said, “I had the great privilege of giving US Congressional testimony in front of the US House of Representatives Transportation & Infrastructure (T&I) Committee – the largest and most influential Congressional committees when it comes to infrastructure funding.”

“The topic was “Making the Business Case for Climate Solutions” and the original testimony was on March 17, wherein I talked in part about ICSI and the importance of standards and tools.”

In follow up questions, Tom was also able to emphasize the importance of the soon to be completed and released American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) sustainability standard. ASCE expects to publish the Standard Requirements for Sustainable Infrastructure in late 2021 through the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) process.

Once it is launched, this standard should be used to better inform and implement infrastructure development, specifically including the procurement process associated with infrastructure projects. These are consensus-based standards designed for transportation projects, supported by years of scientific and calibrated on actual transportation projects.

Tom also highlighted the importance of incorporating or at the very least incentivizing the use of a broad infrastructure rating system like Envision from the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (ISI).

Tom said, “The use of such tools will help the government ensure that the right projects are being done, as well as being done right when it comes to sustainable and resilient infrastructure.”

On this year’s Earth Day, Tom took the opportunity to write about WSP’s increasing focus on climate, resilience and sustainability (CRS) and how it is building additional capabilities across its business, having launched its new CRS national business line in January.

Tom explained, “I was offered a golden opportunity to perfectly align my professional background, executive and team-building skills, industry activities, and my personal passions. WSP USA asked me to assemble, lead and rapidly grow a cross-cutting team of several hundred colleagues specializing in climate, resilience, sustainability and emergency/disaster management.

As well as leading this work, Tom serves on WSP’s global Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Committee and continues to represent WSP as a founding organizer and board member for the International Coalition for Sustainable Infrastructure.

Tom adds, “I was honored to bring WSP USA’s voice to the discussion shaping climate-centered infrastructure policy. I invite you to watch my oral testimony on YouTube.”

 

With thanks to Tom Lewis and Evan Ross from WSP USA