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Press releases 2021

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

Published: 27/01/2021

Guidance on Sustainability title, Engineering Council logo, and recycling arrows logo. URL: those working in engineering have a significant role to play in helping society achieve a more sustainable future. To support this, 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.

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. 

Alasdair Coates CEng FICE MCIHT CMIOSH, CEO of the Engineering Council said: “Sustainable development is an increasingly important issue for society and the engineering profession works to meet the challenge of the climate emergency. Engineers and technicians have a key leadership and influencing role in working towards sustainability, increasingly as part of multi-disciplinary teams that include non-engineers, and through work that crosses national boundaries.

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.”

Terry Fuller CEng MICE FCIWEM, Chair of the Working Group who revised the Guidance and CEO of the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM), said: “The engineering profession has robust, relevant, up-to-date guidance on sustainability, which benefited from inputs from a wide range of perspectives. This included Engineers Without Borders, new entrants to the profession and a number of the professional engineering institutions, all of whose contributions were valuable.”

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 free from Engineers, employers and institutions are encouraged to share this Guidance with their networks.

The Engineering Council also produces Guidance documents on Risk, Whistleblowing and Security, in addition to the Statement of Ethical Principals, published jointly with the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEng). This Guidance is reviewed regularly and can be found at:   

Download it for free and share with your networks:



Notes to editors

The Engineering Council holds the national Register of Engineering Technicians (EngTech), Incorporated Engineers (IEng), Chartered Engineers (CEng) and Information and Communication Technology Technicians (ICTTech). It also sets and maintains the internationally recognised standards of competence and ethics that govern the award and retention of these titles. Through these processes it is able to ensure that employers, government and wider society, both at home and overseas, can have confidence in the skills and commitment of registrants. For more information visit:

Kate Webster, Engineering Council –, 020 3206 0567