March 1, 2019

Introducing Ramboll’s new Environment & Health UK Managing Principal

Philippa Spence joins Ramboll as UK Managing Principal of our Environment & Health (E&H) business on 1 March 2019. In the following interview she discusses her new role and what she expects from the UK E&H business in the coming months.

Philippa is a recognised industry expert in delivering complex environmental and social projects and advising on environmental, social and governance (ESG) strategy and implementation. She now heads up the 265-strong E&H team in the UK, replacing Matt Davies who has taken up a new role in Ramboll’s global Impact Assessment service.

What impact do you hope to make as E&H’s UK Managing Principal?

I would like to continue the great work already underway to grow the business and deliver excellent services to our clients. The work we do is so important, particularly at a time when businesses must address a multiplicity of sustainability challenges.

What attracted you to the role at Ramboll?

Ramboll has a set of values that really appeal to me, as does its commitment to employee wellbeing, diversity and inclusion. Having previously competed for work against Ramboll, I have always respected the company and its strong reputation.

What did your role involve before arriving at Ramboll?

I was a senior partner at ERM, where I worked for 16 years. During that time I ran both the impact assessment and planning and the contaminated site management practices, followed by a period as the commercial lead for Northern Europe. Most recently I focused on enabling partner performance and service development. Very importantly for me, I maintained a high level of client work, leading projects in a range of different areas including impact assessment, due diligence, management systems and human rights and social performance advisory.

What is your greatest professional achievement so far?

I get the most satisfaction from seeing the impact of our work with clients and the difference it makes to their business. A number of complex and challenging projects come to mind where, six months or a year following completion, I reviewed the impact of the work with the client and they confirmed that their performance had materially improved. On a personal note, growing my career at the same time as being a hands-on parent raising a family has been extremely important to me.

Which areas of Ramboll’s work are you most interested to start working on?

I am particularly interested in the opportunity that Ramboll’s breadth now offers, to apply the expertise from our different divisions to the challenges our clients face in navigating a complex set of sustainability issues. We are uniquely placed to provide pragmatic, real-world solutions, drawing on our Nordic heritage, which has always had sustainability at its heart.

There are many, but I believe there are four key issues that will be most influential in shaping the year ahead.

First is the increasing pressure on businesses to meaningfully address the impact of their activities on climate change, as well as the impact of climate change on their business. The focus on clean energy development and growth remains an important part of this, as does climate risk assessment and the development of strategies that align business decisions with the requirements of climate-change resilience, adaptation and mitigation.

Another growing area of opportunity comes as a result of the 2015 Modern Slavery Act, where we can help our clients understand and manage the risks of human rights violations in their business and supply chain, and to track, address and report on these more effectively.

Thirdly is the ongoing race in the environmental sector to harness technology and digitise the delivery of our services in ways that will add value to our clients. This trend is key, and demands both focus and investment from consultancies in order to stay competitive.

Lastly, the impact of Brexit will shape our sector in many ways. This includes the introduction of new bills to replace the European legislation currently governing environmental protection and product safety, amongst other topics, all of which our clients will need to come to grips with.