Alan Brookes, CEO of Arcadis, on responding to political change and the race to net zero

'Making a positive impact on the planet in a changing world'

'Making a positive impact on the planet in a changing world'
  • Podcast
  • 25 Apr 2024

As CEO of global design and consulting firm Arcadis, Alan Brookes is a constant follower of world news. But this year he is paying even closer attention, as geopolitical developments around the world remain a major concern. 'There are elections in seventy countries this year. The results can have a direct impact on our projects.' 

Alan Brookes joins host Paul Laseur for the sixth episode of PwC's video and podcast series 'CEOs on course'. On their way to the Joan Building, an Arcadis CO2-neutral project on the Amsterdam ring road, they discuss the challenges of being a global business, net zero and the importance of inclusion and diversity. 

'When I completed the PwC CEO Survey last year, we were dealing with high interest rates and high energy costs. We now have those well under control. But the tension in the world has not gone away. Arcadis has projects in thirty countries, and we need to closely monitor the local political situation. This makes running a large company the most challenging part of my job. You must be constantly alert to current developments abroad and see what the consequences are.' 

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Making a positive impact on the planet 

One challenge that Brookes has more influence over as CEO is reducing CO2 emissions. Arcadis aims to be carbon neutral across its operations by 2035. In addition, the consultancy firm only chooses projects that have a positive impact on the planet. 'So, for example, we are not active in the extraction of fossil fuels, but rather we look at the repurposing and recovery of assets across the world. We try to contribute to the energy transition, to a better environment and to keeping cities liveable. We consciously choose to do things that have a positive impact on the environment and our living environment, thus restoring the planet for the future.'

Inclusion and diversity

In addition to making Arcadis net zero, inclusion and diversity are also high on Brookes' agenda. 'That touches on a personal passion. It is particularly important that people, regardless of their gender or background, feel like they belong in a company and can be themselves. Our management team consists of five women and five men. We did not consciously look for a gender balance, but rather to have the best people in the right place and to ensure that there is a diversity of thinking.' 

'With a good diversity policy, a company can make a significant difference. Companies with a diverse range of people, thinking and ideas perform better and are more future-proof.'

Curious to see or hear the full interview with Alan Brookes?

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Joris van Meijel

Joris van Meijel

Partner, PwC Netherlands

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