Paul Mansell is a Research Fellow sponsored by ICE and Nathu Puri Institute for Engineering & Enterprise at LSBU as well as Associate Staff, University College London). Paul is delivering a session about his PhD project, titled: Redefining investment value decisions on Infrastructure Projects using the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
His body of research has used a mixed methods of surveys with 325 engineers, interviews with 40 CEOs’ This has enabled him to develop an extended Theory of Change model for measuring the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)impact and the Impact Value Chain (IVC) model. He has tested the model with a number of case studies, including the UK’s Environment Agency £5.2Bn flood programme. The research is testing how the application of a number of models can support measurement of the SDGs impact on infrastructure projects?
The relevance to Climate Change is that the focus is initially Pauls’ research is finding ways to use the measurement framework of the SDGs to inform investment decisions specifically in relation to UK’s national commitment to Net Zero Carbon Emissions by 2050.
Paul will be joined by Kat Ibbotson, a low carbon advocate and research practitioner from the Environment Agency
Paul, thank you for taking the time out to take part in the interview and for agreeing to deliver a session at the conference. To begin, can you let us know more about your background?
Since 2008, I have a Senior Independent Advisor to Infrastructure and Projects Authority for the Cabinet Office and Her Majesty's Treasury. Since 2012, I have has lectured on the governance module at UCL on the MSc ‘Strategic Management of Projects’. In 2018, I undertook a full-time PhD Research into ‘Measuring Infrastructure Projects’ Sustainable Development Goals Impact’ with Nathu Puri Institute; jointly funded by the Institute of Civil Engineers.
Previously, I worked for 20 years in the Ministry of Defence and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on global operations. I also had 5 years in Deloitte Consulting as a Director, and jointly set-up a leading project performance consultancy in 2004 (Moorhouse), winning many national awards, which was bought by BT in 2008. I’ve led mega-programmes across telecom, finance, energy and transport sectors. So it’s been incredibly varied!
What will you be showcasing at this event series?
How to turn great thoughts into action – making a difference personally and organisationally,; specifically on how to apply global goals at local level.
Can you tell us a bit about some key findings, from The Global Engineering Congress Survey with ICE to your interviews on SDG measuring within projects?
Following surveying 325 Engineers, the results highlighted that there is a high demand for measuring projects against the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), approx. 97%, but two thirds did not believe they had the right tools, systems or leadership in place to deliver broader environmental and societal impacts beyond the primary business function of being profitable.
Following interviews with 40 CEOs and Heads of Sustainability, the results indicated that organisations are committed to ‘make a difference’, across the three pillars of sustainability -Profit-Planet-People, but there are many perceived challenges. These include: the complexity of 17 SDGs, the 169 sub-targets and 232 indicators; a lack of credible theoretical models to guide them and an absence of usable tools.
Tell us about how you came to work in your field?
I am an amateur explorer in the arctic and Antarctic, providing safety support in extreme weather. Most recently, I was deputy leader to the north pole for a film team on climate change. On the exit from the north pole we stayed with Russian scientists who shared the shocking news that NASA’s satellite data showed that there was 1 million square KM less ice in march 2017 than in march 2016. This shocked me – I immediately searched for a PhD that would help me understand this better and find a way to contribute.
What’s the proudest moment of your career to date?
Having 3 amazing children!
What message would you give to our staff and students who are trying to adopt more sustainable habits and behaviours?
Taking the step from ‘knowing to doing’ is the hardest but the most rewarding.
Finally, what are your hopes for the conference and more importantly, for the future?
In the words of Mahatma Gandhi during prayer at Mumbai, September 1944: “Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's needs, but not every man's greed.” And “Be the change that you want to see in the world.”
Paul will be delivering his session at 10.45am on Tuesday 23 June, as part of a day devoted to Carbon action.