Aurecon and Ashurst form sustainability consulting alliance

09 November 2021 3 min. read
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In what has been described as an industry-first, Aurecon and Ashurst have united their risk advisory units to offer end-to-end sustainability solutions.

Australian engineering consultancy Aurecon has teamed up with global law firm Ashurst to launch a new integrated risk advisory offering for businesses transitioning to net zero. The move follows the establishment of Ashurst’s risk and compliance practice in Australia last year – led by ex-Deloitte partner Philip Hardy – and comes shortly after Aurecon’s recruitment of former Deloitte partner Julian Dolby as its new advisory group managing principal.

“Climate change is a challenge the scale of which we, as a society, have never faced before. We know that advising clients on their net zero journey requires more collaboration, not less, which is why the alliance with Ashurst is built on shared methodology and values,” said Dolby, who spent a decade at Deloitte during the same period as Hardy, with both rising to national leadership positions. Former Deloitte CEO Giam Swiegers now serves as Aurecon’s chairman.

Aurecon and Ashurst form sustainability consulting alliance

The alliance is built on the back of the duo’s respective existing practices, and brings together “the legal and risk expertise of Ashurst with Aurecon’s deep technical understanding of asset intensive businesses”. The unified practice will be based on a ‘strategise, execute, validate, and iterate’ model, and initially focus on two main threads; ‘climate risk transitioning’ and the ESG-related ‘social licence’.

“Growing public and investor expectations on climate change, alongside tightening regulatory requirements, are putting the transition to net zero high on the strategic risk agenda for boards of asset-intensive organisations,” said current Aurecon CEO William Cox, who took over from Swiegers in 2019. “The alliance with Ashurst will disrupt business-as-usual thinking about how to solve complex problems at the intersection of asset and legal risk exposure.”

Following Hardy’s appointment and the launch of its local advisory division last year, ostensibly as a response to the rising business risks associated with Covid-19, Ashurst has also been stocking its ranks with Big Four talent, including ex-Deloitte partners Philip Hope, Tony Morris, and former global Cyber and Strategic Risk leader Sid Maharaj, along with Elena Lambros, who now leads the firm’s Sustainability & Regulatory risk advisory practice.

“Today’s organisations are looking to craft solutions from multiple expert perspectives, rather than generalist templates,” commented Ashurst global CEO Paul Jenkins, who added that the end-to-end service might also cross business lines and territories. “Clients are accelerating their sustainability efforts as we all move towards a low carbon future and, together with Aurecon, we will provide them with bespoke solutions in what is a complex landscape.”