GWRM Sustainability strategy and implementation plan Action Sustainability’s task was to set the sustainability strategy and embed it into the everyday workings of this complex project.

The Greater West Programme is the biggest investment since Brunel built the railway over 150 years ago. It incorporates the electrification of the line and other discrete route modernisation projects to enhance the railway. Action Sustainability’s task was to set the sustainability strategy and embed it into the everyday workings of this complex project. Originally the Great Western Electrification Programme, the programme then increased considerably in size to become the Great Western Route Modernisation Programme. The consultancy team worked to elevate the strategy and processes to this new scope to ensure a consistent approach, which incorporated best practice from across the industry. A significant aspect was working with the programme areas and supply chain to strategically embed sustainability requirements into their packages and then to deliver against these. 

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    Assessing sustainability impacts on a complex rail improvement project

    A team of Action Sustainability consultants were embedded into the Safety and Sustainable Development team over 4 years, working with senior leadership to:

    • Draft, consult upon and finalise a sustainability strategy, action plan and supporting processes.
    • This strategy was then embedded in the procurement process and key contracts through Sustainable Delivery Plans (SDPs). This process included identifying priority sustainability issues and objectives to contribute to, reviewing progress against requirements and producing an action plan.
    • Training and briefings on the sustainability strategy and SDP process for Project Managers and key supply chain personnel
    • Undertake a peer analysis of sustainability performance measures on infrastructure projects to inform metrics and objectives.
    • Lead key areas, including training and roll out of carbon footprinting, and support around the CEEQUAL application for specific packages on the programme.
    • Advise and feed into internal communication mechanisms, including newsletters, supply chain forums and sustainability awards.
    • Write a Sustainability Brief to communicate the programme’s sustainability strategy themes, objectives requirements to internal and supply chain stakeholders.
    • Compile a pack of case studies which highlighted best practice from across the programme and lessons learnt.
    • Produce performance dashboards against the performance objectives periodically for various area and senior management reviews.  


    Due to the embedded expert support of the Action Sustainability consultancy team, the programme has benefitted from:

    • Clearly defined overarching sustainability strategy and objectives to drive the focus and action throughout the project. This was achieved within the context of an evolving programme structure, priorities, and scope.
    • Roll out of Sustainable Development Plans, helping areas and suppliers to prioritise action and track progress.
    • The programme has won a Green Apple Award for efficiency and carbon saving for concrete foundations.  
    • Far reaching sustainability ambitions on the programme, including no net loss for biodiversity.
    • Legacy of a robust process and team of trained PMs and S&SD team to deliver going forward.