How we are governed
The Energy, Environment & Sustainability Group (EESG) supports the delivery of our key themes, and the strategic objectives of our Technical Strategy Board (TSB).
The key themes the group focuses on are: energy, environment, transport and education.
EESG is the over-arching group which is the natural home of the energy, environment and transport themes, although all other Divisions and Groups have intimate involvement in key specific aspects.
EESG also supports the education theme through our innovative dissemination programme with universities, and our support for the Engineering Council (ECUK) Sustainability Guidelines for universities.
EESG supports a long term vision of a sustainable future - a world in which human society has achieved the capacity for continuance into the long-term future, with key contributions from mechanical engineers.
Mission – What is EESG for?
The mission of EESG is to help engineers to use engineering to work towards long term sustainability, a mission inseparable from the IMechE mission 'to improve the world through engineering'.
EESG aims to enable engineers to deliver the engineering solutions to support the technological and non-technological changes that are required for the transition from current unsustainable practices, to interim practices, and to long-term sustainable practices, and to support the parallel endeavours of employers, policy makers, investors, educators and other key stakeholders.
We aim to make IMechE and EESG a natural intellectual home for learning about sustainability engineering, so that policymakers, industry, academia and students turn naturally to us as a source of expertise, vision, direction and solutions. This also applies to the emerging field of transition engineering - the art and applied science of system change to address the 21st century’s great challenges; climate change, resource depletion including peak oil, ecosystem reclamation and population.
EESG recognises that the journey towards the ultimate objective of sustainable future involves some short-term activities that are not consistent with long-term sustainability. EESG therefore has two over-arching objectives and recognises the key distinction between activities aimed at each.
Sustainability, or the capacity for continuity into the long-term future, can be defined as a future world in which the activities of society meet the four principles of sustainability of 'The Natural Step
To become a sustainable society we must:
• Eliminate our contribution to the progressive depletion of substances extracted from the Earth's crust (for example, heavy metals and fossil fuels)
• Eliminate our contribution to the progressive buildup of chemicals and compounds produced by society (for example, dioxins, PCBs, and DDT )
• Eliminate our contribution to the progressive physical degradation and destruction of nature and natural processes (for example, over harvesting forests and paving over critical wildlife habitat); and
• Eliminate our contribution to conditions that undermine people’s capacity to meet their basic human needs (for example, unsafe working conditions and not enough pay to live on)
EESG will seek to promote activities that are consistent with this objective, to understand the science and engineering of this long-term objective, and to identify and promote the routes to it.
We recognise that there will be an interim period of transition where some measures may be required which are not sustainable in the long-term, in order to effect a smooth transition from the current unsustainable world to a desirable future sustainable world.
EESG supports the implementation of such measures in the short-to-medium term, in the context of a robust endeavour to replace them with sustainable alternatives as soon as possible. Interim activities would include unsustainable energy supply technologies to avoid short-term gaps between supply and demand.
Rupert Blackstone - Chair
Michael Reid - Vice Chair
Working groups for specific activities
Ad hoc working groups are created to arrange specific activities or to address specific tasks. These groups will comprise at least one member of the Board of EESG, plus other people as appropriate, and will report directly to the EESG Board. Working groups are made up of Institution members and others drawn from outside the Institution, with appropriate expertise.
• Administrative and management support is provided by the Group Executive and Group Executive Assistant
• Technical and professional support is provided by the appropriate member of Institution staff
Young Members EESG
• The Board seeks to always have at least one (and ideally more) members who are also members of the Young Members Board
• The Board seeks to maximise the opportunities for YMB members, and younger members generally, to participate in EESG activities through the Working Groups
Meetings and communications
• The Board will normally meet four times per year, two of which will be shorter audio-conferences, normally limited to one hour
• In order to minimise travel, energy use and CO2 emissions, and to facilitate participation by members who are busy and/or located away from London, the Board will seek to implement the effective use of 21st century communications technologies including a virtual office, social media, online and audio-conferencing, web fora, file sharing, voice-over-internet protocol, but not forgetting the importance of face-to-face team meetings and social events
• business will be progressed by e-mail and telephone as far as practicable
• One meeting (near to Christmas) will be the Annual Meeting, and will be followed by the EESG Annual Lecture
• Working groups will meet as needed, possibly on the same day as the main committee
• The Board seeks to link to all the Institution’s regions to facilitate the dissemination of learning between Regions and Divisions and Groups.
Opportunities to engage with EESG
• Working groups – if you would like to get involved in an activity, or even to suggest a new one, but you don’t want to sit on the Board, we would be very pleased to welcome you to a working group
For divisions and groups
• Links between Boards and committees – we are happy to establish links via individuals who might sit on both EESG and your Board or committee
• Co-sponsorship of your events – we are happy to get involved as early as possible in your planning process
• Working groups – if you would like to set up a working group to address a specific activity or event, we are pleased to seek members to participate from among the 10,000 EESG members.
The EESG Universities Dissemination Scheme. This is a scheme we have implemented with several universities, whereby we help pairs of students to participate fully in events at very low cost, in return for a commitment to run dissemination events to share learning with university peers. We are working to roll this out nationwide, to make it much easier for students to access EESG events. If you would like to get involved, please get in touch.
EESG supports individual members through the unpaid voluntary time of board members, but we need funds to enable us to develop new learning around the engineering challenges of sustainability; please contact us to offer sponsorship, and you will make us very happy.
All enquiries should be addressed to: The EESG Executive at email@example.com or call +44 (0)20 7304 6996
Appendix - definitions
Energy is the capacity of a physical system to do work. In the context of EESG, it covers the science, technology and engineering relating to the conversion, supply, storage, distribution, conservation, and use of energy in all its various forms.
Environment is the totality of surrounding conditions. In the context of EESG, it covers the science, technology and engineering relating to the management, protection, conservation and enhancement of the environment, for the greater benefit of society and the earth's natural ecosystems. EESG recognises that human society exists wholly within the natural environment, and that it is wholly subject to the laws of ecology.
Sustainable Development and Sustainability have been defined in various ways. We accept and work with the following:
Brundtland Report, 1987
"Sustainable Development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs."
The Engineer of the 21st Century Inquiry, 2000
“Sustainability can best be defined as the capacity for continuance into the long-term future. Sustainability depends upon maintaining, and where possible increasing our stocks of certain assets, so that we manage to live off the income without depleting the capital. Sustainable development is the process by which, over time, we succeed in managing all the different capital flows in our economies on a genuinely sustainable basis.”