HDR ESG Report, 2023

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All information in this ESG Report (Report), including but not limited to case studies, is provided solely for informational purposes and shall not be construed as legal advice or as creating any legally binding statements or assertions. In addition to disclosure of historical information, certain information regarding HDR contained in this Report may constitute forwardlooking statements. The forward-looking statements contained in this Report are made as of the date of this Report, and HDR does not assume any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. The articles and quoted opinions or viewpoints expressed herein by individuals do not necessarily reflect those of HDR as an organization. In no event will HDR or its affiliates be liable for any decisions, actions or omissions made or taken in reliance on the information in this Report.

We applied the Global Reporting Initiative’s (GRI) completeness principle to encompass the dimensions of scope, boundary and time of our report.


Letter from CEO

What do we owe the future? That is a question we often ask ourselves as employee-owners at HDR. While we are proud of our rich history and the great things we make possible for our employees, clients and communities, we are aware we have an opportunity to impact future generations with our professional services.

At HDR, each day we strive to work cleaner and more efficiently while finding a balance of people, planet and profit.

A special ethos is needed to fully appreciate the professional responsibility that comes with creating the building blocks that help humanity thrive. This ethos needs to live firmly within us as an industry, as a company and as individuals. Throughout this report, we have highlighted many of our practices focused on sustainability.

We have prioritized sustainable, resilient and equitable projects as one of our key focus areas in our strategic plan. This report includes our immediate and long-term goals across these focus areas.

We succeed when our employee-owners are contributing to the betterment of our society, when our communities see us as a trusted steward, and when we are setting new benchmarks as trusted experts. Sustainability is profoundly integrated into our company’s strategy. Sustainability-focused strategies equate to improved business for our clients and the communities we serve. Many of our clients are asking us for solutions to be more sustainable stewards of our planet, and when we can deliver, they return to us as lifelong partners.

So, when we ask, “What do we owe the future?”, the answer may vary by individual, but our cumulative answer is a company that is united to do things right to make great things possible. Sustainability is woven into the fabric of our processes and culture.

This report provides an opportunity to reflect on what we have done up to this point, a way to share our achievements and history in this important aspect of our business, and a way for us to strategize where we go from here. Thank you for continuing this journey with us as we work to impact the world for our clients, the communities we serve, each other, and future generations.

Sustainability-focused strategies equate to improved business for our clients and the communities we serve.

2023 Highlights Surpassed


Global Employees More than 200 Locations

Around the World

100% Employee-Owned

The National Center for Employee Ownership 100

No. 1 – Largest 100% employee-owned architecture/engineering company

No. 5 – Largest 100% employee-owned company

No. 7 – Largest employee-owned company

10 Board Members (Six Internal HDR Employees & Four External Members)

40% participation increase in Employee Network Groups (ENGs)

HDR provided Exceeded $1.7 Million USD in Employee Donations in the 2023 Day of Giving Campaign.

$3.5 Million in Corporate Sponsorships

1,183 Pathfinder Recipients Recognized Employees for Professional Excellence

20% of employees participate in at least one ENG


431 Colleagues

Recognized in our Officers, Professional Associates and Associates Programs

Diversity and Inclusion Award, Large Firm (2023), American Council of Engineering Companies of Washington Firm of the Year (2023), American Council of Engineering Companies of Minnesota

26.2% Emissions intensity reduction, per employee since 2019

The HDR Foundation provided 87 Grants

Totaling $2.8 Million USD

The HDR Foundation awarded over $300,000 in ENG Action Grants


Finalist, Commissioning

Provider of the Year (2023), Commissioning Specialists Association

Investment in Training Award (2023), The Careers Plus Programme, Commissioning Specialists Association

6,844 metric tons CO2e

Direct Scope 1 Emissions (carbon dioxide equivalent)

15,052 metric tons CO2e

Indirect Scope 2 Emissions

40,931 metric tons CO2e

Indirect Scope 3 Emissions

Strengthened our


6 Table of Contents Disclaimer 2 Letter from CEO 3 2023 Highlights 4 About HDR 9 Who We Are 10 Sustainability Management 12 Sustainability and ESG Governance 14 Our Sustainability Vision Statement 14 Our Sustainability Structure 15 Our Sustainability History 16 Materiality Assessment 17 Governance 21 Employee Ownership & Culture 22 Public Policy and Ethics & Integrity 24 Risk Management & Business Resiliency 26 Technology, Information Security & Cybersecurity 27 Social 28 Health & Safety 30 Talent Management and Learning & Development 32 Inclusion, Diversity & Equity 34 Community Engagement/Initiative 38 Responsible Supply Chain Management 40 Environment 42 Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions 44 Water 46 Biodiversity 48 Waste 50 Recognized for Elevating Project Sustainability 52 GRI Index and Data Visit hdrinc.com Many of the photos in our 2023 ESG Report are photos captured by HDR’s employee-owners submitted in the annual Young Professionals Photo Contest. The YP 2023 Photo Contest was the ninth round of this competition, centered around the theme, “Progress.” All HDR employees are encouraged to participate in this event, and entries are judged by a panel of HDR employees based on artistic expression, creativity, originality, and quality.

List of Abbreviations

A/E Architectural and Engineering

A/E/C Architectural, Engineering and Construction

AI Artificial Intelligence

AIA American Institute of Architects

ATD Association for Talent Development

BCA Benefit-to-Cost Analysis

CEH Center for Environmental Health

CO2e Carbon Dioxide Equivalent

DART Rating Days Away, Restricted or Transferred

DEIB Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging

EAP Employee Assistance Program

EMR Experience Modification Rate

ENG Employee Network Groups

EPEAT Electronic Product Environmental

Assessment Tool

ESG Environmental Social Governance

EUI Energy Use Intensity

GAC Granular Activated Carbon

GHG Greenhouse Gases

GRI Global Reporting Initiative

GWP Global Warming Potential

ID&E Inclusion, Diversity & Equity

ISO International Organization for Standardization

IT Information Technology

JHA Job Hazard Analysis

kW Kilowatt

L&OD Learning & Organizational Development

LED Light-Emitting Diode

LEED Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design

MTCO2e Metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent

PFAS Per- and Polyfluorinated Substances

S+CR Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility

SF Square Feet

SWANA Solid Waste Association of North America

TCIR Total Case Incident Rate

TRUE Total Resource Use and Efficiency

USD U.S. Dollars

UV Ultraviolet

UVLED Ultraviolet Light-Emitting Diode

YP Young Professionals

YP ENG Young Professionals Employee Network Group

About HDR

About HDR

Who We Are

We believe that the way we work can add meaning and value to the world. That ideas inspire positive change. That thinking outside the box can illuminate fresh perspectives. And that small details yield important realizations. Above all, we believe that collaboration is the best way forward.

We specialize in architecture, engineering, environmental and construction services. While we are most well-known for adding beauty and structure to communities through high-performance buildings and smart infrastructure, we provide much more than that. We create an unshakable foundation for progress because our multidisciplinary teams also include scientists, economists, builders, analysts and artists.

Our Values

Live the network. We think global and act local, and as a result we learn from each other. We strive to bring together the right people for each individual client and engagement, ensuring the right skills, expertise, experience, and teamwork.

Listen first. To find the best answer, we try to understand the root and complexity of the problem.

Hold ourselves accountable. We are empowered to find the best solutions for our clients and for our own company.

Push boundaries. We strive to do things better and stretch further.

Design smart. We have the skills and ability to tailor our approach to each situation, whether it’s tried and tested, or something more cutting edge.


Our Story

More than 100 years ago, our mission began by helping rural communities adapt to a changing world, designing power and water treatment systems where they were needed most. Our impact continues today as we provide solutions to complex challenges for our clients across the globe. By promoting and practicing mindful stewardship of our communities and resources, we create shared value as we work to make the world better and safer for all.

HDR has garnered recognition that reflects our business approach, as demonstrated by our awards and rankings page on hdrinc.com.

Our Markets and Services


• Aviation

• Civic & Culture

• Civilian Agencies

• Coastal Resiliency

• Commercial and Real Estate

• Defense, Intelligence and Federal

• Drinking Water

• Education

• Finance

• Fisheries

• Freight Rail

• Health

• Highways and Roads

• Hospitality (Hotels and Restaurants)

• Industrial

• Installations

• Mission Critical & Security

• Ports and Maritime

• Power

• Science

• Tech/Media/Telecom and Data

• Transit

• Urban & Community Development

• Waste

• Wastewater

• Water Conveyance

• Water Resource Management

Countries of Operation

• United States

• Canada

• Australia

• Singapore

• Germany

• United Kingdom

• Saudi Arabia

• United Arab Emirates

To see our office locations, please refer to Locations on hdrinc.com.

Specialized Services

• Advisory Services

• Architecture

• Asset Management

• Commissioning & Operations

• Economics & Finance

• Engineering

• Environmental Sciences

• Field Services

• Planning & Consulting

• Project Delivery

• Program Management

• Research

• Right of Way

• Sustainability & Resiliency


Sustainability Management


Sustainability Management

Sustainability and ESG Governance

We work to make our world a better, smarter, safer place.

For over a century, HDR has shaped communities and pushed the boundaries of what’s possible. Our expertise spans more than 12,000 employees in more than 200 locations around the world — and counting. We understand that good governance is the backbone of doing good business.

Our Sustainability Vision Statement

As an employee-owned firm, we strive toward an inclusive sustainable future and to elevate our communities, industry and professions through human-inspired technical and creative solutions.

Communities Industry Professions 14

Our Sustainability Structure

Board of Directors

Executive Sponsor and Board Member

Reports strategy, development and implementation of Sustainability Program to the Board of Directors.

Corporate Sustainability Steering Committee

Oversees Corporate Sustainability Program. Ensures alignment with HDR’s strategy, culture and leadership.

Corporate Sustainability Director

Develops, implements and manages the Corporate Sustainability Program.

ESG Criteria Leaders

Evaluate and manage related sustainability efforts.

Corporate Sustainability Advisory Committee

Advise the Corporate Sustainability Director.

Stakeholder Engagement

We continuously adapt our engagement methods to better connect with our stakeholders, aiming to integrate community stewardship into our work.

• Clients — Meet with clients throughout the course of a project and collaborate through our quarterly client report card program.

• Educational leaders and organizations — Involve regularly through internal speaking engagements.

• Civic organizations — Quarterly, biannually and annually, depending on activities and events.

• All staff — Daily, through intranet updates, employee engagement survey, leadership forums, business group conferences, etc.

• Professional organizations — Monthly.

• Young professionals — Monthly.

• Retirees — Quarterly.

Our success hinges on engagement with our stakeholders, who live with the outcomes of our work daily. We engage through various channels such as internal meetings, career programs and social media.

We value stakeholder input, which informs our business activities. Employees actively participate in their communities through various avenues, and we have numerous feedback mechanisms in place, including meetings, retreats and surveys. We strive for transparency, addressing concerns internally through leadership meetings and externally by working with clients and organizations.


Our Sustainability History

1995 Created the Sustainable Design Solutions Group

2008 Released first Corporate Sustainability Report

2006 Hired Sustainable Business Manager

Established Green Teams

2012 Created crosscompany Office of Sustainability

2015 Started Greening Our Communities Program

2018 Signed on as a Fitwel Champion

Certified our 1st Fitwel office

2020 Achieved GHG Emission Reduction Target , reducing GHG emissions levels 20% by 2020 from our 2011 baseline


Published our first ESG Report

Named first Corporate Director of Sustainability

Recruited our first Sustainability Leader for our Australian Sector

Certified our 7th and 8th Fitwel offices: Chicago and Denver


Developed first company-wide GHG inventory

Developed GHG inventory specific to corporate headquarters and signed purchase agreement for 5.2 million kW of renewable energy

2005 Formalized cross-company Sustainability Leadership Team


Began Green Team Awards Program

Released updated S+CR Report; adopted new GRI G4 guidelines

2011 Implemented “Smart Solutions” program as result of a company strategic planning objective

Established GHG Baseline and GHG Emission Reduction Target


Certified our Seattle office and new global headquarters in Omaha through Fitwel

2016 Conducted first materiality assessment


Established Corporate Sustainability Governance Developed a Sustainability Vision Statement

Evolved our Green Teams to Sustainability Stewards Program to support continued growth in operational sustainability


Fitwel certified three HDR offices: New York, Raleigh and Toronto


Sustainability Management

Materiality Assessment

We’ve built our Corporate Sustainability strategy based on what has the most impact on our business and communities.

Materiality Assessment Process

In 2023, HDR conducted a materiality assessment refresh. The assessment examined environmental, social and governance topics with the potential to significantly impact our operations, society and the environment. The assessment considered, among other components, desktop research, client sustainability data requests, qualitative and quantitative assessment of data gathered through the strategic planning process, and stakeholder engagement.

The combined results illustrate the perceived importance of each topic when considering both internal and external perspectives. The results were also applied to inform the content of reporting.

The 2023 materiality assessment reveals significant shifts in material topic placement compared to 2016. This indicates progress in managing pressing issues identified in 2016, as top topics from that time have moved to the “maintain” category. The findings of the 2023 assessment reflect an expanded understanding of external forces on companies’ operations and companies’ potential impact on society and the environment. Additionally, the findings reflect the multifaceted nature of topics such as climate change and corporate citizenship.

Notably, risk management and resiliency, energy and emissions, talent management, and learning and development emerged as crucial areas of impact. They have shared interest from both internal and external stakeholders. New topics were incorporated, and previous ones were expanded on or removed to capture current stakeholder priorities and potential impacts.

Photo Credit: Syeda Zaman

Material Themes, Aspects and Boundaries

The following definitions and graphic of material topics are only for use in the context of the assessment. They are based on the prominent topics that arose during our stakeholder engagement and desktop research. The definitions do not necessarily reflect HDR’s management approach, which is structured to consider and balance broad business goals that can include but are not limited to stakeholder priorities. For example, within “Technology, Data, Information Security, and Cybersecurity,” the issues identified as priorities are data governance, responsible and ethical use of personal information, and support of IT security. However, HDR’s management of that topic is much broader and includes those issues and more.

Employee Ownership & Culture

This topic promotes inclusive and sustainable economic growth. Examples include our ownership structure, employee retention, promoting health and wellness, our Employee Network Groups, and competitive benefits and incentives.

Public Policy

This topic aims to promote accountable and transparent institutions at all levels. Examples include public policy and advocacy, regulatory compliance and political accountability.

Ethics & Integrity

This topic promotes peaceful and inclusive institutions at all levels. Examples include anti-competitive behavior, freedom of association and collective bargaining, reduction of corruption and bribery, and increased accountability/ transparency.

Risk Management & Business Resiliency

This topic promotes inclusive and sustainable development while fostering innovation. Examples include quality management, adaptability/diversification, technological innovation and integration, and sustainable and resilient-focused solutions.

Technology, Information Security & Cybersecurity

This topic promotes healthy data governance, responsible and ethical use of personal information, and support of IT security.

Health & Safety

This topic furthers healthy lives and promotes well-being for all ages. Examples include access to resources that support physical and mental health, adequate healthcare and benefits, and safe working conditions.

Talent Management and Learning & Development

This topic addresses thought leadership and expertise required to successfully provide professional services. Examples include internal and external training/seminars/ mentoring, career pathing, cross-business group collaboration, and continuing education.

Inclusion, Diversity & Equity

This topic aims to reduce inequalities and discrimination, and promote diversity. Examples include environmental justice, equality in pay, workforce/leadership diversity, and greater representation/empowerment for all.

Community Engagement/Initiative

This topic promotes community outreach and engagement including acknowledging rights of indigenous peoples. Examples include volunteerism, partnerships, pro bono work, school outreach/scholarships, and professional societies.

Responsible Supply Chain Management

This holistic view of sustainable procurement considers the life cycle of the product and the negative environmental and social externalities it may produce. Examples include modern slavery management, procurement from local and sustainable suppliers, and life-cycle assessments for alternatives.

Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions

This topic includes efforts to reduce greenhouse gases and other atmospheric emissions while transitioning to cleaner, renewable energy. Examples include vehicle emissions, energy consumption and air quality.

Water Use

This topic includes efforts to protect and advance the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all. Examples include conservation, scarcity and treatment.


This topic includes efforts to maintain, protect and restore ecosystems on land and in water. Examples include deforestation, soil health, land rights, rising ocean levels, urban development planning, and plastic pollution.

Waste Management

This topic includes efforts to bolster sustainable consumption and production patterns that generate less waste. Examples include consumption reductions, recycling/reuse and promotion of circular economies to reduce pollution and extraction.


Matrix Assessment


Material topics that are not identified as areas where significant impact can be made through additional investment and efforts.


Material topics where there is opportunity to improve, but these items are not critical or urgent in terms of the impact possible.


Areas identified as high priorities to stakeholders, with significant opportunity to generate impact through strategic initiatives and commitments.

Technology, Information Security & Cybersecurity Responsible Supply Chain Management Public Policy Employee Ownership & Culture
Talent Management
Diversity & Equity Biodiversity Waste Management Health & Safety Community Engagement/ Initiative Water Use Ethics & Integrity HDR’s Areas of Opportunity MAINTAIN ADVANCE FOCUS MAINTAIN ADVANCE FOCUS Relevance for External Stakeholders Legend Environment Governance Social
Risk Management & Business Resiliency Greenhouse
(GHG) Emissions
& Development Inclusion,


As stewards of progress, we strive to enhance our world's well-being and intelligence. With a legacy spanning over a century, HDR has been instrumental in shaping communities and advancing the frontiers of possibility. Our global team of 12,000+ employees across 200+ locations is committed to fostering good governance, recognizing it as the cornerstone of responsible business conduct.



Employee Ownership & Culture

HDR became employee-owned in 1996. Over the last 27 years, employee ownership has fostered a positive culture supporting employees, quality services, financial success, and our clients and communities.

HDR strategically focuses on impactful community stewardship. Employee ownership supports impactful community stewardship in two ways.

First, it helps address financial inequity. Our employee ownership business model does not direct the company’s financial success to a corporate owner, a small number of owners, or many owners outside our company or communities. The financial success is returned to employees who live, work and play in the communities where we operate. Broad-based employee ownership works to reduce inequity between workers and owners because they are one and the same, creating more prosperous community members. No single employee is the beneficial owner of over 1% of the outstanding shares.

Second, employee ownership drives specific cultural traits. Many of those are positive to our business’s operation. However, another trait is creating an employee population that inherently has a strong interest in community stewardship. This strengthens our company’s support of communities through volunteering and engaging with community organizations.

HDR’s governance reflects employee ownership and underpins our culture in numerous ways. HDR’s management approach, described at right, reflects aspects of our employee ownership governance.

National Center for Employee Ownership 2023 U.S. Rankings

No. 1 — Largest A/E 100% employee-owned

No. 5 — Largest 100% employee-owned

No. 7 — Largest employee-owned

HDR Ranks Highly Among U.S. Employee-Owned Firms Photo Credit: Stephanie Larson

Management Approach

• Provide the opportunity for broad-based employee ownership. We have employees across the world who benefit from our ownership model.

• Inform and educate employees about our opportunities to participate in employee ownership.

• Actively examine and nurture our company culture for significant impacts.

• Conduct regular company-wide employee engagement surveys to gauge workplace satisfaction and progress.

• Strategic objective: Cultivate a culture of connection.

° Empower people to create a positive, energized workplace where they feel valued and perform at their best.

° Foster internal relationships by connecting people across the company, improving access to leadership and enhancing awareness of capabilities and results.

° Promote and practice mindful stewardship of communities and resources to generate shared value.

° Establish collaborative, convenient and distinctive work environments to facilitate quality teamwork and boost productivity.



Public Policy and Ethics & Integrity

Our commitment to stewardship shapes our policy framework. Leadership sets the tone, fostering an ethical workplace culture and promoting a positive environment where employees thrive. Upholding integrity as crucial, we prioritize adherence to our ethical standards and equip employees with the tools to navigate ethical challenges. HDR supports employee knowledge and implementation of policies through targeted training, including our Code of Business Ethics & Conduct and global anti-corruption laws. We expect our employees to review and understand all policies and to elevate policy-related questions or concerns. In addition, we aim to require third parties to comply with HDR’s Third Party Code of Business Ethics & Conduct.

Management Approach

• Regular training for all staff, with emphasis on ethics and integrity, including policy and procedures training on human rights relevant to business operations.

• Doing Things Right video series available to all staff.

• Integrity in Action hotline accessible to all staff for anonymous reporting.

Business Statements

• Anti-Corruption and Anti-Bribery Statement

• Code of Business Ethics and Conduct Statement

• Environmental Policy Statement

• Equal Employment Opportunity Employer Statement

• Global Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery Statement

• Information Systems Security Statement

• Privacy Statement

• Quality Statement

• Safety, Health and Environmental Policy Statement

• Supplier Diversity and Small Business Statement

• Sustainability and Resiliency Statement

• Tax Strategy Statement

ISO Certifications

Our goal is to set the industry benchmark for excellence in the services we provide to our clients. To do so, we have developed systems to support project delivery grounded in internationally accepted principles and guidelines, including ISO 9001:2015; ISO 19011:2018; ISO 21500:2021; ISO 21502:2020; and the Project Management Institute’s Project Management Body of Knowledge. The responsibility for development, implementation, monitoring and improvement is managed at the local level with oversight supported throughout the organization, providing checks and balances within our project delivery framework.

14001: UK

• Third Parties’ Code of Business Conduct Statement

Photo Credit: Xiyu Li

Governance Risk Management & Business Resiliency

Our commitment to stewardship is exemplified through our dedication to leadership, quality, safety, and corporate responsibility. We actively support client sustainability goals, provide opportunities for staff to enhance sustainability expertise and steadily improve company operations and efficiency. Our decisions are grounded in evaluating environmental, economic and social equity considerations whenever possible, promoting responsible and sustainable practices across all aspects of our work.

Management Approach

• Assess and manage business and project risk.

• Assess and manage sustainability performance.

• Implement our global Quality Management System across the areas we operate. It is developed, maintained and monitored in congruence with the fundamentals established by the ISO 9001:2015 standards. We selectively certify in locations where there is a strategic business interest and take a holistic approach to integrating sustainable practices across HDR’s operations and client services, including:

° Promote sustainable design principles and integrate environmental and social considerations in decision-making.

° Prioritize efficient resource usage and compliance with environmental laws and regulations.

° Educate and promote eco-friendly practices with suppliers and clients.

° Empower employees to drive sustainability initiatives and engage in environmental and social causes.

Employee Ownership Supports Quality Services

The quality of our work will impact the future. At HDR, our employees work to reinforce our quality culture in all facets of our business — aware that every action we take either withdraws from or invests in future generations for both our company and our world.


Management Approach

• Continuously improve our security posture against prevalent vectors of cybersecurity attacks, through advanced situational analysis tools and a focused approach to threats.

• Create a safe and secure environment, balancing control with user experience.

• Evaluate emerging technologies and make informed investments to integrate proven technologies into our digital practices.

• Enable the organization to leverage its data across the data life cycle, fostering innovation, collaboration and a competitive advantage.

• Promote a culture of data stewardship and accountability to enhance trust, transparency and integrity in the management of data across the organization.

• Implement an industry-leading service management platform, leveraging automation and the consolidation of information to provide effective and efficient IT services.

• Enhanced data exfiltration measures and monitoring.

• Implementation of nextgeneration security systems, controls and a comprehensive security incident response process.

• Continuous monitoring of new and changing cybersecurity laws around the world to meet the obligations and requirements of the countries where we work.

• Implementation of an HDR enclave to facilitate government compliance to attain the cybersecurity maturity model certification (CMMC) in accordance with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) controls.

Technology, Information Security & Cybersecurity

HDR is committed to maintaining information systems security practices that protect our data and support our clients’ security needs. We recognize that protecting client and HDR data is critical to our mutual success.

The way our employee-owners engage with our project framework is crucial for ensuring data security and positive outcomes for clients and communities. Rooted in a culture of quality, our internal systems provide a secure foundation for our organization and project teams to thrive while safeguarding sensitive information. With a diverse range of services, we prioritize flexibility for project leaders to manage and execute tasks securely for our clients. As trusted advisors in designing critical infrastructure globally, we understand the paramount importance of data integrity. Whether it’s designing advanced data centers, secure communication networks or robust cybersecurity solutions, the integrity of our work is essential for the success and reputation of our clients and communities, locally and globally.

27 Governance


Our commitment to stewardship extends to enhancing the well-being of our employee-owners, their families, communities, and the world at large. We foster a culture that empowers every employee-owner to flourish. Through initiatives such as Learning & Organizational Development, wellness programs and internal policies, we prioritize community and social well-being, nurturing it from within our organization outward. To read more about how we elevate social advancement through our governance strategy, see “Employee Ownership & Culture” on page 22.


Social Health & Safety

At HDR, we recognize that our success hinges on performing work safely, efficiently and effectively. We’re dedicated to keeping employees healthy and safe. Our Safety, Health & Environmental program provides employees with the tools, knowledge and skills essential for safe and proficient job execution. The related Drive to Zero program reminds employees of the importance and value that we place on a safe and healthful working environment.

Management Approach

• Develop, maintain and enforce the application of proactive safe work policies, procedures and standards to address risks to the safety, health and welfare of employees and others who may be affected by our business operations.

• Develop site-specific Business Continuity Plans to address potential health, safety and business disruption events.

• Provide capability for timely response times through a proactive triage/injury management system for timely medical support, an integrated incident reporting system for timely reporting of incidents, and an emergency management communications alert system for catastrophic events.

• Promote worker health through discounted nonoccupational healthcare benefits and the Employee Assistance Program (EAP).

• Provide employees with the appropriate equipment and resources needed to conduct their activities in a safe and effective manner.

• Investigate reported injury/illness, damage, environmental and near-miss incidents, and implement corrective measures to prevent recurrence.

• Continually improve our safety, health and environmental management system and performance by setting leading indicator goals and targets on an annual basis in support of strengthening HDR’s safety culture and supporting our Drive to Zero goals.

• Provide safety, health and environmental performance feedback and support to management based on timely and effective audits, inspections and observations.

Drive to Zero’s most important goal: Home Safe. Every Night. Every Colleague.

• Support achievement of physical fitness goals through voluntary health programs.

• Provide information and training at all levels of the organization so that employees can recognize safety, health and environmental hazards, and know how to prevent harm to themselves and protect others from exposure to these hazards.

• Affirm that workers have the right to work in a safe and healthy work environment.

• Work in the spirit of consultation and cooperation with workers, health and safety committees, subconsultants, subcontractors and other workplace parties.

• Engage employees through safety coordinators, safety committees, monthly safety scorecard, observations and incident reporting.


HDR’s 2023 Health and Safety Rates

We care about our people, and we’re dedicated to keeping them healthy and safe. Our low incident rates and safety focus by our leadership show we’re serious about safety.

Total Recordable Incident Rate (TRIR)

HDR’s Rate: 0.26

Industry Rate: 0.70

Days Away, Restricted Transferred (DART)

HDR’s Rate: 0.12

Industry Rate: 0.40

Investing in Our Employees' Wellness

Experience Modification Rate (EMR)

HDR’s Rate: 0.62

Industry Average: 1.00

Our employees are our owners. Healthy employees positively impact safety, productivity and engagement within HDR, allowing us to fulfill our strategic aim to elevate our communities, industry and professions with human-inspired technical and creative excellence.

Synergies for Health and Sustainability

Each project HDR delivers grants the opportunity to leverage the professional expertise to elevate our communities. Within the healthcare design industry, there is a desire to move toward eco-friendly and energy-efficient spaces while also providing patients with the best possible experience — and these two goals can often be achieved with one smart design solution.

For example, energy-saving elements in modern healthcare facilities, such as dimmable windows and mixed-mode ventilation, are energy-efficient solutions that also have positive impacts on patients in their care journey. HDR’s director of sustainability for health does a deep dive on how buildings can promote patient healing and comfort while also pushing toward a carbon-free future. Read the full article, " Double Duty," in the September/October 2023 issue of Medical Construction & Design Magazine.




Social Talent Management and Learning & Development

HDR is at its core a group of problem solvers. We own our ideas: what we create, invent and deliver for our clients. We are thriving because of an environment that empowers us to learn, be challenged and recognized, do meaningful work, and give back. We have created a meaningful employee experience to both understand what a journey can look like and where to go for resources to support your unique career journey. We strive toward an inclusive sustainable future and to elevate our communities, industry and professionals through human-inspired technical and creative solutions.


Management Approach

• Talent ecosystem supporting employees’ career journey and professional growth.

• Hiring growth through referrals, local connections, university engagement, and diversity recruitment.

• Innovative approaches through paraprofessional program.

• Resourcing career development through use of Learning & Organizational Development as a cross-company practice centered on the employee experience.

• Employee Engagement Survey to allow employee insight and feedback to influence priorities and actions around talent.

Investing in Continued Education for HDR’s Employees

Our HDR University curriculum, open to all employees, expands the depth of technical and leadership capabilities to meet evolving market demands and complexity. The curriculum provides opportunities for HDR professionals to evolve along with the industry in their existing discipline and allows individuals to explore areas of interest outside of their existing role, granting the opportunity for employee-owners to take ownership of their career journey and professional growth.

In parallel, we have made a significant investment in an industry-leading learning platform for ready access to all of our internal learning content and industry expertise from our vendor partners, among others.

• Career Connect (company-wide leadership development), BOOST (Architecture company leadership development)

• CareerBOOST (Architecture and Engineering company leadership development)

• TaLON (Technical leadership development and knowledge transfer program)

• Applied Project Management Trainings (includes: Scope, Schedule, Budget; Project Communication & Leadership; Alternative Delivery)

• Successful Pursuit Strategies; Client-Centered Presentations; Plan to Win; Technical Writing, and more

HDR’s Pathfinder Awards

HDR Recognized for Excellence in Professional Development and Learning

HDR was recently awarded an Excellence in Practice Award in Learning and Development by the Association for Talent Development, the leading professional organization for learning and development professionals. ATD recognized HDR for its project management training program developed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This innovative solution combined synchronous, asynchronous and group learning with a robust learning support structure.

In 1990, per employee requests, HDR initiated the Pathfinder Awards Program to recognize our employees whose dedication to quality, innovation and productivity goes far beyond the norm. A Pathfinder is defined as “one who finds the way." In 2023, 1,183 awards were given to employees to recognize their professional excellence.


Social Inclusion, Diversity & Equity

As stewards of a company where the aim is to value, respect and empower every individual, HDR is committed to fostering an inclusive, diverse and equitable environment. Our vision for Inclusion, Diversity & Equity (ID&E) is rooted in a culture that embraces and celebrates everyone, promoting social wellbeing and community strength through diversity focused on our 4-C Model, which incorporates:

• Career: talent (recruitment and retention) and professional development

• Commerce: market development and client insight

• Culture: internal awareness and systems

• Community: external focus and networking, collaboration

As employee-owners, we all have a role in creating an inclusive environment where each of us is welcomed, valued, respected, and empowered to bring our authentic selves to work every day. By respecting and embracing our diverse perspectives, we are able to deliver amazing work for our clients, internally and externally.

Management Approach

• Committing to a company culture of inclusion that creates a sense of belonging and embraces differences in nationality, generation, gender, race, sexual orientation, disability, ethnicity, and other attributes that make us unique.

• Integrating creativity, innovation and technical excellence to benefit employees, communities and clients.

• Fostering an environment reflecting local community cultures and diversity.

• Partnered with Paradigm in 2023 to introduce and promote an inclusive leadership model focused on the pillars of:

° Objectivity

° Belonging

° Voice

° Growth

ID&E builds on each other’s life experiences and perspectives to make great things possible every day. This shapes our collaborative culture, encourages organizational trust and connects us closer to the clients and communities we serve.

ID&E at HDR: Our Story Growing Together


– C Model

Cultivate a safe, welcoming culture that celebrates our people

Build social health and strengthen communities

Efforts that raise the cultural competency of a company by promoting inclusion, raising awareness and dispelling myths.


Initiatives designed to help the career advancement, professional development and education of ENG members.


Achieve full potential through transparency and equal opportunity


Actions that connect an ENG to community outreach and volunteer efforts.


Activities that link ENGs to business goals, corporate initiatives and strategies. Transform the industry through diversity


Employee Network Groups

As part of our ID&E efforts, HDR has Employee Network Groups. ENGs are open to all employees and create an inclusive and supportive environment where everyone is empowered to engage and contribute. Our ENGs bring employees together to provide support, enhance career development and contribute to personal development in the work environment.

Increased Participation in Our ENGs

Continued to grow employee engagement through our eight Employee Network Groups (ENGs): Growth in 2023 was over 40%, to over 2,700 employees, or 20% of our workforce. This included ENG chapters in the U.K.

Elevating Inclusion Training for Our Leaders

Launched Inclusive Leadership training to enhance an enterprise-wide culture of inclusion.

Promoting DEIB Across the Industry

Supported the American Council of Engineering Companies’ Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging initiative by participating in the DEIB survey and serving on the DEIB Education Committee.


HDR’s Employee Network Groups Give Back

The Black ENG facilitates a global forum and internal support network for Black employees to connect, foster personal mentorship and promote personal development. Our current chair of HDR’s Black ENG and supports Diversity in Aquatics and their initiative to promote water survival skills and aquatics opportunities for underrepresented groups. She sponsored a grant through the HDR Foundation to help restore swim teams to Historically Black Colleges and Universities across the country.

The HOLA HDR! ENG is a diverse group of professionals who are passionate about employee ownership and developing, recruiting and retaining top Hispanic/Latinx talent. In 2023, HOLA HDR! celebrated National Hispanic Heritage Month by hosting a panel discussion with some of our most dynamic and talented Hispanic/Latinx leaders. They discussed the Hispanic/ Latinx community at HDR, outlined future initiatives and shared personal experiences.

The Women ENG’s mission is to provide an inclusive and empowering environment for all HDR employees that fosters community, learning and meaningful dialogue. Members have supported that mission by making mentoring a cornerstone of the group, helping women expand their reach at HDR. This program has grown to 1,200 women across our global offices. The Women ENG wrote a white paper that laid the foundation for a paid parental leave update in 2024. The change doesn’t just impact women or prospective parents; it helps the whole company attract and retain talent.


Creating a more diverse and inclusive environment for our workplace remains a priority for HDR. We are taking action to deliver more ID&E within our business. We believe in the importance of ID&E in supporting innovation so we can better reflect the communities we serve. For more information, visit the U.K. Gender Pay Gap Report on hdrinc.com.


Social Community Engagement/Initiative

As stewards of our global community, we recognize our opportunity to enhance the environments in which we operate. Our projects impact communities worldwide, shaping rural, suburban and urban landscapes. We are deeply invested in the success of these projects because our employee-owners reside and engage within these very communities.

The HDR Foundation was founded in 2012. It is an employee-funded and employee-driven foundation. As a result, preference is given to organizations located in communities where HDR employees live and work, and those with strong employee involvement. The HDR Foundation’s focus areas mirror HDR's breadth of knowledge and expertise: education, healthy communities and environmental stewardship.

The 2023 Day of Giving campaign had significant employee participation and exceeded $1.7 million in donations.

Management Approach

• Encouraging and supporting employees' engagement in community service and charitable activities through efforts such as grants to charities supported by and sponsored by employees.

• Establishing and supporting the HDR Foundation.

• Supporting office-driven projects such as fundraising, food drives and holiday adoptions to benefit local organizations.

• Assisting organizations focused on community improvement, enhancement initiatives and youth education and development.

• Financial support of organizations. Donating, since inception, almost $10 million to charitable organizations through the HDR Foundation, and providing $3.5 million in corporate sponsorships in 2023.

• Supporting HDR’s commitment to ID&E through HDR Foundation-targeted grant programs for ENGs, focusing on causes that are particularly relevant, such as social equity.

• Providing assistance to employees affected by federally declared disasters through the Disaster Relief Account.


Design for Others

Design for Others is a diverse group of design professionals from HDR who are passionate about volunteering their time to projects to support communities in need. The group’s mission is to improve lives by dedicating time and expertise to projects that advance health and well-being around the world. HDR professionals work with industry partners toward common goals to make a difference — providing architecture, engineering and planning services for limited or no compensation.

In 2023, HDR’s Canadian employee-owners engaged in a Design for Others project in Kenya. For over 25 years, Tuele Kenya Chombo cha Upendo has been providing children of the Loitokitok region with a holistic nurturing environment through education and providing a home-like environment for orphans. HDR, through Design for Others and Construction for Change, has been providing Tuele with pro bono master planning and design services that envision a net zero campus that will leverage passive design principles, local materials and skills with cutting-edge computational design to redevelop the existing site. When realized, this will be a regenerative project for the community. This project will generate more renewable power than it consumes, discharge clean water to local streams and aquifer, and provide social benefits to the community.

HDR Foundation Offers Benefits to the Communities We Serve

There are several grant programs within the HDR Foundation and our global philanthropic funds. Employee-sponsored Community Grants support local nonprofits where our HDR employees already invest their time. The HDR Australia Fund, HDR Canada Fund and HDR United Kingdom Fund each include an employee-sponsored grant program to support local charities in the communities of our employees.

New Employee Network Group Grant Fosters Greater Equity

The new ENG Grant program blends previous grant programs’ best elements with a low barrier for entry and the opportunity to unlock a new level of equity in our grant-making. For example, the ENG Grant program supported Challenge Alaska and its mission to enhance the lives of Alaskans with disabilities through adaptive sports, therapeutic recreation and education.

HDR Foundation Supports Community Health

All Kids Bike is a national movement led by the Strider Education Foundation to place learn-to-ride bicycle programs in PE classes at targeted public schools for free. In support of this program that helps students develop physically and mentally, the HDR Foundation awarded a $360,000 Impact Grant to fund the successful learn-to-ride program at 40 school locations during the 2023-2024 school year. Through our first $150,000 grant, kindergartners at 25 schools learned to ride bikes during the 2022-2023 school year.


Social Responsible Supply Chain Management

We are working to pursue sustainability in our supply chain by making conscientious decisions when selecting and utilizing products for our operations. This involves collaborating with suppliers who prioritize sustainability in their own supply chains. In some circumstances, we seek information from them, such as data on carbon footprint contributions (e.g., rental car miles driven or our paper consumption), and acknowledge those suppliers who align with our shared sustainability objectives.

Championing Small and Diverse Businesses

Volunteer with industry councils and societies in support of outreach efforts for small-business supplier diversity. Sponsorship in local networking events supports small businesses and the communities they serve.


Management Approach

• Partner with diverse businesses on contracts and provide the maximum practicable subcontracting opportunities, maintaining a robust National Supplier Diversity outreach program.

• Provide formal and informal training on environmental purchasing and sustainability topics through e-learning, webinars and in-person sessions.

• Implement a formal communication plan to disseminate information on environmental topics, including purchasing and sustainable materials, through newsletters, presentations and virtual meetings.

• Eliminate toxic and hazardous substances from the workplace through the implementation of Sustainable Office Finish Standards, which prioritize materials meeting stringent standards for sustainability and indoor air quality.

• Specify and purchase furniture meeting low-emitting standards to contribute to good indoor air quality, in alignment with LEED criteria and commitments like the pledge with the Center for Environmental Health (CEH) to prefer flame retardant-free furniture.

• Incorporate sustainability initiatives regarding the selection and use of office products.

• Collaborate with suppliers promoting sustainability in supply chains.

• Collect sustainable supply chain information.

• Influence suppliers to support green practices.



As stewards of the environment, we are dedicated to working toward reducing our ecological footprint. Recognizing the significance of responsible practices for our clients, employee-owners and communities, we are committed to mitigating the effects of our operations. By reducing our business impacts, we contribute to the resilience, sustainability and overall well-being of both the environment and human health.

Photo Credit: Isaac Bros

Environment Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions

As environmental stewards, we are committed to minimizing the footprint of our operations. HDR recognizes the importance of reducing global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to address climate change. HDR is committed to developing strategies that work toward the Paris Agreement’s goals by taking action to reduce our GHG emissions and help clients reduce their GHG emissions.

HDR has a history of annually reporting its GHG emissions while working to reduce them. In 2011, HDR established its first GHG emissions reduction target to decrease our company-wide GHG Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions by 20 percent by 2020, relative to our 2011 baseline, while accounting for growth. In 2020, we celebrated achieving that goal and then continued our efforts to reduce emissions. As a result, HDR reduced its average GHG emission per HDR professional by approximately 26% between 2019 and 2023.

As a professional services organization, HDR has a limited operational GHG emission footprint. While we work to reduce the impacts caused by HDR’s GHG emissions, we focus significant efforts on architecture, engineering and consulting services to reduce GHG emissions, mitigate their impact and make meaningful progress in addressing climate change.

Management Approach

• Continue to improve GHG data capture, data management and reporting.

• Reduce GHG operational emissions while prioritizing actual reductions over offsetting. Examples of our practical approaches to reduce operational emissions include:

° Integrating energy efficiency measures into our office spaces and prioritizing the purchase of ENERGY STAR appliances, equipment and vending machines to reduce energy needs and associated GHG emissions.

° Adopting EPEAT Bronze minimum standards for computers, laptops and monitors, with HDR joining as an EPEAT Enterprise Purchasing Partner.

• Purposefully engage with communities to support GHG emissions reduction that provides environmental and social benefits.

• Enhance our client offerings to support reductions in their GHG emissions and climate resiliency.



HDR’s Commitment to Architecture 2030 Challenge

HDR signed the American Institute of Architects 2030 (AIA 2030) commitment in April 2009, and has provided reporting to the AIA since 2014. Our reporting for the past eight years has shown that we continue to move our architectural practice forward and improve our project energy performance year over year; 2021 pushed our improvement to 53.6%. These efforts continue to reflect the commitment and hard work put in across the firm.

In 2023:

• 240 projects

• 33,477,045 square feet

• 11.6% of square footage is all electric

• 53.6% reduction in Energy Use Intensity (EUI)

Total GHG for these reductions is very approximately 309,404 MTCO2e. This is down from 592,107 MTCO2e for all typical building carbon use.

Emission Scopes

Scope 1 — 6,844 MTCO2e

Direct GHG emissions from sources that are owned or controlled by the entity.

• Vehicle fleet

• Natural gas at HQ

Scope 2 — 15,052 MTCO2e

Indirect emissions associated with consumption of:

• Electricity

• Natural gas in leased space

Scope 3 — 40,931 MTCO2e

Indirect emissions not included in Scope 2; a consequence of the entity’s activities but released from sources outside its organizational boundary.

• Business travel

• Employee commute

• Purchased goods

MTCO2e – Metric Tons of Carbon Dioxide Equivalent is the unit of measure used to compare emissions from various greenhouse gases based upon their global warming potential (GWP). 11% 65% 24%
SCOPE 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023
HDR's Greenhouse Gas Inventory
5,957 6,086 5,692 5,779 5,717 5,634 6,421 7,076 6,739 6,335 6,173 6,543 6,844 2 27,746 26,122 25,598 24,254 23,130 20,877 20,469 20,422 18,605 16,976 15,410 14,901 15,052 3 50,358 50,809 50,465 50,091 52,306 53,318 49,548 45,693 42,251 15,531 29,664 40,480 40,931 Total 84,060 83,018 81,755 80,124 81,152 79,829 76,438 73,192 67,596 38,842 51,247 61,923 62,826

Environment Water

We are attuned to the challenges concerning water availability, sourcing and security. As a professional services firm operating from leased office spaces, HDR has a limited water footprint. As a result, our management approach primarily focuses on the sustainability and resilience of water within our communities, and we work to elevate our professions and industry through investment in services and technology.

Management Approach

• Reduce operational water use by implementing the Sustainable Office Finish Standards, which prefer water-reducing fixtures within HDR offices.

• Help communities meet their water and wastewater goals efficiently and sustainably by implementing HDR’s One Water approach. The One Water mission aims to assist our clients in securing a future of affordable and equitable access to clean water, sustainable water supplies, reliable wastewater services, protection from floods, and thriving ecosystems to support the continued prosperity of our communities and regions. The One Water approach capitalizes on the interconnectedness of the water cycle in our communities and environment to develop solutions that offer multiple benefits — exceeding the impact of traditional stand-alone projects.

Photo Credit: Matthew Papula

HDR’s Fellowship Program Promotes Innovation and Advancement

The HDR Fellowship Program is one way that HDR invests in developing creative solutions for technical and design issues, while encouraging employees to pursue their professional passions. Through the Fellowship Program, professionals are given the resources to lead applied research projects to develop creative solutions for technical and design issues. Fellowships may be awarded in support of any industry HDR serves. Two of HDR's Fellowships progressed efforts toward improving water quality and availability in 2023.

Communities are facing the challenge of removing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) from their drinking water to reduce PFAS exposure and avoid negative health effects. A 2023 fellowship involving granular activated carbon (GAC) focused on developing a GAC treatment design and optimization tool. The tool is anticipated to reduce the time and effort required in GAC modeling and increase HDR’s ability to help communities tackle PFAS challenges.

Pathogens present another threat to adequate quantities of safe water. Ultraviolet (UV) disinfection is a common and effective treatment technology for drinking water, wastewater and reuse water globally. Unfortunately, the mercury lamps used in conventional UV technology have significant drawbacks. The fellowship provided a critical opportunity for HDR to investigate the scalability of ultraviolet light-emitting diode (UVLED) systems as a beneficial alternative to mercury-UV technology as a treatment from a disinfection, operability and cost savings perspective — ultimately increasing opportunities and accessibility to reuse technology for water-stressed communities.

One Water Approach

Addressing Water Challenges Through One Water Research

Today’s water utilities are facing unprecedented challenges to their primary mission — providing reliable and accessible water service, protecting human health and the environment, and making wise infrastructure investments — all while maintaining regulatory compliance and affordable rates. One way HDR is working to elevate the industry and address these challenges is through the Water Research Foundation’s investigation #5175 “Navigating One Water Planning through Municipal Water Programs: Meeting Multiple Objectives and Regulatory Challenges.” The project’s intent is a guidance document that helps communities evaluate and address their water challenges through a process that identifies, prioritizes and implements interconnected strategies across all phases of the water cycle while meeting regulatory requirements, environmental objectives and community priorities.

Reuse Water Drinking Water Industry Community Development Source Water & Watersheds Stormwater Wastewater Availability Capacity Efficiency Excess O NE WATER Reliability Recovery Cybersecurity Workforce Finances Affordability Environmental Justice Engagement Access Recreation Environmental Protection Emerging Contaminants Public Health Water Stability RESILIENCY EQUITY QUANTITY QUALITY



Businesses are increasingly recognizing nature-related dependencies, impacts, risks, and opportunities. As a professional services firm primarily operating from existing, leased office spaces, HDR has a limited opportunity to negatively impact biodiversity operationally. As a result, our management approach focuses on services that engage, educate and promote the protection and regeneration of nature throughout the project life cycle.

Management Approach

• Integrate technical specialists' knowledge in support of naturebased and ecosystems-based solutions. Environmental Sciences and Planning professionals support client decision-making by contributing their unique understanding of our ecosystems and industry knowledge to mitigating impacts on protected species and habitats, enhancing habitat and passage opportunities, and incorporating environmental and biodiversity considerations into project planning, design and execution.

• Educate stakeholders about opportunities associated with regenerative design to positively influence biodiversity. Regenerative design is a holistic framework for evaluating project performance beyond avoided impacts. Through regenerative design, project proponents can prioritize “net positive” impacts for carbon, water, nutrients, air, biodiversity, social, and health as key design goals.

Photo Credit: Robert Mateega

Local Teams Exemplify Environmental Stewardship

HDR’s Corporate Sustainability Program works with local Green Teams to build a culture of sustainability in our offices through education and events. Employee volunteers help to improve business practices, enhance our office spaces and promote environmental stewardship in our communities.

HDR has almost 50 Green Teams. The Bellevue (WA) Green Team exemplified the crucial role of Green Teams in supporting local environmental conservation and biodiversity by helping to rehabilitate salmon habitat along the Sammamish River. Their efforts involved removing invasive vegetation, mulching and planting native species, which contributed to the restoration of riverbanks, enhancement of wildlife habitats and regulation of water temperatures. Their commitment to community service extended to active participation in the “Keep Bellevue Beautiful” event, as well as volunteer support of the Beacon Food Forest’s goal of creating an urban food ecosystem, fostering biodiversity and providing fresh produce to the community. HDR's Green Teams support sustainability within the office and work to elevate communities through meaningful activities like these.

Innovative HDR Design Preserves Coastline

The Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge in Louisiana experiences significant coastal habitat loss yearly due to erosion. The Rockefeller Refuge Habitat Restoration was selected for a 2023 American Society of Civil Engineers OPAL Award and received many other awards due to its HDR-led innovative design of a series of breakwaters to protect the wildlife refuge's coastline. Since 2002, HDR has worked with the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Marine Fisheries Service to help preserve and restore the area’s coastline.

Award-Winning Project Supports Human and Natural Communities

HDR Invests in Cutting-Edge Technology for Coastal Resilience Solutions

HDR is partnered with a data analytics firm to develop a coastal resilience planning tool. The tool is intended to quickly analyze adaptation solutions for quantifying risk reduction and benefit-to-cost analyses (BCA) by income levels to better understand social equity. Currently operational in beta test, the tool consumes publicly available, client-provided and HDR datasets to allow for efficient filtering and artificial intelligence (AI)-driven data queries. Given a set of rules for interpreting the data, AI will help identify critical facilities and determine the likelihood of flood inundation damage. The user can hand-draw or upload shapefiles of potential flood adaptation scenarios to generate a benefit-to-cost ratio that considers depth-damage functions, economic losses and the avoided damages and parametric costs of constructing the adaptation. For nature-based solutions, the tool also helps to estimate the benefit value of ecosystem services. Inflation and discount rate can be quickly adjusted to examine the effects on the BCA. This technical innovation is one example of how HDR invests in the future, using today’s cutting-edge technology to streamline and elevate our coastal resilience projects.

Like the Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge, the Lake Pontchartrain shoreline has experienced significant land loss and erosion over the years. The Lake Pontchartrain Shoreline Protection Project was honored with the 2023 Best Restored Shores Award by the American Shore & Beach Preservation Association. HDR has provided design and construction phase services for this project that helps combat rapid erosion of the shoreline and develop additional wetland habitat.


Environment Waste

As environmental stewards, we recognize the importance of minimizing waste generated through HDR operations and by employees. This sustainable practice benefits the environment by reducing our ecological footprint and contributes to lower business costs. As a professional services organization, HDR has relatively limited waste. As a result, our management approach focuses on reducing HDR’s own waste and elevating waste planning and management solutions available to clients.

Management Approach

• Implement sustainability policy and procedures that define expectations for conserving resources, diverting waste and establishing sustainability goals. These policies and procedures include catering guidance, office material procurement and waste minimization direction in the Sustainable Office Finish Standards.

• Implement a Waste Prevention and Recycling Standard that provides guidance on our operational waste characterization, recycling, composting, waste reduction and sustainable purchasing.

• Implement waste reduction initiatives, such as using reusable materials and procuring efficient equipment.

Supporting Zero Waste Initiatives in Our Projects

In 2023, HDR supported professionals’ Total Resource Use and Efficiency (TRUE) certification efforts. TRUE certified professionals are prepared to help facilities define, pursue and achieve Zero Waste goals. These efforts not only reduce waste but also reduce greenhouse gas emissions and support public health.

Green Teams Support Operational Waste Reduction

The HDR Green Teams’ support of a sustainability culture in our offices extends to waste management solutions. Those solutions focus on source reduction and reuse, recycling and composting. Under the local Green Team’s leadership, the Denver office demonstrated what it means to take thoughtful steps each day to reduce waste, engage professionals and elevate our communities. Denver’s successful implementation of supply and waste management initiatives, such as the transition to ceramic mugs and the collection of hardto-recycle items, garnered enthusiasm through creative approaches like virtual contests, which resulted in cost savings and positive feedback for reducing office waste. Moreover, the team effectively addressed increased waste from a change in coffee machines by initiating a program to collect and recycle non-compostable coffee pods and snack packaging. These actions and their engagement in activities such as plant care initiatives, including a well-attended Houseplant “Happy Hour” Exchange and a Summer Hike Series, showcase a commitment to promoting a green and community-centric culture.


Supporting Effective Climate Action Plans Through Improved Solid Waste Planning

Communities are increasingly developing Climate Action Plans to help address the physical and social risks of a changing climate. Inspired by our experience working alongside cities implementing waste solutions that were strategically aligned with their climate and ESG goals, HDR independently researched and engaged 20 communities around their Climate Action Plans. The intent was to better understand how waste management strategies are embedded into these regional decarbonization plans and where improvements could be made. The HDR team, found communities may develop even more successful Climate Action Plans by integrating actions associated with waste management hierarchy principles. This HDR research was a first step in helping elevate our communities and industry to understand the driving forces behind community climate actions and their integral part in creating mutually positive, long-term waste management solutions.

Waste Management Hierarchy

We connected the five waste management hierarchal principles to the 300-plus waste climate actions identified. A sixth principle, leadership and policy, is necessary to take on all climate-friendly waste solutions and added ESG benefits.

Leadership & Policy Source Reduction or Reuse Recycling
Waste to Energy Recovery Landfill
Organics Management

Recognized for Elevating Project Sustainability

Our values are the foundation of our culture of employee ownership and drive us to do the right thing to make great things possible. In addition to our efforts to reduce the operational impacts of our business practices and improve the communities in which we operate, we also endeavor to make decisions aimed at reducing the impacts of the projects we design and improving the communities we support. This page highlights several awards and initiatives that demonstrate our efforts toward the environmental and social advancement of our projects.

Mass Timber

In a world where the construction industry is responsible for 40 to 50 percent of CO2 emissions, the rate of global warming can be mitigated by renewable materials such as wood. Wood sequesters carbon dioxide at a rate of 1 to 1.2 tons/m3 of wood, and has a relatively low manufacturing carbon footprint compared to other materials. In fact, wood is the only material that can remove carbon from the atmosphere for the lifetime of its usage. When sustainably sourced, mass timber can be harvested and replenished with fewer lasting environmental impacts. It’s also resilient, cost-effective, as strong as steel and concrete, and satisfies our need for biophilic connections.

What initially began for a local HDR team as an experiment in materials quickly proved worthy of further consideration. As building technologies improve and demands for green buildings increase, opportunities to explore and push the boundaries of mass timber construction will only follow suit. Industry awards for the Holbein Gardens, London, United Kingdom Project delivered by HDR further validate the important role of multifaceted sustainable design for energy efficiency, biodiversity and ecological resiliency. Holbein Gardens was awarded:

• Commercial Building Award (2023), WasteBuild Zero

• Green Building Project of the Year (2023), U.K. Green Business Awards, BusinessGreen

Reuse is at the heart of this project, with a range of innovative materials and technologies. Cross laminated timber has been used to create new floors, designed for reuse and disassembly, with low embodied carbon, alongside reclaimed steel work and floor tiles.


State of California Mass Timber Grant (2020)

$40,000 Mass Timber Grant California GovOps

52 Environment
Photo Credit: Amanda Weihs

HDR Bestowed with Myriad Awards for Projects Supporting Sustainability

1 Interstate 4 Ultimate Improvement Project |  Orlando, FL, United States | Sustainable Project of the Year (2023), American Society of Civil Engineers, Florida Section

2 Fern Hollow Emergency Bridge Replacement | Pittsburgh, PA, United States | Award of Merit (2023), Emergency Response, International Bridge Conference | Finalist, Project of the Year (2023), Engineering News-Record Mid-Atlantic

3 Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center Patient Pavilion | Lebanon, NH, United States | Green Building Showcase Award (2023), Health & Wellness, Built Environment Plus

4 Lake Pontchartrain Shoreline Protection Project |  Tangipahoa Parish, LA, United States | Best Restored Shores Award (2023), American Shore & Beach Preservation Association

5 New Parkland Hospital |  Dallas, TX, United States | Finalist (2023), Health and Wellness Category, Looking Back Awards, Dallas Architecture Forum

6 Rodney Cook Sr. Park in Historic Vine City | Atlanta, GA, United States | First Place (2023), Innovative Water Projects for Large Population, National Association of Flood & Stormwater Management Agencies | Honorable Mention Award (2023), Landscape Category, Planet Positive Awards, Metropolis Magazine

7 The RiverFront Revitalization | Omaha, NE, United States | Planet Positive Award (2023), Landscape Category, Planet Positive Awards, Metropolis Magazine

8 Kingston Frontenac Public Library | Kingston, ON, Canada | Award of Excellence (2023), Kingston Livable City Design Awards, City of Kingston

9 Holbein Gardens | London, United Kingdom | Commercial Building Award (2023), WasteBuild Zero | Green Building Project of the Year (2023), U.K. Green Business Awards, BusinessGreen

10 Western Sydney University Bankstown City Campus | Sydney, NSW Australia | Award of Excellence (2023), Sustainable/Innovation Development, Urban Taskforce Australia

10 1 4 6 7 8 5 2 3 53
Cover Photo Credit: Keith Philpott

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