Global Design Firm Reaches Climate Action Milestone: HKS is Now a Carbon Neutral Business

Global design firm HKS is pleased to announce that we are now a carbon neutral business.

This achievement is the result of a multi-year, multifaceted effort to monitor, reduce and offset greenhouse gas emissions produced through our business practices, such as office operations, employee travel and commutes.

“I am proud of our firm for prioritizing this effort by adapting our business practices to address critical environmental challenges that impact future generations,” said Dan Noble, HKS President and Chief Executive Officer. “Our goal as an organization is to enhance communities and the lives of people all over the world through our work, and addressing our carbon footprint is a natural next step.”

Carbon neutrality is a milestone on HKS’ journey to net zero. We are building a pathway to eliminate operational carbon from 100 percent of our active design work by 2030 and to reduce the net carbon emissions from our business operations to as close to zero as possible.

Carbon neutrality is a milestone on HKS’ journey to net zero.

Rand Ekman, Chief Sustainability Officer and a Partner at HKS, said the firm aspires to address our carbon footprint in “the most meaningful way possible.”

To accomplish this goal, HKS engaged with third-party experts to develop a rigorous and thorough methodology to calculate the firm’s emissions. As we endeavor to reduce these emissions to net zero, we are investing in carbon removal initiatives that are independently verified by leading carbon market registries. For maximum benefit, our investments include products designed to advance sustainability in the built environment. We believe high-quality carbon offsetting can be an invaluable tool to support the decarbonization of the global economy.

Data-driven Strategy

HKS worked with sustainability consultants from Omaha, Nebraska-based Verdis Group to develop and refine a comprehensive, data-driven strategy to monitor and measure our firmwide carbon emissions. Verdis Group has approved an auditing process that we will use to account for our emissions moving forward, as part of our climate action plan.

In addition, HKS partnered with Cloverly, a climate action platform headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, to curate a portfolio dedicated to carbon offsetting through carbon avoidance (preventing carbon from being released into the atmosphere) and carbon removal.

Impactful Leadership

HKS has long recognized and endeavored to mitigate negative impacts of the architecture, engineering and construction industry. The American Institute of Architects reports that the built environment is responsible for approximately 40 percent of emissions that contribute to global warming.

HKS’ history of environmental and social leadership includes joining the United Nations Global Compact in 2020. We were one of the first large multidisciplinary design firms to sign this global agreement that aligns business strategies and operations with universal sustainability principles and actions to help end extreme poverty, fight inequality and injustice and protect our planet.

Yiselle Santos Rivera, HKS Director of Justice, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion and a Principal with the firm, said, “If we want to create a more just, equitable, inclusive and diverse world, we have to recognize the impact that our footprint has on our environment.”

Operating as a carbon neutral business is an important way for HKS to embody the firm’s values, said Santos Rivera.

“You have to have your house in order,” she noted. “Your actions speak louder than words.”

“Operating as a carbon neutral business is an important way for HKS to embody the firm’s values.”