AN EXPLORATORY ANALYSIS OF SUSTAINABLE INITIATIVES TAKEN BY HS2

Contents

list of tables. 4

abstract.. 4

chapter 1: introduction.. 6

1.1.   background of the research. 6

1.2.   problem statement. 7

1.3.   research aim.. 7

1.4.   research objectives. 7

1.5.   research questions. 8

1.6.   significance of the study. 8

1.7.   research structure. 9

chapter 2: literature review… 10

2.1.   costs and benefits of the transportation infrastructure projects. 10

2.1.1.   benefits of the transport infrastructure projects. 10

2.1.2.   costs of transportation infrastructure projects. 12

2.2.   factors affecting sustainability in transport infrastructure projects. 14

2.3.   sustainable performance management of the transportation infrastructure projects  19

chapter 3: Research Methodology.. 23

3.1.   Research philosophy. 23

3.2.   Research approach. 23

3.3.   Research strategy. 23

3.4.   Time horizon. 24

3.5.   Data collection method. 24

3.6.   data analysis. 24

3.7.   presentation of the data. 25

3.8.   limitations of the study. 25

3.9.   ethical considerations. 25

4.    data analysis and discussions. 26

4.1.   sustainability initiatives at hs2. 26

Spreading the benefits: regeneration of the community and communications of the economy  27

Opportunity provision for all: development of Skills, creation of employment and spread of education  28

Safe at heart: Health and safety of the employees and overall wellbeing. 30

Respect for surroundings: management and protection of the environment. 32

passing the test of time: development of a future-proof design. 34

5.    conclusion.. 36

5.1.   conclusion. 36

5.2.   recommendations. 37

5.3.   recommendations for future research. 37

6.    reflection.. 38

references. 40

list of tables

FIGURE 1: TOTAL BENEFITS OF TRANSPORTATION INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS. 10

FIGURE 2: TOTAL COSTS OF TRANSPORTATION INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS. 12

TABLE 3: ASSESSMENT OF THE SPREADING THE BENEFITS GOAL.. 27

TABLE 4: ASSESSMENT OF PROVISION FOR ALL GOAL.. 29

TABLE 5: ASSESSMENT OF SAFE AT HEART GOAL.. 31

TABLE 6: ASSESSMENT OF THE RESPECT FOR ENVIRONMENT GOALS. 33

abstract

Transportation infrastructure projects have a wide range of environmental, social, as well as economic impacts. With the current increase in the need to address the external costs of these projects, there has been a requirement for such projects to have sustainability initiatives in place. This paper aims at assessing the effectiveness of the sustainability initiatives of HS2. The key objectives of the paper are:

  • To conduct an in-depth review of the existing literature in relation to sustainable development and management as well as sustainability initiatives.
  • To identify the strengths of the sustainable initiatives undertaken by HS2.
  • To examine the weaknesses of sustainable initiatives undertaken by HS2.
  • To recommend strategies for the betterment of sustainable initiatives undertaken by HS2.

To attain these objectives the researcher made use of a qualitative research methodology which was based on primary data only. In addition to that, the categorical analysis technique was used by the researcher.

The analysis indicated that, the initiatives attainted the following goals:

  • Economic growth
  • Employment opportunities
  • Reduced emissions (lower than general)
  • Health and safety management of the employees
  • Management and protection of water quality
  • Protection and management of the landscape
  • Reduced air pollution (lower than general)

On the other hand, the following recommendations were proposed for the enhancement of the overall sustainability performance of the project:

  • Use of a balanced scorecard approach
  • Community engagement

chapter 1: introduction

This chapter aims to provide a background to the topic of the study. In addition to that, it also formulates the problem statement and significance of the study that reinforces and justifies the need for this research. Moreover, the chapter puts highlights the aim, objectives, and questions of the study. Finally, it incorporates a detailed structure of the research.

1.1.       background of the research

The increase in the role played by the transportation sector in society and the environmental challenges faced by the countries around the world justify the need to study transportation networks from the standpoint of sustainability. However, most of the current appraisal processes used in the context of transportation fail to take sustainability effectively into account. This research takes the stance that sustainable development within the area of transportation incorporates the concept of sustainable transportation, which means that sustainability should be at the core of the planning as well as the decision making associated with the key transportation processes. Despite the presence of strong facts, identified on the basis of the extensive research associated with the impact assessment of the projects in the area of transportation, the current decision making, and performance evaluation tools lack the effectiveness and adequacy when it comes to sustainability (Bueno, Vassallo, and Cheung 2015; Bruun and Givoni 2015). Given the increase in the methodological as well as technological aspects of the sustainability, there is a lot of scope for the development and improvement in the sustainable development and management within the context of transportation infrastructure projects. In this case, it is necessary for the concerned officials of transportation infrastructure projects to take the costs and benefits of such projects into account. In addition to that, it is necessary for them to take initiatives that can compensate for the social and environmental costs. These initiatives can be regarded as the sustainable initiatives undertaken by the companies.

1.2.       problem statement

Given the fact that a number of non-monetary social costs or negative externalities are associated with the transportation infrastructure projects, the companies investing in the sector are being encouraged to focus in the deployment of sustainable initiatives, including responsible sourcing, investment in education, worker health and safety initiatives, as well as the investment in the environment, so as to ensure that these costs are compensated for. In addition to that, such initiatives also allow companies to fulfill their responsibility towards society. In this case, research is needed to assess how effectively the companies are designing and deploying sustainable initiatives to mitigate the negative impacts of the projects associated with the railway infrastructure in specific and transportation infrastructure in broad terms. The following paper, therefore, aims at assessing the sustainable initiatives by the companies involved in transportation infrastructure projects. In this case, HS2 has been taken as the case organization. This is because HS2 is one of the latest railway projects within the UK that will be the backbone of the transportation network of the UK (High Speed 2, 2019). The project will act as a bridge between the North and South. The paper will make an analysis of the sustainable initiatives undertaken by HS2 and comment on their effectiveness.

1.3.       research aim

The key aim of this study is to critically explore and assess the sustainable initiatives undertaken by the companies running the transportation infrastructure projects, with a specific focus on the initiatives deployed by HS2.

1.4.       research objectives

To attain the above-mentioned aim, this research has focused on the following objectives:

  • To conduct an in-depth review of the existing literature in relation to sustainable development and management as well as sustainability initiatives.
  • To examine the strengths of the sustainable initiatives planned by HS2.
  • To recommend strategies for the improvement of sustainable initiatives undertaken by HS2.
  • To examine the key arguments put forward by the existing literature in relation to sustainable development, management, and sustainability initiatives.

1.5.       research questions

The research under consideration has answered the research questions listed below:

  • What are the strengths of the sustainable initiatives planned by HS2?
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of sustainable initiatives planned by HS2?
  • What are the strategies that can be deployed for the improvement of sustainable initiatives undertaken by HS2?

1.6.       significance of the study

Even though previous researches have been conducted on sustainable development and management, but there is a lack of studies that assess how well the sustainable initiative compensates for the social costs and what are the key pitfalls of such initiatives. This research will be adding to the already existing academic literature by putting the focus on the above-mentioned points. In addition to that, this research will also be making important contributions to the managers of the HS2 in specific and the transportation infrastructure project sector as a whole in relation to how the companies operating in this sector, as well as the governments, can design their sustainability initiatives in an effective manner. finally, the paper will also provide data and relevant information to the individuals and the organizations that aim at furthering the research in the context discussed under this paper.

1.7.       research structure

The research under consideration consists of a total of 6 chapters, the details of which are

given below:

  • Introduction: This chapter incorporates the overview of the project, aims and objectives, and significance. It provides readers with the overall purpose of the study.
  • Literature Review: The chapter puts light on the different articles and research on the topic of the study and compares the key findings of the studies with each other.
  • Research Methodology: The research methodology chapter is an explanation of the systemic process that was used for the collection, analysis, and presentation of the data.
  • Findings and Discussions: This chapter assesses the key sustainability initiatives of HS2 and then assesses the effectiveness of the sustainability initiatives as per the key themes identified by the literature.
  • Conclusions and Recommendations: This chapter provides a summary of all the previous chapters and proposes recommendations that can allow the companies to better-managing sustainability initiatives that can allow them for compensating for the social costs of their projects. In addition to that, it also makes specific recommendations to HS2 for the betterment of their sustainability initiatives.

chapter 2: literature review

The following chapter puts light on the key arguments presented by the previous literature in relation to the costs and benefits of the transportation infrastructure projects, the need for sustainability in the transportation infrastructure projects, as well as the pros and cons of sustainable development and management within the transportation infrastructure projects.

2.1.       costs and benefits of the transportation infrastructure projects

2.1.1.      benefits of the transport infrastructure projects

When taken specifically, the key benefits that are associated with the transportation infrastructure included the following:

  • Enhancement in the mobility
  • Increase in the capacity as well as speed of transportation
  • Positive impact on the related economic activities, such as opening up of bakeries near the stations, so as to create beneficial opportunities for a large number of people
  • Development of a range of economic, domestic, and recreational openings, such as housing, employment opportunities, other public services, education facilities, holiday spots, as well as areas for leisure activities (Cornet, Gudmundsson and Leleur, 2016).

In this case, the common practice prevalent within the industry is the effective listing down of the benefits associated with mobility to the society. In this case, most of the companies capture how their projects will increase mobility, thereby provide people with enhanced time savings. In addition to that, how these projects will lead towards a multiplier effect on the economy, thereby enhancing the potential benefits for the society as a whole. These direct benefits are kept as the base for the selection of the degree to which the governments are willing to make investments in the subsequent projects associated with the development of transportation infrastructure development (Metz, 2008).

When taken as a whole, the transportation infrastructure projects have a combination of direct benefits and the marginal social benefits, both of which are to be taken into account when the efficiency, as well as the prices and quantity supplied of the products (or services), of these projects is assessed. The total benefits of such projects are further demonstrated by the following figure:

figure 1: total benefits of transportation infrastructure projects

S = MC
D1= MPB + MSB
D= MPB
P1
P
Q1
Q
QUANTITY

Source: (Marshall, 2009)

As can be seen, the total benefits of the transportation infrastructure projects are high as they consist of the marginal private benefits (MPB) as well as the marginal social benefits (MSB). This can be used as an argument for the purpose of getting the investments approved for such projects, as the inclusion of social benefits pushes the overall demand for such projects higher, as can be seen in the above figure (Marshall, 2009).

2.1.2.      costs of the transportation infrastructure projects

When it comes to the cost side, it is difficult for the companies to determine the total costs, which generally go over and beyond the financial costs directly associated with the project. This is because the identification, evaluation, quantification and management of the non-monetary financial costs is a challenging process. This is one of the reasons that leads towards a lower amount of sustainable initiatives at the end of the organizations. In addition to that, it is also one of the reasons cited to describe the inability of the concerned officials to create project appraisal and decision making tools that are adequate from the point of view of sustainability. Even though the more pronounced negative externalities such as air and noise pollution as well as increased probability of accidents are monetized and compensated for (Santos et al., 2010), but a large number of wide and complex externalities and costs are not well accounted for and compensated within the context of these projects. These costs and negative externalities may include, but are not limited to the following:

  • The carbon dioxide emissions associated with the transportation infrastructure related projects
  • The loss of the biodiversity due to the deployment of the natural inhabitant by these projects (Selva et al., 2011).

Apart from the above mentioned costs, such projects may also have a long term impact on the overall quality of life as well as health (Steg and Gifford, 2005). These are also coupled with the social equity implications of such projects (Jones and Lucas, 2012). In some of the cases, the costs are also exaggerated by the limited capacity of such projects to reduce the traffic jams and congestion issues within the cities, which can be one of the key aims of such projects (Duranton and Turner, 2009).

The following figure further highlights the overall costs associated with the transportation infrastructure projects and how these influence the overall quantity supplied for these projects.

figure 2: total costs of transportation infrastructure projects

S = MPC
D1= MPC + MSC
D= MPB
P1
P
Q1
Q
QUANTITY

Source: (Marshall, 2009)

The reverse is true for the negative externalities as these push the total costs high, as these include the marginal private costs (MPC) as well as marginal social costs (MSC). This, as a result, lead towards a reduction in the market clearing quantity, from Q to Q1 (Marshall, 2009).

2.2.       factors affecting sustainability in transport infrastructure projects

The construction industry has significantly executed the sustainability evaluation systems to help them achieve sustainable progress (Clevenger, Ozbek and Simpson, 2013). In recent times, there are numerous evaluation systems for sustainability in the infrastructure industry, which are either expanded or are progressing to estimate the rationale of this industry project (Lim, 2009; Clevenger, Ozbek and Simpson, 2013). The majority of them are initiated by public institutions formed by the government, the private institutions and very often when there is an association with academic institutions. At certain situations, few sustainability evaluation systems formed are of government level and some have scope of national level. Such systems utilize various techniques for regulating the sustainability by focusing on various factors responsible for sustainability (Martland, 2012).

The Australian public institution owned by its government known as the New South Wales Transport Division is engaged in providing rational projects for transportation infrastructure (Transport for New South Wales, 2012). The structure for the transport project is provided by this division that helps to ensure sustainability and ascertain the following points.

  1. The system for transport is rational
  2. The execution for environment and sustainability is in a continuous state of improvement.

The company is engaged in emphasizing on the three major aspects of sustainability which are

  • Environment
  • Social
  • Economical

The above-mentioned aspects focus that it is crucial for sustainability to ensure the proper planning, progression and by the end, the infrastructure project is delivered successfully (Transport for New South Wales, 2012).

The rational elements that are under consideration of the environment include the emissions of GHG, the water pollution, management and control for noise, resources, waste, air pollution and consuming materials. Moreover, the variety of plants and animal life is also included here. On the contrary, social aspect includes the relationship with the stakeholders, the acknowledgement from the public or communities and inheritance prevention, whereas the firm sustainability is included in the economic aspect (Transport for New South Wales, 2012).

On the contrary, the evaluation system known as INVEST helps to furnish all those elements of sustainability, that are considered as the foremost activity that needs to be included in the project of transportation (Clevenger, Ozbek and Simpson, 2013; Culp, 2011). Federal Highway Administration of USA initially established INVEST in the year 2012 (Culp, 2011). The elements of sustainability is primarily established to handle the project rational throughout its phases such as planning, development or progression phase, execution, monitoring and controlling phase. The elements of INVEST for sustainability include the quality for noise, the ecology and diversity for plants and animals, the visual influence, to manage waste emission, energy and carbon dioxide emission and the abrasion, flora and fauna, the safety for health, the cost for life cycle, the cultural inheritance, the public reach and the combination of various modes of transport (Culp, 2011).

There are 23 critical aspects of sustainability aspects which are previously defined by Lim in 2009, particularly for Australian road infrastructure projects. Such factors include the air and water standard, the noise and vibration, the abrasion and dregs control, flora and fauna, the environment and social influence evaluation, the cost included for life cycle, the risk associated for project, the cultural inheritance, the combination of transport modes, the asset’s financial conduct, the participation by the social community and government governance, the connection with customers, the association and connection with stakeholders who are known as internal, the type of the agreement and project administration, conformity with the agreement and the project attributes, harmful goods, the safety for road users, the safety for workers of road, controlling quality, supply chain management, to managing and recycling waste materials. Thus, above mentioned 23 elements are categorized into ten categories which are: environment, economic, society, engineering, welfare engagement, relationship management, project management process, the institutional rationality, health and safety, to utilize and manager resources (Amiril et al., 2014).

The study shows that all the projects concerning infrastructure, every stage related to the project is steered by the sustainable progression rules, thus, to confirm that the project is rational. In addition, CEEQUAL is another evaluation system that helps to enhance the rational in projects governing infrastructure related to civil engineering and those projects that are related to public domain and provide them the reward to designer, customer and other vendors to acquire the prime practices related to environment and society. It is crucial for the United Kingdom industry related to construction to contribute to help the government strategy about the development procedure of sustainability. The CEEQUAL evaluation includes 12 elements that are the prime sustainability elements such as use for land, the project concern for environment, the ecology and diversity for plants and animals, the landscape, the inheritance of culture and archeology, issues related to water, the materials, transport, waste management, hassle with neighbors, the association with energy and social community (CEEQUAL Scheme Management Team, 2004).

There is another rational evaluation system which is used for infrastructure related to transportation projects such as GreenLITES. This is another evaluation system used for sustainability which is established to promote the progression of no hostile impacts for environment, disturbance to society, the appropriateness of design, the reduced cost for construction and no highways designed for maintenance, providing safe and various modes of transportation activity, a mode of expanding information and financing for the research process (Clevenger, Ozbek and Simpson, 2013; McVoy et al., 2010). This was initially established in the year 2008 by NYDOT i.e. New York Department of Transportation, thus, to collaborate the rational attempts for designing, planning, construction as well as maintainence the operations for long term requirements. (McVoy et al., 2010). The rational elements of this process are environment, economic, society, sustainable fields, the quality for water, creativity, resource materials, energy and the environment. (Clevenger, Ozbek and Simpson, 2013).

The table mentioned below provides the matrix concerning the factors for sustainability which are related to infrastructure of transportation project that was previously established by the research scholar, public and private worldwide. Usually, the factors for sustainability are included under different categories such as environment, society, economical, use of resources and project evaluation

Category Themes New South Wales (2012) Clevenger, Ozbek and Simpson (2013) Lim (2009) CEEQUAL (2008) McVoy et al (2010)
Environmental Factors Use of land as well as selection of site      
Quality of water  
Quality of air        
Quality of noise      
Impact on Biodiversity and Ecology    
Visual impact on the environment      
Management of the waste  
Emissions related to carbon and energy  
Control of Pollution        
Control of sediment as well as erosion      
Issues associated with Fauna and Flora      
Economic Costs associated with the life cycle of the project    
Risks associated with the project        
Social Impact on the cultural heritage      
Degree of access of the general public        
Issues associated with health and safety      
Relationships with the stakeholders      
Degree to which transport is inter-modal    
Access to as well as the development of the site        
Engineering / Resource Utilization Type of material used as well as its availability    
Degree of constructability        
Degree of reusability of material    
System for control as well as assurance of quality      
Functionality as well as the overall performance of the material assets used      
Project Administration Nature of the contract      
Method of procurement used        
Risks associated with the project      

table 1: factors affecting sustainability in transport infrastructure projects

2.3.       sustainable performance management of the transportation infrastructure projects

It is essential to attain the aim of developing sustainability with regard to the construction project as it helps to improve its performance (Shen et al., 2007). Litman (2007) found that the elements of sustainability have the purpose to examine and steer the operation towards the construction project operational activities, therefore, the extent of rational operations of the construction industry, for example, the answer to the key issue and executing the factors of sustainability (Vanegas, 2003). Traditionally, the time utilized, quality and the expenses incurred are used as the key elements for evaluating the performance of the project(Chan and Chan, 2004). Notwithstanding the fact, Ugwu and Haupt (2007) found in their study that once the factors for sustainability are executed, it steered to the rational performance of the project for example the enhanced decision making, reduce the waste materials, to deliver the project efficiently, to abstain from delays and decrease the issues concerning the construction. In the same manner, Lim (2009) found and disclosed the operations that resulted from the execution of the rational elements in the projects related to roads to reduce the pollution and environmental influence, the governmental acknowledgement, appropriate for quality and purpose, reduce the cost associated to operations and preservation, reduce risk, finishing task on time, to save the cultural inheritance, shielded construction and so on. Other than that, Transport for New South Wales (2012) has revealed the benefits of elements related to sustainability by means of the project operations for example secure construction, reducing noise and quivering, quality control of air pollution and dust minimization, restriction of land pollution, to protect the water safety, the minimization of construction resources, reducing carbon emissions and the use of energy, reducing water wastage, increasing gathering rainwater and then using it later and fulfilling the benchmark set for waste management.

The following table puts light on the key factors that can be used by the organizations when they measure the sustainability performance of their projects.

Theme Performance Area New South Wales (2012) Lim (2009) Ugwu and Haupt (2007) Vanegas (2003)
Environment Minimization of the negative impacts associated with pollution as well as the environment    
Deployment of a balanced process for development  
Degree of acceptance showed by the public as well as the community    
Effective measures for the protection of the aquatic as well as the native wildlife    
Compliance with the standards, rules, and regulations of waste management      
maximization of initiatives associated with the reutilization and harvesting of rain water      
Minimization of the deployment of energy as well as the carbon footprint.      
Protection of the quality of water      
Steps to prevent the degradation as well as the contamination of the land      
Enhancement of quality of air and suppression of dust      
Minimization of vibration as well as noise      
Economic Effective fit for purpose and quality        
Minimization of costs of operation and maintenance      
Minimization of risks associated with the project      
Completion of the project on the specified time      
Social Protection of the cultural heritage of the nation      
Saving of time associated with travelling time as well as the costs associated with operating of vehicles      
Acceptance at the level of public      
Transparent as well as open involvement of the community in the projects      
Promotion of the collaboration at interagency levels      
Safe techniques of construction    
Minimization of the risks associated with health and safety      
Development of rational as well as effective decisions      
Clarity in the instruction terms as well as the approval of instructions on time      
Engineering / Resource Utilization Improvement in the lifetime of the developed infrastructure      
Attainment of the key objectives of the project      
High quality of the projects with the development of long lasting infrastructure      
Effective management of the costs associated with maintenance      
Consistent supply of material without any major interruptions      
Reduction in the costs associated with the project    
Improvement in the innovation of the design of the project      
Timely completion      
Minimization of waste  
Project Administration Timely completion      
Effective dispute management and resolution    
Achievement of the objectives of the client    

table 2: sustainable performance management of the transportation infratsructure projects

chapter 3: Research Methodology

The following chapter aims at describing the methods, tools and techniques that have been deployed by the researcher for the collection, analysis, and presentation of the data under this research.

3.1.       Research philosophy

The research makes use of a positivist approach. As per this philosophy, the variables of the research are assessed without any external intervention. This study also planned at using no moderators or altering variables, hence this approach was best suited for the current study. This is because it has allowed the researcher to assess the effectiveness of the sustainability initiatives undertaken by HS2 without allowing for moderating factors to alter the actual impact and effectiveness of the initiatives that have been (Bell, Bryman and Harley, 2018).

3.2.       Research approach

The research is based on a descriptive approach, which makes use of the in depth analysis of an already explored phenomenon to identify new and dynamic aspects of the topic. This approach has allowed the researcher to assess if the current findings associated with the sustainability initiatives hold true in the aspect of the public transportation or not. In addition to that, as the researcher aimed at making a qualitative assessment of the sustainable initiatives of the company as a whole (Zikmund et al., 2013).

3.3.       Research strategy

The research is based on a case study approach, where HS2 is the focus on the case study. The major reason behind the use of case study approach is that it has allowed the development of detailed analysis of the sustainability dynamics of the transportation industry. This led towards more effective findings in relation to the sustainability within the transport infrastructure projects (Bell, Bryman and Harley, 2018).

3.4.       Time horizon

The research under consideration has made use of a cross section analysis, where an analysis of the sustainability initiatives undertaken by HS2 will be studied at a point in time, 2018. This has been done to ensure that the critical assessment of all the initiatives is done in a detailed manner (Zikmund et al., 2013).

3.5.       Data collection method

The research has made use of secondary data only, as it has allowed the researcher to ensure that an effective theoretical framework for the study and developed a systemic assessment of the already existing sustainability initiatives. Even though the secondary data added greatly to the quality of the assessment made, but it lacks the empirical strength and specificity that comes from quantitative and primary data respectively (Bell, Bryman and Harley, 2018).

3.6.       data analysis

For the purpose of the analysis of secondary data, the research made use of a categorical analysis technique. In this case, all the of the sustainability initiatives undertaken by HS2 have been assessed under the light on the key categories (characteristics) of the sustainable performance management) discussed under the review of literature. This has allowed the researcher to assess the degree of effectiveness of the sustainability initiatives of the company. In addition to that, it has also helped the researcher in the development of effective and rational recommendations for the purpose of this study (Bell, Bryman and Harley, 2018).

3.7.       presentation of the data

The data has been presented through the deployment of tables, as it allows the researcher to ensure that the readers have an access to the key information. In addition to that, the use of visual tools also makes the data easy to retain and understand. Apart from that, the researcher ensured that a logical pattern was maintained throughput the research. This was done to develop explicit relationships between different elements of data so as to facilitate the readers in developing links through this research. Finally, clear arguments and simple language have been used to discuss the research problem and key literature. This has been done to ensure that the true meaning of the data is captured and communicated to the readers in an effective manner (Zikmund et al., 2013).

3.8.       limitations of the study

The key limitation of this research is its reliance on secondary and qualitative data only. This makes the research prone to be dominated by the points of view of other researchers and their research objective. In addition to that, the qualitative techniques of data analysis are also subject to lack of objectivity. This is because the researcher uses his / her own judgement and beliefs in the analysis of data, which makes the data prone to personal bias. Moreover, the lack of primary data also decreases the degree to which the findings address the core objectives of the study. Apart from that, the lack of quantitative data has a negative impact on the overall authenticity and accuracy of the conclusions proposed by this study (Bell, Bryman and Harley, 2018).

3.9.       ethical considerations

As the study is based on secondary data only, hence the issue of plagiarism was the most prominent ethical consideration. To curtail this issue, the researcher ensured that appropriate referencing style is used all over the study, thereby giving credit to the original authors. In addition to that, effective paraphrasing strategies were also deployed by the researcher to ensure that the work is not copied and pasted from the work of other authors and researcher (Zikmund et al., 2013)

 

4.    data analysis and discussions

4.1.       sustainability initiatives at hs2

HS2 Ltd has developed and implemented a comprehensive sustainability strategy, which is based on the overall vision and mission of the project and aims at develop the most high-speed and effective one of its king railway infrastructures in the world. Based on the overall sustainability strategy, the project leaders have set various sustainability initiatives that are effectively incorporated in the overall goals and objectives associated with the project. The overall sustainability strategy and initiatives set by HS2 Ltd lays down the general approach towards sustainability and sets out the broad parameters of what is the importance and place of sustainability for the HS2. The sustainability initiatives of the HS2 railway project are efficiently liked with its strategic goals, objectives and all the disciples of the project’s operations. The HS2 has not only set out the sustainability strategy and initiatives but has been successful in benchmarking the progress that it makes against the other infrastructure projects throughout the globe. This will ensure that the project will learn from the achievements of various successful projects such as Crossrail and implement those learnings to maximize the outcomes associated with the sustainability initiatives and objectives. The project has been successful in surpassing the expectations of all the concerned stakeholders by far and is determined to stay on the path of continuous growth and development to excel and achieve industry best practices wherever possible. The HS2 sustainability initiatives are widely divided into the following five themes:

  • Spreading the benefits
  • Opportunities for all
  • Safe at heart
  • Respecting our surroundings
  • Standing the test of time

As evident from the above mentioned assessment of the sustainability of the project, the key aim is the economic benefit of the society, which is also an important performance management measure when it comes to the sustainability of the projects. In this regard, the following table shows the aspects of the sustainability performance that is fulfilled by this sustainability goal of the company.

Spreading the benefits: regeneration of the community and communications of the economy

The construction of HS2 is a £55.7 project and it is expected to be completed by 2033. The total tenure and the expected start date of the project shows that the services rendered by this project will be running well into the next century. Thus, the project will not only serve this generation but will continue to generate opportunities and benefits for the children, grandchildren and even great-grandchildren of the current generation – 3 generations or more (High Speed Two Limited, 2017).

Economically the HS2 construction project will generate significant benefits leading to the economic growth and stability of all the stakeholders. The phase1 of the project is set award £8.6 billion worth contracts to the successful suppliers – leading to the ultimate employment and earnings of hundreds and thousands of people. Not only that, every contract awarded during the term of this project will generate work opportunities for various businesses that exist in the overall supply chain – ultimately leading to the growth of small and medium-sized businesses (Government of UK, 2017).

The construction of HS2 railway will not only render economic benefits. This project will also be a great step towards the infrastructural development in the country – connecting different parts of the country to create a synergy and generate business and trade opportunities. The HS2 railway will also decrease the overall load on other transportation medium, increase total passenger capacity and connect the remote parts of the country to expand economic and social growth (Lim, 2009; High Speed Two Limited, 2017).

The HS2 project will be constructed over the West Coast as well as East Coast, Mainline extending to the North East, as well as the North West and Scotland – thus the HS2 will be providing transportation services effectively to whole Great Britain. To ensure the successful completion of the project that will lead to the sustainable, equitable and widespread economic development all the stakeholders that is Government, businesses and communities to work together (New South Wales, 2012; High Speed Two Limited, 2017). The stakeholder engagement at this level will render the following outcomes for the HS2 project:

  • The growth strategies of the project will have sustainable practices as a part which will ensure maximum regeneration opportunities from the project in future.
  • Economic growth and investment opportunities will be generated for the communities surrounding HS2 stations, depots and other infrastructure – thus with the growth of the project the surrounding society will also grow.
  • The economic benefits of the project will also be shared with the local businesses and local people by creating jobs, awarding contracts, and service.
  • Reasonable and just reward and compensation policies are implemented across the supply chain
  • Development of the small and medium sized businesses across the supply chain (Ugwu and Haupt, 2007; High Speed Two Limited, 2017).
Theme Performance Area HS2
Economic Effective fit for purpose and quality   
Minimization of costs of operation and maintenance  
Minimization of risks associated with the project  
Completion of the project on the specified time  

table 3: assessment of the spreading the benefits goal

Source: New South Wales (2012); Lim (2009); Ugwu and Haupt (2007); Vanegas (2003)

Opportunity provision for all: development of Skills, creation of employment and spread of education

This project will create thousands of job opportunities across the Great Britain, both directly and indirectly. This will render an opportunity to both old and young talented human resources of the Country to groom, train and create a profession for themselves. HS2, through its sustainability initiatives, seems committed to producing a highly-skilled, motivated and dedicated workforce that will be the bright future of the UK infrastructure industry and set industry benchmarks for human resource quality (New South Wales, 2012; High Speed Two Limited, 2017).

The HS2 project is aiming to change the aspect of human resources by attracting, recruiting, training and retaining a diversified workforce that comes from all backgrounds, ethnicities, genders and races. The project will also focus on women empowerment and breaking all the social barriers – providing a platform to grow and perform to all who are capable regardless of their social, economic or other standing. Those who can grow will grow and will be provided a platform to succeed. The HS2 has identified and incorporated Skills, objectives of the Employment and Education (SEE) as KPIS in all of the contracts. The bidders are assessed based on the skills of delivery and maintenance of quality performance throughout the life of the contract (Ugwu and Haupt, 2007; High Speed Two Limited, 2017).

The HS2 project will create thousands of jobs for skilled workers in various disciplines that consists of technology, business, design, engineering as well as construction. On an estimated basis, the project will create approximately 25,000 jobs for the construction and approximately 3,000 jobs for the operation of the railway line. The development of the surroundings will create a further 100,000 indirect jobs (High Speed Two Limited, 2017).

With regards to the creation of job opportunities and training and development of the workforce, the project will lead to:

  • Development and promotion of the technical profession by creating a large number of internship opportunities in the construction, transportation and infrastructure fields.
  • Training, development and growth of the skilled labor force of the Country to create a pool of experienced human resources in the industries of engineering as well as construction thorough the education programme of HS2. This program will develop the young talent to acquire required education to pursue careers in rail and infrastructure.
  • Create talent pool comprising of local, diverse and under-represented resources for the project and related supply chain (Vanegas, 2003; Government of UK, 2017).

The analysis of the human resource development of the construction of a skilled workforce within the society. In addition to that, it will also generate employment. The following table highlights the performance of this sustainability initiative under the identified measures of performance for sustainability:

Theme Performance Area HS2
Social Protection of the cultural heritage of the nation
Saving of time associated with travelling time as well as the costs associated with operating of vehicles  
Acceptance at the level of public  
Transparent as well as open involvement of the community in the projects
Promotion of the collaboration at interagency levels  
Safe techniques of construction
Minimization of the risks associated with health and safety
Development of rational as well as effective decisions  
Clarity in the instruction terms as well as the approval of instructions on time  

table 4: assessment of provision for all goal

Source: New South Wales (2012); Lim (2009); Ugwu and Haupt (2007); Vanegas (2003)

Safe at heart: Health and safety of the employees and overall wellbeing

The HS2 project is quite concerned about the health, safety, and well-being of all the connected people. Whether it is the project’s workforce, supply chain or connected communities – the health, safety and well-being of all of them is considered above everything at the HS2. This focus on health and safety not only ensures compliances with the relevant laws and regulations but also helps in employee motivation and dedication.  The health and safety initiatives are well incorporated in the project’s policies and procedures and they in turn help to protect the community, employees, and customers from accidents, hazards and illnesses (Ugwu and Haupt, 2007; High Speed Two Limited, 2017).

The focus of the project is to ensure a safe environment for all those who are connected. The processes are designed in a manner that the employees, customers and communities are protected from potential harms, hazards or health issues. The project strives to create a risk free working and living environment for all – by carefully selecting the materials to use, the construction methods and the design principles (New South Wales, 2012; High Speed Two Limited, 2017).

Not just that, the HS2 has an effective communication mechanism to identify and report procedures/methods that are unsafe or a risk to health. By doing that, the HS2 has made everyone responsible for taking care of each other and reporting any danger to them or to others in a timely manner (Ugwu and Haupt, 2007; New South Wales, 2012).

The health, safety and well-being objective undertaken by the HS2 are:

  • The project is designed, will be constructed and operated in a manner that does not compromise the health, safety and well-being of the concerned and connected people – employees, customers or society at large.
  • Train and educate people to ensure safe working environment – reduce the risk of accidents and hazards.
  • Focus to create a working environment that is free of potential hazards and harms. Minimizing the chances occupational disorders such as respiratory disorders, cancers, vibration, skin conditions and noise.
  • Selection of partners of supply chain on the basis of their commitment to health and safety friendly practices.
  • Making everyone responsible to take care of health, safety and well-being of each other (Ugwu and Haupt, 2007; High Speed Two Limited, 2017).

This is another social aspect of sustainability, as can be seen from the following table:

Theme Performance Area HS2
Social Protection of the cultural heritage of the nation
Saving of time associated with travelling time as well as the costs associated with operating of vehicles  
Acceptance at the level of public  
Transparent as well as open involvement of the community in the projects
Promotion of the collaboration at interagency levels
Safe techniques of construction  
Minimization of the risks associated with health and safety
Development of rational as well as effective decisions
Clarity in the instruction terms as well as the approval of instructions on time

table 5: assessment of safe at heart goal

Source: New South Wales (2012); Lim (2009); Ugwu and Haupt (2007); Vanegas (2003)

Respect for surroundings: management and protection of the environment

The project shares the country’s vision of protecting the landscape, natural environment and heritage and keep the country as ‘green and pleasant land’. In order to be a worthy custodian and protector of the surrounding environment, the HS2 will employ world-class environmental standards. This will ensure that the natural land is protected and restored in a way it was before the project construction begin – keeping the landscape intact for the future generations to admire (Ugwu and Haupt, 2007; High Speed Two Limited, 2017).

The project will not only ensure the protection of physical environment – land and landscape, but also aims to improve the living standards and quality of life of the people too. By keeping the land clean, the environment un-polluted, the water pure and the natural plantation uninterrupted the project will contribute to an improved and danger free life for the associated individuals. Strict compliances with the environmental standards on noise, vibration, air pollution and waste will help HS2 in achieving the required objectives to be an environment and people friendly initiative (Lim, 2009; High Speed Two Limited, 2017).

Global warming and climate changes are the biggest environmental concerns that the country is facing these days. In order to help the country to fight the evil of global warming, the HS2 will adhere to the resource and carbon efficiency standards to reduce carbon emissions (Lim, 2009; Ugwu and Haupt, 2007).

The overall objectives of the project to manage potential environmental impact are:

  • Maintaining the natural landscape and bringing no change in the biodiversity. The project aims to protect and enhance the surrounding habitats by protecting the species.
  • Improving the environment and landscape of the surrounding localities.
  • Implement world class standards to manage and control noise and vibration and to avoid adverse impact on health and well-being of all the associated stakeholders.
  • Protect the country and world by minimizing the carbon footprint.
  • Ensuring that the negative of the project on the environment is minimized by adhering to the best environmental standards.
  • Reduce air pollution and emissions to the air.
  • Protect the water sources and reservoirs – aim to provide clean and pure water to everyone.
  • Protect the historical landscape and keep it in its original form.
  • Ensure that the affected agriculture land is reinstated after the necessary construction work is completed.
  • Make efficient use of resources, reduce waste and reuse / recycle wherever and whenever possible (Ugwu and Haupt, 2007; High Speed Two Limited, 2017).
  Category HS2
Environment Minimization of the negative impacts associated with pollution as well as the environment  
Deployment of a balanced process for development
Degree of acceptance showed by the public as well as the community  
Effective measures for the protection of the aquatic as well as the native wildlife
Compliance with the standards, rules, and regulations of waste management  
Maximization of initiatives associated with the reutilization and harvesting of rain water  
Minimization of the deployment of energy as well as the carbon footprint.  
Protection of the quality of water  
Steps to prevent the degradation as well as the contamination of the land  
Enhancement of quality of air and suppression of dust  
Minimization of vibration as well as noise

table 6: assessment of the respect for environment goals

Source: New South Wales (2012); Lim (2009); Ugwu and Haupt (2007); Vanegas (2003)

passing the test of time: development of a future-proof design

The HS2 has a life of 120 years extending the project to the next century. Although the project has implemented all the environmental standards for greenhouse gas reduction but the overall climate of the country will change over the span of 120 years.  Not just the climatic change, there will be a change in society and technological advancements will also be made. Keeping in view todays changing world and environment, the project has been designed to adapt to change quickly and efficiently (Vanegas, 2003; High Speed Two Limited, 2017).

The project, supply chain and overall network is so designed and implemented that HS2 can fight and come out as a winner against the potential effects of climate change. The overall design and material selection of the project is such that the results will durable and require low-maintenance (Ugwu and Haupt, 2007; Government of UK, 2017).

Human resource flexibility is also considered and implemented – thus HS2 network can be operated flexibly. Thus the resources are ready to change and accommodate technological shifts and change in customer preferences. HS2 has ensured that the system is so made that it can easily evolve over time so as to address the changing needs of society and a changing climate (Lim, 2009; Ugwu and Haupt, 2007). In order to do so, HS2 has set the following targets:

  • The project is designed in a manner that it can sustain change of any nature and form to live for a century. The project is made to endure climatic shifts.
  • To ensure that the needs of the future generation of customers will be met in a timely manner – ready to accept and implement technological upgradation.
  • The ultimate focus of the project is to give the best experience to the customers – customer need is the core to all the process and procedures implemented at HS2.
  • Ensure that the benefits of the HS2 are taken by the whole of society (New South Wales, 2012; High Speed Two Limited, 2017).

This aspect of the project shows its total effectiveness in terms of sustainability. On the basis of the overall analysis, it can be indicated that the project is fairing quite effectively when it comes to sustainability initiatives. At the same time, it also has the potential to maintain high levels of economic performance.

5.    conclusion

5.1.       conclusion

With the increase in the environmental pressures (regulations as well as customer preferences) that have triggered the companies to manage their operations in a manner that is environment-friendly in nature. This is specifically true for the transportation industry, due to the high levels of emission contributions made by it. This paper, therefore, aimed at assessing the effectiveness of the sustainability initiatives of HS2.

The paper had following objectives:

  • To conduct an in-depth review of the existing literature in relation to sustainable development and management as well as sustainability initiatives.
  • To identify the strengths of the sustainable initiatives undertaken by HS2.
  • To examine the weaknesses of sustainable initiatives undertaken by HS2.
  • To recommend strategies for the betterment of sustainable initiatives undertaken by HS2.

The paper used a qualitative research methodology based on secondary data. The analysis of the data indicated that the following key benefits are associated with the sustainability initiatives of HS2:

  • Economic growth
  • Employment opportunities
  • Reduced emissions (lower than general)
  • Health and safety management of the employees
  • Management and protection of water quality
  • Protection and management of the landscape
  • Reduced air pollution (lower than general)

5.2.       recommendations

Even though the HS2 sustainability initiatives are very effective in nature, the following recommendations, based on the analysis of literature and the review of current HS2 initiatives are proposed:

  • Use of Balanced Scorecard Approach: The deployment of this approach will allow HS2 to have an integrated and holistic approach to the management of economic as well as the sustainable performance of the project. This will also allow the company to understand the relationships between the two aspects and capitalize upon these relationships that can better enhance the overall performance of the project (New South Wales, 2012).
  • Community Engagement: Another element that is missing in the overall sustainability framework of HS2 is the aspect of community engagement. In this regard, it is essential for the organization to engage the overall community so as to ensure that the project is owned and supported by society as a whole. It will also enhance the overall levels of sustainability innovation (Lim, 2009).

5.3.       recommendations for future research

In order to develop stronger findings in future researches, the researcher shall make use of primary quantitative data. This will allow the researchers to better assess the overall effectiveness of the sustainability initiatives by empirically testing the data and drawing authentic conclusions.

6.    reflection

The development of the research allowed, from an operational and technical point of view, me to effectively get detailed insights into how the sustainability initiatives with transportation industry work. In this case, I was able to assess the structure of the initiatives and understand the performance measures that can be used for the analysis of the effectiveness and efficiency of such measures. In addition to that, I was also able to understand the environmental impact of the transportation projects and the sustainability initiatives that can be developed by the organizations to minimize the harmful environmental impacts and enhance the overall economic, social and environmental contributions.

From a research point of view, my first development was my ability to distinguish between high quality and low-quality researches. This is because my research was based on qualitative data only and it was very essential for me to ensure that I only incorporate high-quality research in the project. In addition to that, I also developed an ability to conduct targeted research. This is because when I began the project, I was confronted with a lot of search results, relevant as well as irrelevant. With the passage of time, I developed my expertise in the advanced research criteria so as to ensure that the search results are as relevant as possible. This is going to help me in my future projects as well as I can extend my research related knowledge to other academic as well as professional areas.

Another key area of learning was associated with the organization and management of information. I was particularly weak in converting bulk data into manageable and understandable information. While working with qualitative data, I had to ensure that all the relevant parts of the collected data are presented in the project. At the same time, I was also restricted by the constraint of word counts. In this case, I developed expertise in processing information and developing themes that can present the information well. This is going to be extremely useful in my academic as well as a professional role.

Finally, I developed my formal writing as well as speaking communication skills. While developing the report, I was required to make sure that it is written in a manner that is objectives, understandable, and informative. For this purpose, I worked on my formal writing skills, as they could help in ensuring that the report was well written. Coupled with this, I had multiple meetings with the supervisor. During the course of these meetings, I was required to put forward my collected information and completed work. The information was to be presented in a manner that ensured that the actual message was transmitted to the supervisor. Hence, I was required to develop professional speaking skills as well, as this added to the success of my meetings with the supervisor.

When taken as a whole, the research has made important contributions to my academic, professional as well as personal development by enhancing my knowledge about the subject and contributing to my research, analytical and communication abilities.

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