Melbourne-based engineer Michael Li from AECOM has been named by collaborative sustainability community, 2degrees, as one of 25 young professionals under 25 transforming the world of sustainable business.

Li is an Environmentally Sustainable Development (ESD) engineer who has worked with the Green Building Council of Australia’s (GBCA) new Green Star rating tool for green buildings.

His efforts as part of AECOM’s Green Office (GO!) program, which identifies ways to make AECOM’s own office operations as sustainable as possible while introducing initiatives to encourage team members to make sustainability a way of life, was also applauded by 2degrees.

One of his key achievements with AECOM, where he has spent the last two and a half years working, was helping to develop a total carbon metric for an ultra-green commercial office that would collate the carbon impact of the construction process, embodied carbon, operational energy and waste, and staff travel, into one easily understood metric.

“Having a career in sustainability empowers me to make a contribution to tackling some of the world’s biggest issues,” said Li.

“I want to become an industry leader in sustainability, integrating sustainable principles so they become ‘business-as-usual’ standards for the Australian society.”

Growing up in Western Australia, Li always had an interest in environment and resource efficiency, with the state’s long and hot summers delivering early lessons on the importance of conserving energy and water.

His vision is to transform the culture of ESD in the building and construction process so that sustainability professionals like himself will no longer be required as the industry naturally works towards a more sustainable future.

“When people are empowered to change their behaviour and make a difference, it goes a long way to reducing society’s environmental impacts,” he said.

“I am passionate about sustainability because I believe the solution to climate change must involve small and common-sense contributions from everyone ranging from individuals to large corporations and governments.

“Although the environmental impacts associated with climate change can be catastrophic, climate change is also a political, social and economic issue that will effect generations to come.”

Read Li’s submission here and view the full Top 25 under 25 list here.