Verco's Dave Worthington: 'Climate and sustainability is now a C-level issue'

James Murray
clock • 4 min read
Verco's Dave Worthington: 'Climate and sustainability is now a C-level issue'

Ahead of the company's sponsorship of the UK Green Business Awards, Verco's Dave Worthington talks to BusinessGreen about sustainability's march into the mainstream, new tools to accelerate the roll out of heat pumps, and what his green superpower would be

Dave Worthington is managing director at green consultancy Verco. He is a leading technical and commercial advisor on distributed energy systems, organisational carbon management, building integrated renewables, energy services, and sustainable building design. He provides input to low carbon building and infrastructure policy development and advises major public and private sector organisations on the procurement and implementation of low carbon energy solutions.

BusinessGreen: What was your first role in the green economy and what attracted you to the sector?

My first introduction to the green economy was incorporating sustainability features into the design of new buildings as an M&E consultant engineer in the early 2000s. I got more and more interested in how to make buildings as sustainable as possible until this became the main focus on my role when I joined Verco (known as Energy for Sustainable Development at the time) as a sustainability consultant in 2003. 

What parts of the green economy are you most excited about?

The emergence of AI-based solutions as a way to accelerate progress towards net zero goals is incredibly exciting. I am also very interested in developments in decentralised energy technologies, and a future where all buildings and infrastructure play a role in the generation, storage and use of renewable energy.   

What developments do you think are currently under the radar?

Not that many thanks to BusinessGreen's reporting, but maybe some of the emerging carbon removals methods such as biochar, enhanced rock weathering, and concrete mineralisation which have significant potential once costs have been reduced.    

What is the biggest misconception about the green economy?

That it is a niche sector. Climate and sustainability is now a C-level issue for almost every major organisation in the world.

What do you see as the biggest challenges to the net zero transition?

Navigating the inevitable political pushback associated with funding the net zero transition. Governments need to be bold in selling the long-term benefits of a net zero economy and use innovative policy mechanisms to share the value as widely as possible as well as the cost. 

What advice would you give to someone looking to work in the green economy?

Think about how you can use your experience and skills to achieve maximum positive impact on the environment. The Verco careers page is a good place to start.

You are a finalist at this year's UK Green Business Awards, can you tell us a little bit about your work to advance the green economy?

We have over 30 years' of experience advising Corporate and Real Estate Organisations, building long-term relationships, and shaping industry initiatives and government policy. Our vision is to provide solutions for a zero-carbon world.

Over the past year we have achieved the following:

Renewable Thermal Heat Pump Tool - We developed a suite of tools to improve the selection of high temperature heat pumps used within industrial processes, including an initial screen tool, a detailed feasibility calculator and a database containing case studies and supplier summaries. We collaborated with GSK, P&G, Roche, Syngenta, Coca Cola Hellenic & RB.  

National Buildings Database - Supporting Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ), UCL and Winning Moves with the creation of the National Buildings Database (NBD) including a 3D stock model for all buildings in Great Britain. The completed database will be used for research into energy use and carbon emissions, which can inform government strategy and policy.

Whole life carbon roadmap for UK  housebuilding sector - We worked with Future Homes Hub and over 50 stakeholders to develop an industry led implementation plan for embodied and whole life carbon of new homes. 

Net Zero Carbon Building Standard - We currently have three representatives within technical working groups for developing the Net Zero Carbon Building Standard, investing experience in developing the wider industry.

We also use our many years of expertise and sound industry knowledge to advise on policy and drive the industry agenda. Our work with industry groups and initiatives includes: The Better Buildings Partnerships, Climate Emergency Design Guide (LETI), and the BSI Working Group developing the revised Publicly Available Specification PAS 51215-1 Energy and decarbonization assessment – Process Specification, Scope 3 peer group, Renewable Thermal Collaborative, UKGBC offsetting and embodied carbon groups.

What projects or achievements are you most proud of?

The development of a suite of tools to help increase the use of heat pumps in the manufacturing sector due to the importance of the need to address hard to abate Scope 1 emissions, and the potential impacts of the project thanks to the involvement of major brand such as GSK, P&G, Roche, Syngenta, Coca Cola Hellenic & RB. 

What can the green economy do better to promote its successes?

Shout louder about the gross value add of the sector and higher productivity of green jobs compared to the national average.

What would your green superpower be?

Infrared vision to see energy wasted by poorly insulated buildings. 

Dave Worthington is managing director at Verco. 

Verco is sponsor of the ESG Investor of the Year category at the UK Green Business Awards 2024, which will take place on the evening of June 12th at The Brewery in London. You can reserve your place at the awards here.  

More on Management

Sainsbury's offers Nectar points to customers who charge up EVs on site

Sainsbury's offers Nectar points to customers who charge up EVs on site

Supermarket says the move makes means its expanding EV charging network is the first in the UK to offer loyalty card rewards

clock 13 June 2024 • 2 min read
How have the UK Green Business Awards changed over the past 14 years?

How have the UK Green Business Awards changed over the past 14 years?

The UK Green Business Awards and their forerunner the BusinessGreen Leaders Awards have now been running for over a decade - and Trewin Restorick has judged them all

BusinessGreen staff
clock 12 June 2024 • 4 min read
Sir Robert McAlpine halves its construction value chain emissions within four years

Sir Robert McAlpine halves its construction value chain emissions within four years

Construction and engineering giant hails milestones as major 'step forward' towards its goal of reducing absolute Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions by 90 per cent by 2045

clock 11 June 2024 • 2 min read