Sustainability Success Story – Davide Stronati

17th April 2024

In this blog series, which is part of our Sustainability Hub, we’re speaking to chemical engineers across the world making a difference to make sustainable practices and products a reality and more accessible to all for the wider benefit of our society and globe.

Davide Stronati, Chief Sustainability Officer at the Nuclear Decommissioning Agency (NDA) is leading the NDA group to develop and deploy an innovative, pragmatic and bespoke approach to sustainability.

Sustainability Hub Technical Advisory Group (TAG) member Richard Brice interviewed him about his career and his advice for chemical engineers on how they can have an impact on sustainability.

Davide, tell us briefly about your background in the water sector, particularly sustainability?

My background in the water sector came from an opportunity I had in 2008 to be seconded to Anglian Water, one of the major UK clients of my previous employer Mott MacDonald.

They were looking for a leader to drive the carbon management and sustainability agenda in their capital delivery joint venture. An initial one-year secondment became an almost five years placement. 

Tell us what got you into focusing on carbon and Net Zero?

The opportunity came to work on embedding carbon management in an infrastructure capital delivery programme. Carbon management can be easily translated into a perfect intellectual challenge for engineers, with numerical targets, a carbon calculator and a carbon budget given to any infrastructure project. 

Reducing carbon is a proxy for reducing materials and therefore use of natural resources and waste. With reducing materials, more often than not, you reduce cost – both capex and opex. 

Tell us about your sustainability journey to get you to your current role?

My sustainability journey is due to the high level of interest that I have in almost everything, making connections among different events and sets of information, fulfilling societal needs as my own professional purpose. After the Anglian Water secondment, I moved back to Mott MacDonald in late 2012 covering their Global Head of Sustainability and Climate Change position to finally be appointed in 2020 as the Chief Sustainability Officer at the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority in the UK. 

What would your key take home messages be to chemical engineers when looking at how they can impact sustainability?

Chemical engineers know the secrets of stuff. They have the unique capability to make all our material world sustainable.  

What are your ambitions for the world and where should we be looking for examples of best practice?

My ambition for humans is to learn when and what ‘enough is enough’ is – that’s the secret of sustainability from the demand side. Best practice on carbon management can be found here: Infrastructure Carbon Review - GOV.UK ( 

What would your advice be to companies or individuals in starting their carbon journey?

Understand what you want to achieve from your carbon journey – talk to the best leaders and learn. Then decide how high to set the bar, and keep it there for at least three years, behaving consistently on a day-to-day basis with the level of achievement you set. 

Carbon management is almost an art rather than a perfect science. The behavioral aspects are as important as the hard facts. Carbon accounting is a constant estimate and approximation – do not expect it to be perfect.

How can chemical engineers contribute to achieving our goals of sustaining global temperature increases at or less than 1.5ᵒC?

Push the boundaries of thermodynamics laws and help us to get a great amount of energy with no or lowest possible GHG emissions. 

Visit our Sustainability Hub to access a suite of on-demand training courses that are free to members, and knowledge resources that will help you embed sustainable principles and practices into everyday work and life.