Hong Kong – International design, engineering and advisory company Aurecon has acquired AEC Limited, expanding upon its capabilities and suite of services to help its clients to better integrate ecological and biodiversity considerations into their business strategies and projects. AEC Limited will become a member of the Aurecon Group, effective 1 December 2022.

With the environment and sustainability space being a strategic focus for its business growth in Asia, this acquisition complements Aurecon’s strategic investments over the past 18 months including Acuity and Acumen in Hong Kong, ERE Consulting Group in Malaysia and Market Advisory Group (MAG) in Australia. Collectively, they pave the way for Aurecon to pursue differential growth and seize new opportunities afforded by the green economy.

As one of Hong Kong’s leading independent ecological consultancies, co-founders and directors Paul Leader and David Stanton have created and grown AEC Limited into a regional market leader with a distinctive expertise in ecological, biodiversity and landscape-related advisory. AEC Limited’s team of experts comprising ecologists, arborists and landscape professionals provides a full range of technical and scientific expertise, including ecological monitoring and biodiversity enhancement, to public and private sector organisations across Asia, with a focus on Greater China.

William Cox, Chief Executive Officer at Aurecon expressed his delight in having AEC Limited become part of the Aurecon Group. The acquisition strengthens Aurecon’s capabilities to deliver beyond compliance, enabling economically sustainable, nature-positive infrastructure, supply chains and businesses. It sharpens Aurecon’s value proposition and positions it well to deliver a more comprehensive suite of environmental and sustainability services to clients.

“Having AEC Limited on board is aligned with our strategy to pursue differential growth focusing on the environment, natural resources, sustainability and climate change. Being one of ENR’s Top 200 Environmental Firms worldwide, we have a vital stewardship role to play in supporting our clients transition to a sustainable, liveable future. I look forward to the possibilities that we can bring to life by integrating the unique ecological and biodiversity capabilities of AEC Limited with our Asia Pacific network of environmental and sustainability experts,” William said.

With biodiversity loss cited as one of the biggest dangers the world faces, the race to protect the natural world and its biodiversity reaches a critical milestone as countries gather for the United Nations Biodiversity Conference (COP15). To that end, more governments and businesses are paying greater attention and acting to protect their biodiversity and ecosystems with added urgency.

Asia Pacific’s environmental consulting services market is estimated to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.4 per cent from 2021 to 2028, outpacing the global market’s CAGR of 5.4 per cent. China recently reiterated its commitment to prioritise environmental protection and nature conservation, and Hong Kong is stepping up biodiversity conservation as part of its first city-level Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan. As set out in the 2022 Chief Executive Policy Address, the Hong Kong government is exploring the implementation of a New Proactive Conservation Policy in the Northern Metropolis, alongside its Lantau Tomorrow Vision and the Greater Bay Area development to promote ecological integration between Hong Kong and China, and enrich Hong Kong’s biodiversity. The new policies will further accelerate demand for nature-based ecological and biodiversity solutions in the region.

“There are not many consultancies in the market that have the breadth and depth of ecological and biodiversity expertise as AEC Limited does. We are thrilled to welcome a like-minded partner like them into Aurecon, which complements the capabilities we have brought in via ERE and Acuity and Acumen in Asia, and enables us to better tailor a full environment and sustainability service offering. Nature-based solutions are important in protecting, sustainably managing, and restoring ecosystems with benefits to both human well-being and biodiversity. With the AEC team joining, it helps us to unlock the enormous opportunities and demand for ecosystem services and green infrastructure, as well as Asia’s growing ecological and biodiversity market,” Stephane Asselin, Chief Executive, Aurecon Asia shared.

Looking forward to forging an exciting future together, Paul said, “Joining Aurecon will provide a springboard for us to secure bigger projects in the region, as we can collaborate with experts across the Aurecon network. Our niche expertise in ecology, biodiversity and landscaping will expand the scope of Aurecon’s environment and sustainability capabilities, providing clients with the skills and resources to respond effectively to evolving market needs.”

David added, “There is strong alignment between our companies and we resonate with Aurecon’s business, growth strategy and brand purpose. We are at a critical juncture for action on climate change, biodiversity loss and other Sustainable Development Goals, and I am confident that we can leverage each other’s strengths to deliver a positive impact on our planet and people.”