David Orr was the first to come through the on-programme Chartership route at his firm, Mott MacDonald. Now he is the 2023 winner of the MCA’s Chartered Management Consultant of the Year Award. He was described by the judges as an amazing individual who was nominated for the sheer impact of his work and his great dedication.
Grounded in a commitment to international development, David is passionate about sustainability. He found the Chartered route offered him a broader perspective of the profession and its societal impact. David has worked on a range of projects ranging from assessing the public-private healthcare response to Covid in Pakistan to an urban development programme in India.
In Kenya he worked closely with partners to develop a national carbon reduction tool and helped advance the digital system that underpins an education programme for girls in South Sudan. The journey to achieve net zero is key to his work. One half of his role focuses on helping to lead decarbonisation through digital. He said:
“A lot of it is working with clients to understand how we can make it easier to drive down carbon on major infrastructure projects. Imagine a major infrastructure project in Toronto, say, or a water project in New Zealand, or working with contractors in the UK that are doing really interesting, large-scale work. If you can consider carbon at the early stages, then it’s better for everyone as you can reduce carbon and ideally reduce cost too.”
David’s role is then to work with colleagues from across Mott MacDonald to support clients’ decarbonisation ambitions. He said:
“For example, if you can consider building less or repurposing existing infrastructure, then you can have real carbon savings. That’s probably my main focus, trying to democratise decarbonisation through digital. When we work with clients it’s very much about trying to get their entire supply chain, and indeed their whole client organisation on board.”
That is what he does with public and private infrastructure clients, but he also has an international development role too. David said:
“The other half of what I do is focused on working closely with country governments and partners, particularly in Kenya – but also India to a certain extent – to support the build out of their carbon reduction pathways. These are based on stakeholders taking the lead. It’s all about finding pathways and using digital tools that can be used to say ‘right, in the case of Kenya, and that of India, how are we going to get to net zero?’ And that for me, that is awesome.”
Working with various sectors as well as lots of stakeholders with different points of view is key to his approach. He said:
“In Kenya we worked with everyone from universities to the national airline to energy transmission companies. Everyone is in there to make sure that their data and voices are heard, and then it’s disseminated to everyone from officials working in ministerial departments to school children, the whole range.”
David’s commitment to advancing sustainability for clients extends beyond the office, including as an Associate at the University of Cambridge’s Judge Business School, an Executive with a STEM-focused NGO and as a Non-Executive Director with a motorsport sustainability organisation. He has also published widely in both academic and non-academic contexts.
His commitment was recognised by the United Nations Global Compact last year when David was named as their 2022 Sustainable Development Goals Pioneer for Climate Mitigation.
David’s development and performance as a consultant is testament to the Charted Management Consultant award.
Find out more about the Chartered Management Consultant Award.