Q&A Dec 16, 2022

Accelerating Climate Response in Asia: A Q&A with Aletha Lee

Our Operations Lead, Environmental Solutions for Asia, Aletha Lee, discusses how smart, sustainable solutions are helping solve environmental challenges in the region, creating a lasting positive impact on people and the planet.

Q&A with Aletha Lee Jacobs Operations Lead, Environmental Solutions, Asia, Manila, Philippines

Environmental stewardship and climate change are the defining issues of our time. No longer a secondary concern to human progress, environmental impacts now guide social and economic decisions around all horizontal and vertical infrastructure development.

Jacobs partners with government agencies, municipalities, private sector companies and leading environmental organizations to safely clean-up legacy liabilities for redevelopment, and deliver proven industry expertise on new infrastructure, sustainability and environmental health and safety initiatives around the globe.

For this feature, we talked with Jacobs’ Operations Lead, Environmental Solutions - Asia, Aletha Lee about environmental challenges and how we’re applying our deep knowledge and expertise to deliver environmental protection and transform our communities for better.

Let's talk with Aletha:

Tell us a little about your role and what you’re working on these days?

I lead Jacobs’ Environmental Solutions operations in Asia. I’m responsible and accountable for the health of the business, managing profit and loss (P&L) across six countries and looking at opportunities to expand in more countries.

Profitable growth is not new to the industry, but beyond that, I’m responsible for the team’s accelerated growth aligned to our mission to be the world’s market leader in climate response.

The global demand for smart, sustainable solutions across environmental challenges is one of the biggest issues of our time. What are some ways our Environmental Solutions team in Asia are helping our clients to achieve this?

We do our fair share of work with clients to start their projects through planning and permitting solutions, help them understand, assess, and manage their liabilities through contaminated land management solutions, help meet their internal and external compliance requirements through our Environment, Health and Safety (EHS) solutions and finally help advance their triple bottom line through our sustainability and climate action solutions. These solution verticals integrate with the full lifecycle of projects and are relevant to almost all market sectors and industries.

How did you start off your career and what sparked your interest in this field?

I started my career as an environmental consultant and have not changed it to this day. Working on a variety of projects that evolve over time gets me excited. At the same time, working with professionals from various backgrounds is truly rewarding.

“Every time people learn that I’m working on myself and see the results, they’re more inspired to do the same. Being intentionally vocal about my personal and professional development as I mature in this organization and inspire others to do the same is the best contribution I can make.”

Aletha Lee

Aletha Lee

Jacobs Operations Lead, Environmental Solutions for Asia

Across the globe, there are more than 8,000 Jacobs teammates in Environmental Solutions. Can you tell us more about our portfolio in Asia – what are some of the key projects you’d like to highlight in this region?

We’ve helped our clients across Asia solve their contaminated land issues with projects of up to $6.5 M value. We’ve also helped deliver projects aligned to clients’ sustainability priorities, leading to savings of $690K and potentially up to $10M in terms of liability assessments.

For instance, we’ve decontaminated abandoned facilities in Malaysia, India, Indonesia and the Philippines. In Singapore, we supported the government’s first housing estate with a “forest town” concept developed within the vicinity of mass rapid transit stations. This included working on the line and depot, forest corridor study, road widening and innovation center.

We also supported our clients in Indonesia and the Philippines to secure compliance certificates for their power and mining projects. In Thailand, we contributed to planning an airport terminal by formulating an environmental and social management plan that considered impacts on areas of significant cultural and historical value and residential communities and measures to mitigate it.

Jacobs recently announced that one of the growth accelerators as part of the bold new strategy is climate response. In Asia, what are some of opportunities and challenges for Jacobs in this space?

There’s a wealth of opportunity in helping our clients formulate their climate response strategies and helping them achieve their aspirations for climate risk management. However, it’s not always easy for clients to articulate their needs. It may be easier to describe what success should look like, but the s­teps towards achieving those are not always straightforward. It takes a multifaceted team of strategists, environmental specialists across specializations, engineers, and data and digital specialists to plan and achieve desired results – in our region, this team is led by Rajitha Herath, Digital Operations Lead for East and Southeast Asia.

At Jacobs, we draw on the experience and expertise of our professionals all over the globe. Our strategic consulting team caters to our clients’ needs and we’ve achieved the best results from partnering with the clients rather than responding to specific bids.

As part of Jacobs’ PlanBeyond 2.0 approach, Jacobs announced the creation of an Office of Global Climate Response and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) designed to deliver on the company's commitments to climate change through innovative solutions for its clients and shareholders. Can you share the market solutions and opportunities within the ESG framework that you are most keen to explore with our clients in Asia?

We’re well entrenched into the plans of several key clients and markets in Asia, where we’ve seen a general shift towards decarbonization or transition to renewable energy. We’re also seeing new companies invest in technology and supportive digital systems in Asia and businesses focusing on climate risk management and incorporating ESG in their investment decisions.

Both old and new clients can draw on our ability to integrate the development of sustainability frameworks with prioritization of initiatives to drive results, identify and measure key metrics, and plan and design sustainable facilities and infrastructures.

When you’re not at work, you enjoy…

Being with family, friends, sharing a good meal and laughing with them.

What do you enjoy most about being part of the Jacobs family?

I draw my energy from people and their bright ideas. We are a growing team in a growing company, so I’m really enjoying interacting with brilliant minds daily.

About the interviewee

Aletha Lee

Aletha Lee is Jacobs’ Operations Lead, Environmental Solutions for Asia and helps solve some of the most complex environmental challenges across the region. Based in the Philippines, Aletha brings 16 years of professional experience in environmental consulting, renewable energy and environmental research and has held operations leadership positions prior to joining Jacobs. An advocate of inclusion and diversity in the workplace, she is a strong supporter of our Jacobs Women's Network and Jacobs Careers Network.

Join #OurJacobs team

What drives you drives us as we work to build a better world – together. At Jacobs, every day is an opportunity to make the world better, more connected, more sustainable. We’re always looking for dynamic and engaged people to join our team. Bring your passion, your ingenuity and your vision.

external Let's see the impact we can create, together