GHD appoints James Viray as global sustainability leader

20 May 2021 3 min. read
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Engineering and consulting firm GHD has hired James Viray – an experienced sustainability, social impact, and corporate social responsibility (CSR) professional – as its first global sustainability leader. He will be based in Houston.

In the new role, Viray will help guide the firm’s environmental, social, and governance (ESG) goals, with an initial focus on helping GHD achieve carbon neutrality by 2025.

Sydney-headquartered GHD has since 2010 been a signatory to the UN Global Compact, which outlines principles for businesses to follow in relation to human rights, labor, environment, and anti-corruption. The firm also aligns its operations with UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which aim to tackle pressing global challenges through sustainable development.

GHD tags its strategic vision as revolving around “water, energy, and urbanization made sustainable for generations to come.”

GHD appoints James Viray as global sustainability leader

Viray brings more than 20 years of professional experience to GHD, with experience working on sustainable development within a Fortune 500 firm, an international NGO, and a government agency. He has worked across Africa, Asia, Europe, and South America on projects ranging from efforts to end agricultural child labor in West Africa to assessing environmental impacts in energy company value chains.

He previously spent seven years at energy firm ConocoPhillips, where he was global leader of the social responsibility function and worked to drive social and environmental impact by engaging internal as well as external stakeholders. Viray’s work focused on promoting sustainable practices related to climate change, water, human rights and labor, and biodiversity.

Before that, he was a principal sustainability advisor at Environmental Resources Management and a corporate social responsibility advisor at Chevron.

Before entering the corporate arena, Viray was a director of international labor & CSR at the US Department of State, where he worked with companies, foreign governments, and NGOs to create policies and practices to address social impact and environmental sustainability in global markets.

Prior to that, he was a deputy director in the Africa division of International Republican Institute, an NGO focusing on advancing freedom and democracy globally.

Viray holds a master’s degree in international affairs & development from The George Washington University and a bachelor’s degree in international relations from Brigham Young University.

“With James’ appointment, alongside our commitment to delivering industry leading technical authority, we will reduce the impact of our own operations, and also help our clients make long-lasting change in communities around the world. Our own ESG commitments further demonstrate our ongoing focus and existing strengths in the provision of ESG and Future Energy services to clients,” said Ashley Wright, CEO of GHD.

Viray added, “I am excited to help drive the integration of social & environmental priorities into strategy, decision-making, and operations across GHD and embed these in our engagement with clients and stakeholders on both a global and community level."  

GHD delivers architecture, engineering, construction, and advisory services in the areas of water, energy, environment, buildings, and transportation. The firm has 10,000 people across 200 offices globally.

The consulting firm earlier this year appointed Sadaf Parvaiz, formerly of EY, as its first global inclusion and diversity head.