In the News

A look inside Mexico City’s expanding sustainability initiatives

Our Mexico City team is inspiring a growing companywide internal sustainability effort. The five-pronged initiative is helping to make our planet more livable by looking at what we can do both individually and as a firm to better our carbon footprint. The plan circulated around the following topics, each given a specific focus for two to three months throughout the calendar year:

Sustainable Transportation

Automobiles make up about 27% of greenhouse gas emissions releasing 404 grams of CO2 per mile, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency. Each year, approximately 7 million people die worldwide due to diseases caused by air pollution, according to the World Health Organization.

To help do our part, we created an initiative with a focus on carpooling, walking and biking to the office. Our Mexico City leaders introduced exclusive parking stalls for carpoolers of at least two people. Carpoolers were also reimbursed for gas to and from the office. Uber and Didi carshares were also reimbursed to and from the office.

Benefits to carpooling include reductions in energy consumption and emissions, traffic reductions and cost savings, according to a UC Berkeley study. Walkers and bikers also benefit from reduced stress and anxiety, muscle strengthening, increased metabolic rate and other health benefits.

Waste Management

Each year, one-third (1.3 billion tons) of all food ends up rotting in trash bins worldwide. This is enough to feed two billion people, more than twice the number of malnourished people across the globe.

According to the EPA, only about 9% of plastics are recycled. To cut down on plastic waste, our team is using the concept of the “Five R’s”:

  • Reuse – Reusing plastics instead of buying new ones
  • Refuse – Limiting use of disposable and single use plastics such as plastic straws and bags
  • Reduce – Limiting plastic waste by making greener decisions
  • Recycle – Disposing of plastics responsibly and using recycle bins properly
  • Remind – Encouraging others to follow the other four R’s

In the EPA report, more than 26,000 tons of plastics end up in landfills each year, nearly nine times more than in 1970. A big reason for the increase is the increased consumer culture we live in. To combat consumer culture and waste, we held weekly officewide Buy Nothing Days in Mexico City. According to the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), 99% of purchased items are discarded within six months, and the world produces two billion tons of waste annually. We want to do our part in reducing number.

Energy Management

Human activities are estimated to have caused approximately 1.0°C of global warming, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Among the big culprits is the use of air conditioning units, which are set to account for 130 gigatons (GT) of CO2 emissions between now and 2050, according to According to the report, this would account for anywhere between 20-40% of the world’s remaining “carbon budget” (the most we can emit while still keeping global warming to less than 2˚C above pre-industrial levels – the goal set at the Paris Climate Conference in 2015).

Light pollution is another contributing factor. According to, global light pollution caused by artificial lighting has risen anywhere between 49-270% since 1996, and up to 400% in some regions.

As an office, we set goals to reduce the burning of fossil fuels by generating electricity and heat by doing the following:

  • Turning off air conditioners when not present or needed
  • Raising the blinds and reducing the use of artificial lighting through electricity
  • Using more energy efficient appliances
Our Mexico City office

Environmental Awareness

Construction and operation of buildings are responsible for approximately 39% of global emissions, according to a 2019 report from the International Energy Agency. This is an alarming number and one where, as architects, designers and engineers, we can make a major difference.

We offer the following levels of service:

  • Sustainable Design including energy efficient, renewable and reduced embodied carbon options into the project design, without seeking a certification.
  • LEED Design solutions utilizing sustainable design principles as outlined by the USGBC or CGBC to pursue project LEED Certification.
  • Green Globes support to provide information on the sustainable design solutions incorporated into the project and target certification.
  • WELL Building Standard strategies focused primarily on optimizing occupant health, increasing employee productivity and improving quality of life in the built environment.
  • Fitwel aligned options to improve the health of a facility’s employees, visitors or residents as well as the surrounding community.

Our design solutions help result in healthier buildings, improved work environments and sites, reduced operating costs and natural resource conservation. We are proud members of the US Green Building Council and Sustenabilidad Para Mexico (SUME).

To further our commitment to sustainability practices, our team is running a LEED GA Study Series to assist team members firmwide in attaining their LEED Green Associate certifications.

Sustainable Shopping

About 2,150 pieces of clothing are thrown away in the U.S. each year, according to Bloomberg. That is the equivalent of 11.3 million tons of textile waste each year. According to the same report, modern textiles rely heavily on petrochemical products that come from many of the same oil and gas companies driving greenhouse gas emissions. Fashion accounts for up to 10% of global carbon dioxide output and one fifth of the 300 million tons of plastic produced globally each year, according to the report. Per Bloomberg, it is also estimated that the number of garments produced each year has at least doubled since 2000.

To combat the waste and “fast fashion” culture of buying and throwing away clothes consistently, we focus on the following:

  • Buying second hand
  • Organizing a clothing swap
  • Renting clothes
  • Shopping in your own closet
  • Shopping local
  • Investing in timeless pieces
  • Looking for sustainable materials and clothing

Many of our 28 offices have adopted internal sustainability initiatives inspired by the ideas the Mexico City team spearheaded.

At Ware Malcomb, we partner with our team members, clients, industry colleagues and local communities to create a more sustainable world. We strive to develop environmentally friendly business practices to create a healthier built environment for future generations. For more on our companywide sustainability initiatives, visit our website:

WM Canvas


Andrés Galvis