Sustainability and Green Project Management

The new era of globalization and transparency triggers the efforts concerning Sustainability, a concept explained through many definitions. A general understanding suggests that Sustainability concerns a broad spectrum of duties that businesses are required to recognize and reflect in their actions to survive. Among the issues covered by Sustainability are the responsibility of organizations to fairly treat human resources, customers and suppliers, to demonstrate proper corporate citizenship, and to actively show respect towards the natural environment. These responsibilities should be considered not only as morally and ethically desirable ends in themselves but also as evidence regarding the societal allowance to organizations for long term survival.

Therefore, the embodiment of Green Project management as an element of Sustainability, with a strategic mindset, falls into the operation of all major projects globally and ensures their positive impact on Stakeholders (customers, society, shareholders etc) and the Environment. Organizations following such a framework will not only benefit from generating profits but also from developing sustainably and strengthening its long term positioning.

A successful organization today should take green project management under consideration for a more balanced and Sustainable world.

As organisations start to take an increased focus at all areas and levels of Sustainability, adopting a “green“ view point for project management, may not be the norm yet, but has definitely progressed greatly in the last few years. Over time, an increasing number of short or longer term projects focus on the environment and the impacts of decision making processes.

Taking the environment into account is a model where organizations think green throughout the project and requires changing the way of doing business. Some decisions may seem easy, especially if packaging and transport of a product is involved; however, green project management should go beyond the obvious and tangible.

Creating a Green Project Team culture can be the first step for establishing a culture of responsibility and sustainability that will be the driving force for implementing changes through a Carbon Footprint Strategy and/or Green Product and Service, but is by no means an easy task. Widely available “quick tips” that are scattered in the market for green project management culture and solutions will not be of any effect to an organization; that is, culture is not something you copy-paste from a “top 10 list” but is acquired through experience, knowledge exchange, and value transfer. In order to built a sustainable culture to drive green project initiatives, qualified individuals will need to consider among others the role of stakeholders, the notion of green procurement and business processes, the importance of green marketing, product life cycle analysis, methods for measuring-reducing-offsetting carbon footprint, and the offering of carbon neutral products and services.

Green project management is a link on a complicated chain of responsibilities that entail decision making, people and change management, strategy formation and deployment, and, therefore can be entrusted to individuals that have the skills and competencies to lead an innovative green business world.

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