Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Should project managers incorporate green practices in our projects?

As project managers, we often don't have the authority to decide on our own whether to incorporate green practices into a project. We must generally abide by the requirements of our customers. But we can certainly make suggestions about how to run a project more sustainably. In many cases, that will save the customer those most valuable resources, time and money.

As we've noted before in this blog, project management is already concerned with reducing costs, increasing value, and protecting scarce resources. So it's not really a stretch to try to make our projects more sustainable.

What do you think? Should project managers incorporate green practices in their projects? Another project management blogger has written on this subject and would like to hear your point of view. So check out his article, and if you're so inclined, add your voice to the discussion.

You'll also find lively discussions on this and related topics in the Green PM group on LinkedIn.

If you find that you're passionate about sustainability being part of project management, you might even consider signing this petition. The petition asks that PMI consider sustainability thinking when updating the PMBOK Guide, as well as when making any changes to the PMI Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct.


  1. Rosana,
    This is a good post.

    A Japanese Educational reformer by the name of Tsunasaburo Makiguchi once stated "Although it is said that particles of dust collect to form mountains, there are in fact no mountains that are made of accumulated particles of dust. At the most all they can form is a small hill. Real mountains are formed by great shifts in the earth's crust."

    "By the same token, no matter how much minor good accumulates, it will never amount to major good.”

    I personally am all for adding sustainability to the PMBOK and augmenting the code of ethics. However, I don’t believe that the discipline should wait for that to happen in order to create a shift in the way projects are approached.

    Globally there are thousands of organized project management associations and groups. While each one is slightly different, at the fundamental level they all promote change. If project management as a discipline is to make a shift towards embracing sustainable methods, it is the practitioner that must come to the realization that it is necessary and a practical set of tools be made available to put it into action.
    Without these two key components, sustainability will be another chapter or section that will be packed into a boot camp or a couple of questions on a test.

    Executive Director

  2. In essence, the sustainability requirements as embodied in particular in the various green building rating systems such as LEED and Green Star, are just another set of project management requirements and in time PM's will inevitably be required to treat these as "business as usual". What is important is providing the industry a practical set of tools to action sustainability management, as noted by Joel.

    Peter Key

  3. Thanks for the comments! Agreed, project managers need to incorporate sustainability into their projects and need a set of tools for doing so.