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Prism (Projects Integrating Sustainable Methods)

Paul Naybour Paul Naybour

Published: 22nd March 2012

You can look up almost any fortune 500 company and find out what their ethics policy or environmental stewardship goals are on their website. How organizations accomplish these goals vary from one to the other. It is widely understood that a culture change  starting at the top and embraced at every level is the only way to ensure success from an acceptance standpoint. Delivery on the other hand is another story and is why PRiSM, Projects integrating Sustainable Methods was established as a practical method of managing projects by leveraging current best practices with a sustainability framework.
 

There are companies that are very successful in targeting parts of the business that can be revitalized to address environmental issues but what does your typical company that already recycles, uses LED light bulbs and low flow toilets do to become more sustainable? I have been speaking with sustainability coordinators from across the globe to find out what some of the biggest challenges they face in achieving their organization’s environmental goals are. Aside from the red tape and all that, the largest response I received is common practices or delivery.  This is something that can be addressed with a little work and through effective project management.
There are thousands of postings on job sites with descriptions that read “Looking for a knowledgeable and energetic individual to create and implement a corporate sustainability plan.” with qualifications such as “knowledgeable in sustainability issues, best practices, and problem solving”
Some go as far as to spell out what areas they need to address in energy efficiency and renewable energy, transportation and logistics efficiency, waste minimization.  What you won’t find is the requirements to “translate environmental goals into sustainable practices that tie to the projects that deliver the various products and services that we offer.”
Why is that? 
If a person’s core competency is environmental management/sustainability and not project or service delivery, then delivering sustainability to a withing a projectized organization is a large mountain to scale. By blending sustainability management and project management, you can focus best practices to reduce waste, GHG emissions, energy and resource consumption, not as a goal but as a natural output.
In order for sustainability coordinators to have a larger impact, project-ese needs to become a staple of their diet.  On the flip side of the coin, if the 20 or so million project managers throughout the world were to learn how to augment their project processes with a sustainability framework, a greater impact could be realized in a shorter amount of time.
It is because projects are definitive, have a start and end date, objectives and constraints that a framework of practices and metrics can be employed to measure progress towards larger and long term organizational environmental goals.
Sustainability starts with Project Management.
To learn more about Projects integrating Sustainable Methods or PRiSM visit www.greenprojectmanagement.org

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