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Practical green initiatives for project managers

PM Oracles
May 30, 2013

Today’s society is prevalent with organisational and social campaigns to ‘go green’. This is for good reason. It is, after all, our social responsibility to reduce our carbon footprint, to reduce our dependency on non-renewable energies, and to recycle: not to mention the potential financial benefits associated with going green and green products.

There are many things that program and project managers of all industries can do to contribute to this worthy cause as part of following good program and project management processes and practices, but what are the big ticket items?

1. Efficiency and waste minimisation

Direct your outcomes towards efforts such as energy efficiency, emissions (namely carbon) reduction, water efficiency and waste minimisation. There are many actions that program and project teams can take to achieve any of these four overall targets. For example, in IT the implementation of software that automatically turns off monitors when not used can lead to carbon reductions. If you work in manufacturing, construction or heavy industry the options for tackling these four factors are many and varied.

2. Make a difference with design

Consideration of the environment and sustainable initiatives at the design stage of an end product or solution is crucial since this is what will determine the end product which the program/project will deliver.

As a program or project manager, you have an opportunity to influence those responsible for design with ‘green thinking’ (which many will no doubt already have in mind). For example, designing a product (be it a car headlight, a new computer or a manufacturing process) for energy efficiency.

3. Have a sustainable supply chain

Virtually all programs and projects (in all industries) rely on supply chain partners for delivery. The way you procure your partners can make a huge difference on the way a program or project is delivered. For example, make sure your supply chain partners are appropriately certified in sustainable practices and that they will adhere to leading practices.

The supply chain principle relates to anything, from procuring sustainable timber for construction to ensuring ‘green thinking’ is part and parcel of IT equipment procurement; for example, packaging can constitute a large volume of waste if not thought about in a sustainable way. Advice from government and non-government organisations is plentiful in supply on actions that can be taken—look them up in the country you operate in.

PM Oracles
PM Oracles is Gareth Byatt, Gary Hamilton, Jeff Hodgkinson and Duke Okes, all experienced PMO, program, and project managers who share a common passion to help others and share knowledge about PMO, portfolio, program and project management.
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