Global research prompts call for project teams to integrate sustainability into decision-making

25 Apr 2024 11:29 AM

Green Project Management (GPM Global) has published a new report, Insights into Sustainable Project Management 2024, with input from APM, which shows how sustainability is perceived, integrated, and operationalised within organisations globally.

The importance of sustainability and responsible management are becoming more emphasised throughout society, with greater pressures being placed on companies.

GPM Global performed an extensive survey with over 10,000 responses from professionals in more than 113 countries to complete the new report. Its findings address the impact of extreme weather on projects and organisations, the consequences of not implementing sustainability and regenerative actions, and the impact of sustainability on organisational strategy, among much else.

With the report highlighting 31% of organisations having reported an increased impact of climate change and sustainability on their strategies since 2021 and the remaining 69% reporting a steady impact since 2021.

APM’s Chief Executive, Professor Adam Boddison OBE, commented:

“This insight shows the need for organisations to ensure that project management teams are actively integrating sustainability into their decision-making processes. It also underpins the importance of project management in delivering effective sustainable outcomes for projects around the globe, now and in the future.”

Dr Joel Carboni, President and Founder of GPM Global, gave insight into what the changing climate will mean for the project profession in the future, saying:

“We’re telling project professionals they now have to account for risk from weather events in their projects. People are realising now that that’s the case.

“Just recently in Dubai, there has been flooding. In Malaysia, there has been flooding. So, any external project work in those areas comes to a halt.

“We talk about risks to projects but we’re also the cause of our own risk. Project professionals need to address the environmental risks coming at them, but also the root causes.”

According to insights in the report, the largest segment of survey respondents (34%) reported a focus on both sustainable and regenerative goals, with an additional combined 36% of respondents saying that they’re focused on either sustainable or regenerative goals, with strategies targeting the cause of climate change.

Whilst organisations are starting to focus on incorporating sustainability into their project strategies, an overwhelming majority of respondents (95%) classified their organisations' practices as in the ‘developing’ (67%) or ‘beginning’ (28%) stages.

Furthermore 68% of organisations do not currently have long-term sustainability goals that align with their project management practices. Dr Carboni commented:

“The link to strategy is not a surprise. That’s where a lot of organisations struggle. A lot of organisations need to look at their sustainability strategy.”

When asked what he would like to see happen as a result of this report, Dr Carboni said:

“Profession-wide, project practitioners have to accept that sustainability is no longer a fringe topic. It has to be incorporated from the start. At a high maturity level, it’s about how you embed sustainability into your projects from the start.”

Insights into Sustainable Project Management 2024 is available to download from GPM Global’s website.