Your Sustainability Opportunity as a PM

PMI Southern Ontario Chapter

Bruce is the founder of, a resource for growing IT project managers.

Climate change, green technology and energy prices mean we need to adjust our approach to projects. These changes bring about a long-term shift in the environment we work in. There’s just one problem with this trend. You might feel that sustainability decisions for your organization or country are largely out of your hands. In a sense, you’re right. You might not have the personal authority to make decisions about carbon taxes or green energy.

Don’t get discouraged—there are practical steps you can take. By running projects, you can shape sustainability in two ways:

  1. You can adopt sustainability practices directly into how you run your project.
  2. You can use sustainability thinking to guide the project’s end game.

Before going further, we need to pause and define our terms. In this article, I’m defining sustainability quite broadly to mean long-term thinking for the benefit of the organization and the world. For some project managers—especially those brought in on contract roles—that perspective will be challenging. However, it is well worth pursuing. Just think of the long-term satisfaction you can enjoy taking the long view.

1. Sustainability during the project. To deliver your project sustainably, we need to define some metrics to guide our thinking. For my purposes, I suggest the following principles:

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"In the real world, the right thing never happens in the right place and the right time. It is the job of journalists and historians to make it appear that it has."

- Mark Twain