Oscars for Sustainability Leaders?

From the People, Planet, Profits & Projects Blog
by ,

About this Blog


View Posts By:

Richard Maltzman
Dave Shirley

Recent Posts

Harvesting Project Value: Part 1 of 2

One million Catadores de Lixo

Paved with Good Intentions

Seychelles Buy the Seashore

Hidden Figueres

Well, it’s that time of year.  Directors, producers, actors and actresses, the key grip, and of course audiences around the world await the big show that is the Academy Awards, in which that little (but heavy) golden guy, Oscar, is handed out. We’re in that “in-between” zone, after nominations but before the award ceremony (in late February).

This year the films up for “Best Picture” are:

”Hacksaw Ridge”
”Hell or High Water”
”Hidden Figures”
”La La Land”
”Manchester by the Sea”

If you want to know more about the Oscars, you can check out this video:

But let’s shift our attention to another glamorous award show that just took place a couple of days ago.

One of the best sources I’ve found for news about how business integrates sustainability thinking into business – including projects and project management – is edie.net.  edie (they leave that first "e" in lower case!) delivers daily news and commentary, expert advice and business tools, downloadable industry reports and white papers, access to video and webinars, opt-in daily and weekly newsletters, recruitment news and a comprehensive directory of sustainability suppliers via thier online portal edie.net, as well as a year-round portfolio of high-level business conferences, award ceremonies and an annual flagship exhibition. Turns out that edie.net also does a fantastic job in the area of recognition and awards – and sometimes that’s newsworthy in and of itself.

As PMs, we know that we learn a lot from storytelling and best practice exchange, and that’s what these awards are all about.

Here from the edie.net website is some background on the awards:


Organised by specialist sustainability publishing house Faversham House, the awards began life in 2007 and since then the event has continued to grow and expand to include all key aspects of business sustainability.

Now for their 10th year, the awards have moved from November to Wednesday January 25th 2017 to coincide with all-new, two-day conference and exhibition, the edie Sustainability Leaders Forum, taking place on the Wednesday 25th and Thursday 26th January 2017 at the Business Design Centre, London.

Conference and exhibition by day; prestigious awards by night – combined these two established events offer the unique opportunity to bring together the most forward-thinking businesses and ambitious business professionals looking to move beyond environmental objectives; deliver transformational change in society and create more value within their organisation.


The awards are open to all businesses and organisations across the public and private sectors and of all sizes from the largest multi-nationals to the smallest micro-organisations. As long as the initiative,project, product or strategy shows commitment, credibility and concrete results, we want to hear about it.


By embedding sustainability in their operations, business models and products, our winners are in the vanguard of sustainability and are driving demonstrable results through innovation, engagement and a commitment to doing business better.


The edie Sustainability Leaders Awards are included in the highly regarded RSA accreditation scheme – one of only a handful of environmental schemes to be chosen for this honour. This means that award winners have the opportunity to gain further accolades on the international stage, as they are automatically given access to the European Business Awards for the Environment.

The good news here is that there’s a significant learning opportunity here.  You can get a 59-page report (PDF) by clicking here:


We’ll focus for a bit on Interface – the carpet company whose story towards sustainability integration is one of the main factors that drove us into this space in the first place.  It's featured in our first book - Green Project Management.  Interface has taken on a company wide effort called Mission Zero.  From Interface’s own web page:

Our Sustainability Journey – Mission Zero

Our journey started in 1994 with one person, our Founder and Chairman Ray Anderson. Ray challenged our then 21 year - old company to adopt a bold vision, one that required new thinking and a new model for business. We didn’t have a map, but Ray’s vision was a compass for our journey. As we progressed on our journey, a passion for sustainability took hold with our people and our company was transformed. We invite you to join us on this journey. Read on as we share our compass and our map.


 From the report:


Mission Zero has seemingly inspired every aspect of the organisation, embedding itself at the heart of all corporate decisions that now consider the environment alongside people, process, products, places and profits. Since Mission Zero’s inception, Interface has served to highlight the business case for sustainability time and time again, generating annual net savings of €7.6m across EMEA operations thanks to a huge range of low-carbon, resource efficient improvements.

A proactive approach to sustainability has seen Interface overhaul its sourcing of raw materials, revamp design processes to account for Life Cycle Assessments (LCA) and introduce new measures to manage the end-of-life of Interface products. Since 2000, Interface has been using LCAs to measure product impact on the environment, which has led to the introduction of some of the company’s most celebrated innovations – among which is Net-Works.

Established in 2012 in partnership with the Zoological Society London (ZSL), Net-Works has placed 14 discarded fishing net collection hubs across the Philippines and Cameroon to create an ongoing supply of 100% recycled yarn to be used in Interface’s carpet tiles. Net-Works supports more than 55,000 local people and has collected 100,000kg of nets no longer wasting away in oceans. The products deriving from these nets also have a substantially lower carbon footprint. In 1996, the average CO2 footprint for an Interface product was around 20kg/m2. Today, these footprints have shrunk to 6.8kg.

Sustainability is embedded at Interface to the point where the global innovation and sustainability teams now lead the measuring and reporting processes conducted by each department. This centralised leadership from the sustainability team has seen engineers source new solutions to produce less waste in the Netherlands, contributing to the zero-waste achievement.

The report is full of details like this that show how sustainability integration can be done.  And what’s intriguing to me is that project management is mentioned not only between the lines, but is called out by name several times in the report as a key contributor.  And that’s the point, isn’t it?  When you watch the Oscars this weekend, and you see how the actors and directors will strive to thank a boatload of people, think about how a project is that kind of effort as well (in fact, a movie is, by definition, a project) and that the integrated aspect of sustainability is that important to ‘doing well by doing good’ and considering, as our blog’s title says, “People, Planet, Profits, and Projects”.

Posted by Richard Maltzman on: January 27, 2017 11:20 PM | Permalink

Comments (0)

Please login or join to subscribe to this item

Please Login/Register to leave a comment.


Wow! They've got the internet on computers now!

- Homer Simpson