Green is here…Get over it! Get With It!

I don’t mean for the title of this post to be so abrasive, but the fact of the matter is that as a Project Manager/Leader in your organization you have got to start thinking about sustainability and Greenality (took that from my guests last week..check out their post here).  This green thing doesn’t mean you have to tie yourself to trees in protest & march in demonstrations.  I am not asking you to change to free range chickens, buy a hybrid, or even purchase those recycle bags at the grocery store…so stay with me on this.

There is essentially 1 thing you need to do…Insert Green thought into your project initiatives.  That’s it!

Check out this video on how the conscious decision to implement Green thinking has benefited employee morale, customer base, and essentially the bottom line at this chain of hotels…click here

In your project templates, simply add a section for sustainability

In your Charter, you should insert a sustainability section. This will ‘force’ some thought on the topic.  Are you refreshing your data center or end-user platform – engage a recycling partner to dispose of equipment could be a requirement of the solution.  As you look into the options you may find a better solution, one that leverages an audited provider with with a zero landfill policy.  I developed and now ‘manage’ Lenovo’s Asset Recovery Services program for business-class customers.  We have spent significant time in auditing the end to end process (where are the PCs going, what happens to the glass in those monitors, etc) and ensuring the environmentally sound disposition of IT assets.  Most of our customers actually get money back!

Other areas to think about…packing of that software/product, is it using recycled goods? Your supply chain, is it truly optimized and are your partners thinking about sustainability?

In your risk matrix, add a column for Sustainability…do changes effect the environment in any way?  Maybe not, but you are now thinking about it.

Add Environmental/Sustainability Stakeholders to Your Project Team

Many organizations have Corporate Environmental Affairs, Sustainability Managers, etc and you need to seek them out and get them on your team.  Their involvement will depend on the initiative,but they need to be at the table and providing insight into effects, alternatives, and impact your initiatives have on the environment.  Ideally, they would be a part of the project intake/strategy discussions to ensure initiatives align with the companies Environmental Management Plan.  If your organization doesn’t have this sort of resource, then I would definitely read the post from last week Green PM: Top 5 Things ALL PMs Can Do Now, Without Procrastinating.  In a recent edition of PMI’s PM Network they site a survey that states the average salary for a VP of Sustainability is $190,000!

Implement a Green Approach

Most folks already use WebEx, GoToMeeting, Skype, or some other form of video conference.  In today’s world of virtual teams, we as PMs are used to this.  However, if you are not using it today then you need to start.  If you are using it, I am sure you could leverage it a bit more.

It is very common to provide some additional ‘points’ to women & minority owned business during the vendor selection exercise.  Why not provide an additional point for an organization that has LEED Certified facilities or has their ISO 14000 certifications?  It would make sense to me that if an organization has invested the time and money to obtain these certification, then they value sustainability and add value to your goals.

That’s it!

I don’t believe there was a call for sacrifice or extensive spend in any of these.  Green PM is simply about making a more conscious effort to think about sustainability.  Often the business case will not allow for the green alternative, there may be some ‘not applicable’, or you may simply break even.  However, as seen with Lenovo’s Asset Recovery Services our customers often receive enough money back to pay for the service and additional hardware/software….all while doing something great for the environment.  NGO’s are all over this stuff.  Their support of your efforts or ridicule for lack of can have an impact on your bottom line, so I suggest you at least give it some thought.

Lastly, how nice would it be as a project manager to show the exec board the cost savings your team found in some sustainability planning which they can use in shareholder communications?  That VP of Sustainability position is still “TBD” in many organization’s org charts and so is that 190,000 paycheck!

I never want to talk at you.  This blog thing is so much more fun when you engage and I talk with you.  Please join in and tell me your thoughts on Green PM…

  1. Do you agree this is needed?  Do you feel it is over-rated?
  2. What is your org doing to be “Green”?
  3. What are you apprehensions to implementing Greenality in your projects?

Additional Resources:


2 thoughts on “Green is here…Get over it! Get With It!

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