How sustainable are the projects of today?

"We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors but borrow it from our children." - Wendell Berry

Projects have been a vehicle to drive ‘the change’ in organisations, government mechanisms and society as a whole. Traditionally, as per the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK), a project is defined as “an endeavour with a defined beginning and end, undertaken to meet unique goals and objectives”.

These unique goals are mostly to capitalise on future business opportunities or to mitigate risks; seldom have these goals talked about building a sustainable future. The projects traditionally operate in a traditional constraint triangle of time, cost and quality to achieve profits or reduce losses.

The word ‘Sustainability’ though creates a lively buzz, and is a hot discussion point in conferences or high level parlances but is actually deemed as a constraint, opportunity or a project goal only for the very few highly mature organisations.

Some organisations are conscious towards green initiatives, carbon credits and have included sustainability in their marketing, corporate communications, annual reports. But still far and few. Implementation is even lesser.

We can easily say that we have been concerned for the environment for many decades now. But how much is really done to bend the ways of private development and stringent Government regulations?

However, long gone are the days when people could talk of economic development and urbanisation without an eye out on the environmental impact of the projects been undertaken by them. Sustainability is a business reality which everyone is awakening to, and it is about time when sustainability has to be appreciated as a must-have rather than a good-to-have project requirement.

My next post will dig deeper to understand the true essence of sustainability that uses Project Management to bring about a radical change to the society. And leave a better world for generations to come.


About the author

Mohit Kanwar, Operatios Head (North & East), Colliers International India is a qualified Civil Engineer and Masters in Construction & Management. He is a LEED ® Accredited and PMP (USA) professional. Having walked through 15 years in the real estate ecosystem, he has had hands-on experience in project control/ management of commercial, residential and institutional real estate assignments.

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