The Project Manager and #NetZero
In the first part of this two part blog, Estelle Detrembleur explained the meaning of Net Zero, and why it is so important. In this second article Estelle explains what we need to do within that as a project community.
Every contribution to Net Zero counts
Since climate change affects all projects it is important to perform a review of its carbon footprint at an early stage in the lifecycle. There are many tools available to assist in calculation of emissions, a critical precursor to the development of an action plan and sustainability strategy. When developing the action plan, it is important to demonstrate how the project will reduce emissions throughout the project lifecycle using innovative technical solutions. For the business case to be valid, this must also include carbon that is generated throughout the supply chain.
Quite apart from the critical positive impact on climate change, a rigorous carbon reduction strategy has been shown to be a critical factor amongst investors.
So what should we do?
Here are few tips on how to integrate the NetZero strategy into your project. Right from project conception up to handover, project teams can contribute towards NetZero Goals.
- NetZero should become part of the project: ensure that the team is fully aware of the relevance and importance of NetZero project goals. NetZero should be integrated into all relevant project items including engineering, contracts, risk, quality, schedules, costs and every other element. It should be a key agenda item followed up at review points, with metrics in place and tracked.
- Ensure that your risk register reflects specific environmental, societal and governance (ESG) risks.
- Demonstrate how you are monitoring, reducing or eliminating those risks, remembering potential reputational impacts.
What COP26 means
Gathering political leaders and other key stakeholders together at COP26 was a major challenge, particularly given the pandemic crisis. As a project manager who attended COP26, for me this underlined the importance of collaboration and diversity across all stakeholders, but also the critical part played by the project management community.
The PM community is at the heart of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Bringing teams together to achieve the important goal of tackling the climate crisis; Humanitarian projects to assist communities in less developed countries to access water and food; keeping a healthy population with new treatments; training and educating the next generation with the project management skills needed to support the sustainable world with innovative approaches; to make the world more resilient and responsible; and to promote peace, justice, and cooperation.
Encouragingly too, increasing equality and diversity awareness is helping to ensure that the skills of all stakeholders can be leveraged. The importance of climate change strategy within projects is being highlighted by Women in Project Management (WiPM) and Enactus UK – platforms that support next generation leaders.
Start now by answering these questions:
Responsible consumption and production start with the individual
- How do you personally contribute to climate change challenge?
Protecting life on land and under water are key to keeping the human species alive. Therefore, it is in everyone's job description to protect biodiversity and contribute to sustainability.
- Does your business have a Sustainability Strategy, and are you able to identify its three key drivers?
Partnering to achieve the 17 SDG goals is key to success! What partnership opportunities do you have?
- Where do you volunteer and what are the activities that make a difference? What communities are you a member of?
The voluntary or Third sector has become a major player in this field. Projects like tree planting or cleaning riverbanks mobilises and sensitises the community.
About the author
Estelle Detrembleur is Associate Director Project Controls at Mace (global experts in shaping the built environment), and was part of the Nuclear global team tasked with increasing awareness of the importance of energy mix and the need for nuclear to reach NetZero at the COP 26 conference.
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