Is sustainability driving your business?

nature-laptop-notebook-grassBertie Charles Forbes, founder of Forbes magazine, is famous for his statement: “If you don`t drive your business, you will be driven out of business”. When it comes to the concept of sustainability, it was thought of a nice to have for way too long. Leftovers for softies or political left wing representatives in the company seeking airtime for environmental issues, child labor and doing something back for the community. Welcome to 2016. I dare to say that neglecting sustainability will cause your business to be out of business soon.

Is there still place for non-sustainable corporations?

It’s getting harder and harder. Having to explain to consumers that their favorite chocolate is made by child slaves, is not the task you’d like to pick up today. Indonesia’s intentional forest cleaning by slashing and burning are causing so much damage, that this practice now is labeled a crime against humanity. The public opinion in the west is changing regarding the use of unhealthy sweatshops in Asian countries. Cheap comes with a price.

Will your project leave a better world?

A project manager I’m happy with the new vision of the Dutch chapter of the International Project Manager Association (IPMA): better projects for a better world. I agree with Beverly Pasian (Project Research Institute) who states that we as project managers have a social responsibility. As change agents we can really make the world better, one project at a time. It shouldn’t be a surprise that the brand new IPMA Competence Baseline version 4, which reflects the project management’s professional traits, skills and behaviors, include 6 principles for sustainable project management, based on the ISO 26000 on Social responsibility.

  1. Commitment & Accountability – Recognizing the essential rights of all to healthy, clean and safe environments, equal opportunity, fair remuneration, ethical procurement, and adherence to rule of law
  2. Ethics & Decision Making – Supporting organizational ethics, decision making with respect for universal principles through identification, mitigation, and the prevention of adverse short and long-term impacts on society and the environment
  3. Integrated & Transparent – Fostering the interdependence of economic development, social integrity, and environmental protection in all aspects of governance, practice and reporting
  4. Principles & Values Based – Conserving and enhancing our natural resource base by improving the ways in which we develop and use technologies and resources
  5. Social & Ecological Equity – Assessing human vulnerability in ecologically sensitive areas and centres of population through demographic dynamics
  6. Economic Prosperity – Establishing fiscal strategies, objectives, and targets that balance the needs of stakeholders, including immediate needs and those of future generations.
Is your brain already wired for sustainability?

Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability (CSR) officers have been evangelists for years. They’ve tried to raise awareness about the amount of petrol we use yearly, and introduced micro credit platforms to help entrepreneurs in developing countries. Sustainability goes way beyond legal compliance and philanthropy, as Capgemini’s explaining in its CSR approach. It’s principle-based and embedded in business processes and ways of working nowadays. I’m still more than happy with engagement manager as Capgemini’s umbrella term for all kinds of project, programme, service, demand and contract managers. As a consultant, I strive for dialogues with my customers to ensure long-lasting value and tangible results.

As a delegate to 10 colleagues, I can contribute to the professional development and well being of these employees. Core values of honesty, boldness, trust, freedom, solidarity, modesty and fun are essential to stay in business in the long term, and be beneficial to employees, customers, stake holders and share holders.