The Positive Business Impacts of Sustainability

Everyone seems interested in sustainability these days, from big-box retailers to city governments, colleges and universities. I am also a believer in sustainability and particularly in sustainability as a new knowledge area for project managers.

As the world continues to pursue conservation and environmental projects to protect our planet, businesses and their projects are now using these methods to play their role in its conservation and use. As businesses focus on “going green,” they enforce sustainability on their organization to reduce energy use, costs, waste, and other environmental factors. Sustainability principles and methods may have a positive effect on organizations that are already doing what they can to help the community and the environment. For example, many businesses are already recycling or lowering their emissions. Many consumers and stakeholders increasingly expect to see sustainability initiatives; as such, sustainability has become a new part of the strategic, tactical and operational environment of many businesses. This raises some interesting questions. Why should you adopt these principles and methods alongside your other ongoing programs, projects and operational work? Aren’t you busy enough already?

I think that sustainability principles and methods should be adopted and integrated into more than one aspect of your business and across many levels of your organization. Sustainability includes consideration and involvement of the community as well as conserving the environment; however, it can also be successfully used when developing new initiatives or projects. According to a great book I recently read, The Business Guide to Sustainability by Darcy Hitchcock and Marsha Willard, some of the benefits of adopting sustainability methods in your business and your projects include:

  • Reducing energy, waste, and costs
  • Differentiating yourself from your competition
  • Getting one step ahead of the regulatory curve
  • Promoting creative innovations for new products or processes
  • Expanding to new markets by promoting more cost effective way to develop and sell products.

Sustainability and the drive to “go green and conserve” enables an organization to attract new employees, shareholders and customers who share these same values. This can improve the public’s view of your business and your products, and be a positive impact to your bottom line over time. The impact of sustainability on your projects and your processes can also be positive in both the short- and long-term.

Have a look at the book and take a look at my website,, and start considering the benefits of incorporating sustainability principles and methods into your business and all its pieces and parts.

Larry T. Barnard, PMP, PMI-RMP, Change Management Practitioner
CEO & Principal Architect
IISPM, International Institute of Sustainability Project Management

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