Part 1: How Project Managers can generate sustainable impact


Development through Projects

Most companies today develop through projects. They are ideal for innovative thought and change, and in a time of growing climate concerns this makes them a fantastic opportunity for implementing contributions to sustainability.

As climate changes increase and the environmental and social effects become increasingly apparent on a global scale, public sentiment is swinging from a vague unease to a desire for immediate action. Sustainability is no longer the province of grassroots movements and the political fringe but is now the subject of national and international politics.

This article tries to map some of what we believe is key knowledge in helping project managers to make sustainable contributions.

The result of a Tx3 collaboration

The article is the result of a collaboration between various writers all of whom were present at the webinar ”Sustainable Agile Projects” given by Ann Rosenberg and Lasse Borris Sørensen on June 2nd 2022.

Lasse afterwards facilitated the Tx3-network, where it was decided to write this collaborative article.

The contributors are Lene Juel Jensen (Head of Section, Department Green Transition & Sustainability Lead, COWI), Lasse Borris Sørensen (Sustainability Agile Coach & CEO with Plan A ApS. and Louise Borrit (Founder of Project Change by Louise Borrit).

You can read the articles here

Read Leading Green Projects, article contribution by Lene Juel Jensen

Read Create Impact Using Innovation and Agility, article contribution by Lasse Borris Sørensen

Read SDG 17 Partnership – How does SDG goal 17 impact the role of the project manager?, article contribution by Louise Borrit et al.

History of sustainability

Beginning with the Earth Summit in Rio in 1992 the UN has worked to establish a comprehensive plan for environmental protection. However, laudable as this goal might be, it cannot simply be imposed on all member nations as a one size fits all strategy.

In 2015 the UN introduced the 17 SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals). Rather than being concerned solely with the climate they recognize this must go hand in hand with e.g., ending inequality, reducing poverty, improving education and health, as well as ending gender and racial discrimination.

These 17 SDGs were adapted by all member nations and influence national politics every day. As these policies are rolled out companies, large and small, have pledged towards one or more of these goals, often with varying degree of success.

These goals were deliberately created to be broad in scope and outline as they are aimed at nations. Making them more difficult to achieve for companies who work with deadlines, profit margins and quotas. To alleviate these issues, the 17 SDGs were converted into SDG Ambition which include 11 benchmarks. SDG Ambition is a sustainability framework aimed directly at companies, rolled out worldwide by UN. The best known of these benchmarks is “Science Based Emissions Reduction in line with a 1.5°C Pathway” dealing with CO2 emissions reduction.

As each company pledges towards one goal or another the question then arises of how and where to put these into action. This is why the role of the project manager has never been more important.

An example of where project managers can seek inspiration of how to implement sustainable initiatives is the Climate Action 100+. Climate Action 100+ is an investor-led initiative to ensure the world’s largest corporate greenhouse gas emitters take necessary action on climate change. 171 focus companies have been selected for engagement, accounting for up to 80 percent of global corporate industrial greenhouse gas emissions. We encourage you to take a closer look at e.g., Enel SPA, an electric utility company from Italy to get inspiration from one of the leading organizations.


Denne artikel blev udgivet i DPL Magasinet #2023-1 d. 7. september 2023. DPL Magasinet er et fysisk medlemsblad man som DPL-medlem modtager. Du kan læse om alle de mange tilbud du får som medlem af Dansk Projektledelse her.

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Lasse Borris
Jeg er en fremtrædende skikkelse inden for både bæredygtige og agile projekter. Jeg fungerer som Sustainability Project Coach & CEO hos Plan A ApS, der også har licens til at fremme Green Project Management® i Danmark. Med mere end 20.000 timers erfaring inden for både agile og bæredygtige projekter, har jeg udviklet projektmodeller, der har fundet anvendelse i en række store virksomheder. Desuden har jeg undervist over 4000 personer og certificeret mere end 700 fagfolk inden for disse områder.