Integrating Sustainability into Technology-Oriented Project Management: Cases from South Africa

Integrating Sustainability into Technology-Oriented Project Management: Cases from South Africa

Alan Brent (Stellenbosch University, South Africa) and Carin Tredoux (University of Pretoria, South Africa)
Copyright: © 2013 |Pages: 22
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4177-8.ch010

Abstract

Various driving forces originating from society, government, employees, and partners are forcing the enterprise to both incorporate sustainable development in its internal operations and practices, and to align these with the principles thereof. Technology-oriented project management, as a core competency of many enterprises, is not excluded from these requirements. Four cases are explored of how the aspects of sustainability have been addressed by various approaches and tools to enhance the performances of enterprises—in the context of project management in South Africa. The associated challenges are highlighted and the requirement for further work, to address the shortfalls, is outlined. Specifically, by developing methods for understanding the full implications of alternative choices and their relative attractiveness in terms of enhancing the resilience of systems, by extending the field of sustainability science into the field of project management.
Chapter Preview
Top

Background

The World Business Council for Sustainable Development, in its outlook to 2050 (WBCSD, 2010), provides a sobering insight into the many environmental and social changes that will bring about both risks and opportunities for enterprises in the search for global sustainable growth. Climate Change, specifically, is highlighted as the major challenge that directly impacts, and interacts with, all other challenges, such as (affordable) energy and fuel, material resource scarcity, water scarcity, population growth, urbanisation, wealth, food security, ecosystem decline, and deforestation. The principles of sustainable development are subsequently proposed that offer enterprises the notion of being able to reconcile environmental protection and socio-economic development with improved enterprise performance. The enterprise community has responded in various strategic ways to this call, eliciting a wide range of sustainability action types, or categories, alternatively termed: Corporate Responsibility, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Corporate Citizenship, Business Ethics, Stakeholder Relations Management, Corporate Environmental Management, Business and Society, and Corporate Sustainability (Berns et al., 2009), to name but a few.

Current enterprise-operational approaches and practices in this domain vary and range from attempts to adapt production processes to minimize resource use and environmental pollution, and/or to improve relations with the community and other stakeholder groups (Gonzales-Benito & Gonzales-Benito, 2008). Initially sustainability practices began as a means of organisations responding to compliance requirements to the fact that organizations now want to deploy sustainability programmes to reap greater shareholder value (Haanaes et al., 2012). Rather than treating sustainability efforts exclusively as a response to legal and regulatory requirements, more organizations are now integrating sustainability activities into how they manage reputation risk, generate cost savings and ensure long-term profitability and competitive advantage. Corporate sustainability programmes are also expanding in numbers across the spectrum of company size and industry sectors. No longer solely the domain of the large-scale industry or large multinational conglomerates, enterprises of all types and size are increasingly implementing sustainability programmes and practices (Berns et al., 2009). For example, manufacturing companies may emphasize reducing emissions, decreasing water consumption, and recycling by-products, while service firms may focus on customer relationships, employee development, and community service (Reilly & Weirup, 2010). As corporations comply with stringent regulations, they must protect or enhance their ethical image, avoid serious liabilities, satisfy the safety concerns of employees, respond to government regulators and shareholders, and develop new enterprise opportunities in order to remain competitive (Eweje, 2011).

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book:
Reset