The Global View of Sustainability

The Global View of Sustainability

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2371-0.ch001
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This book is about managing project sustainability. The need to make project development sustainable is based on evidence of global concern over climate change. People are using up nonrenewable resources, and renewable resources are not growing fast enough to replace or replenish them. The ecological carrying capacity of the planet is becoming unable to meet the growing needs of current and future generations, both locally and globally. Examples include air pollution due to emission of acidic gases; local pollution of streams and lakes; loss of biodiversity; global warming leading to climate change; development without care for habitats; water removal from rivers and aquifers without ecological concern; deforestation; and the depletion of fish stocks merely for economic benefit. These are all caused by human activities; however, conflicts occur within and between countries with respect to sociopolitical, socioeconomic, environmental, and even ecological impacts. Many human activities occur in the form of projects. In the past quarter of a century, since the Earth Summit in 1992, many global and local institutions, including governmental, nongovernmental (NGO), academic, and even business organizations in many industries, have tried their best to reverse the trend of unsustainability. As both an academic discipline and a professional practice, project management is definitely playing a key role in the development of society toward a sustainable future.

In recent years, project sustainability concepts and practices have been in great demand in the project management community. “Project” and “sustainability” are not new terms. Projects can be traced back to ancient times; a good example is the Great Pyramids of Egypt. Although the meaning of sustainability or sustainable development (used interchangeably for this book’s purposes) was not defined until the release of the Brundtland (1987) report, the concept has existed among human beings far longer. For example, parents raise their children and teach them skills that enable them to feed themselves, take shelter, and stay alive demonstrating human nature of sustainability. The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), in its Business Charter for Sustainable Development, describes sustainability or sustainable development in a business context as

a process whereby companies seek to manage their financial, societal (including governance) and environmental risks, obligations and opportunities. This is commonly referred to as a triple bottom line approach where business connects to healthy and balanced economic, societal and environmental systems. In order to do so businesses must be cognizant of the principles of sustainable development such as outlined in this Charter, and consider their impacts on the environment in which they operate. (International Chamber of Commerce, 2015, p. 1)

Project investment forms a major part of business development. In the new millennium, linking “project” and “sustainability” has become both a popular research subject and a priority in project management professional practice. For project sustainability to succeed, project managers must understand the nature of sustainability, and its impact on project process that leads to delivery of sustainable products and services in businesses. This book provides the theory and practice behind project sustainability, helps project managers and other stakeholders to understand the subject, and offers a collection of practical tools and techniques.

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