Project Management as if the World Matters: At the Intersection of Sustainable Development and Project Management

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Issues such as global climate change, poverty and inequity, and the unsustainable use of resources are becoming more commonly understood amongst the public, governments and organisations. As a result the pressure on businesses to incorporate the principles of sustainable development into policies and activities is mounting. Over the last 50 years, the discipline of project management has matured, the tools of which are increasingly used to deliver specific organisational objectives and introduce or improve new or existing products and services. The traditional definition of a project is an endeavour with a defined beginning and end, undertaken to meet unique goals and objectives. This definition would seem to be at odds with definitions of sustainable development that aim to recognise the long-term nature of environmental or societal impacts arising from business activities. In order to address this apparent dichotomy a new paradigm of project management that both implicitly and explicitly incorporates social, economic and environmental issues is emerging. The concept of sustainable project management is relatively new, but its role in contributing to sustainable development is increasingly gaining interest amongst project management professionals and academics. This paper will introduce the concept of sustainable project management and report on current research that seeks to re-define the relationship between project management and sustainability.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 16 May 2012
EventNorthumbria Research Conference - Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne
Duration: 17 May 2012 → …


ConferenceNorthumbria Research Conference
Period17/05/12 → …


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