Make Your New Project Eco-Friendly – Whether you’re a project manager in a corporate environment, are starting your own business, or have a personal project in mind, there are always ways to make things more eco-friendly.
The best way is to plan the whole thing from the ground up with the environment in mind.
Let’s take a closer look at how you can do this and other ways you can make your new project environmentally friendly.
Make Your New Project Eco-Friendly
Review Your Plan for Green Opportunities
If you’ve already started your project or have produced a preliminary plan, take the time to go through it and look for any opportunities to go green or positively impact the environment.
The context of your project will define the parameters—for example, a small or medium-sized company probably won’t want a complete overhaul, but you may be able to work a few things in.
The important thing is to get your ideas on paper and included in the formal plan, so you can start out on the right path.
There are several approaches to take and obvious examples of how a typical project can go green …
Consider Your Environmental Impact
The broad approach is to carefully consider the environmental impact of your project and try to quantify this in some way.
Are you using polluting vehicles or machinery?
Are your suppliers and partners eco-friendly?
Are you using renewable materials or eco-friendly processes?
What overall impact will there be from planning and manufacturing to getting your finished product on the shelves?
Your specific project could be anything, but it will almost certainly have some kind of impact.
Can you realistically reduce this impact without drastically changing your end goal or incurring a lot more costs?
Have an Environmental Performance Indicator or Target
One way to ensure your project keeps the environment in mind at all times is to set a target or goal or build in an environmental indicator.
As the project evolves, you will be able to make decisions with the environment in mind or make changes in order to meet your green targets.
If you make this prominent and clear to everyone involved, it will become part of the corporate/project culture and make it more likely to succeed.
Nobody likes to fail, so tying the environmental impact to performance is a logical step to take.
Screen Suppliers and Partners
Unless your project is entirely in-house, your environmental impact will also be tied to everyone else involved.
In some cases, you may be able to dictate your environmental standards to third parties, but if not, you can also make sure they meet your criteria before they even become suppliers, partners etc.
Of course, you will need to find the right line between a good deal and your green goals but outsourcing to an unregulated manufacturer in China probably isn’t the best step to take.
Your own project might not be on the same scale, but you can apply the same logic.
Do you buy the craft materials from the big chain store with the over-use of plastic packaging or from the ‘mom-and-pop’ store that has everything out in trays?
Note: Sometimes going green creates more upfront costs than if you completely ignore the environment, though this is a trade-off you will have to consider.
If your green plan has changed your project’s budget, you could always apply for emergency loan online to bridge the gap.
Use Your Corporate Networking Skills
In larger companies, there are many ways to leverage the system to benefit the environment.
Sell your green project to the Corporate Social Responsibly manager, who may look at it as a PR win.
Get Human Resources and the Project Management Office on board as well—their guidance and support will help things move further than if you try to implement everything yourself.
Fortunately, there are already several frameworks being used for greener projects within the corporate world, including Green Project Management (GPM), Cradle to Cradle (CTC) and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).
See how you can apply these approaches to your own project.
Reward the Team
Your team needs to see the bigger picture (why going green is a good thing), but also the benefit to them personally.
Encouragement and rewards for meeting green targets go a long way.
This should be fun and rewarding, not an annoying slog.
A simple idea could be to have a ‘green team member of the week’ award.
One simple yet effective way that any project can reduce its carbon footprint is to go completely paperless.
Although electronic devices have their own footprint, the destruction of the rain forest, manufacturing, and transport associated with paper is much higher.
Did you know it even takes 1.5 cups of water to make one sheet of paper?
Take all of your paper-based planning, contracts, and other documents digital for a positive environmental impact.
Apply Standard Green Principles
Even if your project doesn’t adopt any grandiose green targets, you can still encourage basic green principles during your day-to-day work, both personally and professionally.
For example, reduce power consumption by turning electronics, appliances, and machinery off when you can.
Use a reusable flask and fill it up with water, instead of constantly buying bottled water, and reuse as many bags as possible.
Switch to shade-grown coffee with the “Fair Trade” label and encourage colleagues to bring it from home.
Adhere to basic recycling principles (don’t just throw everything into waste).
Encourage others to go green whenever you can.
Encourage Green Commuting
If you’re working on a business-related project with multiple team members, encourage others to ditch their polluting cars for public transport, or if possible, encourage them to cycle.
If a project does not physically require someone to be in the office, then don’t force them to come to the office.
Remote work is becoming increasingly popular because it reduces overheads, can boost productivity, and widens the talent pool—but, it also reduces your carbon footprint.
A fully-remote workforce with no office is obviously much greener than a fully-staffed office where everyone drives in each morning.
Tout and Define Your Success
When a green project is complete it is important to recognize the accomplishment and use it as an example for future projects.
It’s all too easy to fall back into old habits.
While there is almost an endless list of ways you can be greener and different concepts will apply to different types of project, the above tips will get your new project on the right track.
Are you a project manager or have otherwise launched a green project? Let us know what you did in the comments below!