In 2021 ARES PRISM Software conducted a survey to gain insight into how project professionals and organizations are accounting for sustainability in project management to create this year’s Industry Executive Report. We surveyed over 400 worldwide professionals about what role organizations should play in project sustainability. Sustainability is a prevailing topic for business leaders, company boards, and stakeholders therefore we wanted to better understand how this would impact project organizations specifically.
The results discovered in the Industry Report provide a valuable, data-rich analysis that details global trends in project sustainability and methods organizations are using to measure and report on sustainability efforts.
Here are the top five key takeaways:
1. Sustainability matters across all industries
We asked a variety of professionals across the major industries how important project sustainability is to them. Most respondents in each region answered that sustainability is considered important to some degree in their organizations with 78% selecting “very important” or extremely important”. Healthcare and pharmaceutical industries ranked the highest in sustainability importance, followed by the rail, transportation, and infrastructure sectors.
2. Most organizations have evident sustainability measures in place
81% of respondents said their organization has sustainability measures evident in project policies and procedures with 42% answering “Yes”, and 40% responding with “Somewhat”. Within those results, respondents from Asia and Africa have the highest percentage across all regions. Projects need to consider the local and global contexts they operate within both in the long-term and short-term.
3. Majority of companies release sustainability reports
When asked how their company measures and assesses sustainability metrics, sustainability reports ranked number one with 39% of respondents saying their organization releases them at least once a year. 19% utilize spreadsheets to measure sustainability metrics followed by 13% of respondents who have adopted a corporate tracking software. This leaves 46% of respondents who are either not currently tracking or unsure if tracking these metrics but emerging regulations could require their company to report climate-related risks in the near future.
4. Over half of project management professionals state their organization partakes in at least one sustainability initiative at the Corporate Level
It is evident that organizations are starting to partake in sustainability initiatives at a corporate level with over half of project management professionals responding that they are participating in at least one. When looking at the results by region, collectively over 80% of respondents participate in waste reduction. Respondents in the healthcare and pharmaceutical industry (62%) were the most likely to say their organization participates in reduced greenhouse gas emissions followed by oil, gas, and chemicals (56%). Other sustainability initiatives at the corporate level include transitioning to renewable energy sources and increasing environmental justice awareness.
5. Cost and priority of profit/growth are among the biggest obstacles for project organizations in achieving their sustainability goals
The biggest obstacle for project organizations in achieving sustainability goals is cost (52%) and priority of profit/growth (50%).
Lack of traceability and metrics follows with 41% of respondents. In addition, 30% of professionals think that stakeholder support interferes with sustainability goals while 23% believe corporate policy gets in the way. Trends on sustainability point towards a shift and 94% of those surveyed believe their organizations will take sustainability efforts into account in the future.
The future of sustainable project management
Whether it’s due to government mandates or simply an effort to manage carbon emissions for future generations, the need to limit and monitor environmental impacts has become a critical objective. Net Zero agreements and discussions of climate change spark innovation among enterprises to become more eco-friendly. Building and infrastructure projects account for 38% of total global emissions meaning project management can play a role in decarbonization efforts.
At ARES PRISM Software we aim to help organizations track cost and carbon so that companies can better measure their carbon footprint. Project organizations are beginning to see the importance in understanding the evolving sustainability trends of project management in construction.
For a sustainable future, we need sustainable project management.
Read the full report here.