Achieving ESG Targets: A Project Manager’s 5-Step Guide



By Jonathan Spiteri


In today’s landscape, organisations are facing pressure to look beyond their financial numbers and focus on making a positive impact on the world. Despite this, according to a 2022 study by KPMG titled “The ESG Journey to Assurance”, which surveyed 246 financial reporting executives from diverse industries, including both public and private organisations,

“83 percent of the respondents believe that focusing on ESG will make their business better; but just 30 percent feel like they have even the beginnings of a clear strategy to report out and deliver on their ESG commitments.”

This, coupled with the challenge for organisations to integrate their sustainability initiatives into their “business as usual”, makes the role of the Project Manager pivotal in this transition.

How can Project Managers support their organisations in achieving their ESG targets?

Establish Clear ESG Objectives

Supporting organisations in broadening their focus beyond profitability requires assisting teams in integrating ESG objectives into the project scope. In doing so, Project Managers need to appreciate that ESG objectives are not one-size-fits-all but should be tailored depending on the nature of the project. For example, a construction project may prioritise environmental considerations such as waste reduction while a technology initiative might underscore the importance of fostering inclusion and diversity in the workforce.

Integrate ESG into Planning

Ensuring ESG integration from project inception is paramount for Project Managers to:

    • Instill the practice of considering ESG factors in all projects.
    • Minimise the likelihood of Scope Creep by identifying key ESG considerations from the start of the project. An effective approach is for project managers to conduct pre-project kick-off ESG impact assessments. This early assessment will help teams to identify ESG considerations, such as incorporating energy integrations like the inclusion of solar panels in a construction project, thereby preventing the need for last minute adjustments. This foresight is crucial, as significant alterations during execution could lead to project delays and increased costs.
    • Craft a project timeline that defines ESG milestones during the course of the project.
    • Ensure that ESG risks are not treated as separate entities but rather embedded within the broader risk management framework.

Finally, Project Managers should extend their focus beyond individual projects and collaborate with senior management to integrate ESG priorities and targets into processes and practices at the portfolio and program levels.


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How to cite this article: Spiteri, J. (2023).  Achieving ESG Targets: A Project Manager’s 5-Step Guide, PM World Journal, Vol. XII, Issue XII, December.  Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2023/12/pmwj136-Dec2023-Spiteri-Achieving-ESG-Targets-3.pdf

About the Author

Jonathan Spiteri



Jonathan Spiteri brings a wealth of experience in innovation, strategy, agile methodologies, and project portfolio management. Throughout his career, he has had the privilege of working with diverse teams and organisations, helping them navigate the ever-evolving landscape of business and technology. He also earned multiple prestigious certifications, such as Axelos Portfolio Director, SAFe® 6 Practice Consultant, Organisation Transformation, Project Management Professional (PMP), TOGAF 9.2, and Six Sigma Black Belt. These qualifications reflect his dedication to achieving excellence and proficiency across various domains.

Email: contact@jonspiteri.com

Website: https://jonspiteri.com