Net Zero: A project management perspective



By Raju Rao

Chennai, India


“Net Zero” has become a buzz word today. It importance and initiatives related to it cannot be underestimated. Organizations, businesses and governments are all into it and every effort is being made to thwart the potential problems due to climate change, now and in the future.

What is Net Zero? and how does it impact the project management profession? This is broadly the subject of this paper. In particular the following topics will be discussed and deliberated.

  • Understanding Net Zero – the basics & current status
  • Agreements & commitments by organizations, governments and UN
  • Reasons, benefits and challenges
  • Net Zero projects – Domains / Industries – Examples
  • Opportunities for project professionals

For project managers, the concept and policies related to Net Zero are of special interest. Sustainability as a broad ethos is well understood and all principles enunciated towards its use e.g., circular economy, use of resources, climate change etc. can be viewed as higher level objectives. These need to be broken down to methods which are implementable. Net Zero is one way to meet this and project managers can contribute considerably here.

For project and product managers this topic will interface with other related areas like Sustainability, New project and product development and Stakeholder management.

This paper can be used as a first course (or as a refresher for those who are already informed) to implement Net Zero projects in their organizations and the community.

Understanding ‘Net Zero’

As per the World Economic Forum Net Zero applies to a situation where global greenhouse gas emissions from human activity are in balance with emissions reductions. At net zero, carbon dioxide emissions are still generated, but an equal amount of carbon dioxide is removed from the atmosphere as is released into it, resulting in zero increase in net emissions.

Exhibit 1: What is Net Zero?

Greenhouse gases or GHG can be classified as natural and man-made with the latter being contributed largely due to the onset of industrial revolution and subsequent years of economic activity.


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How to cite this paper: Rao, R. (2023). Net Zero: A project management perspective; PM World Journal, Vol. XII, Issue XII, December. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2023/12/pmwj136-Dec2023-Rao-net-zero-a-project-management-perspective.pdf

About the Author

Raju N Rao

Chennai, India


Raju Rao is an author, speaker and social entrepreneur.

He is the Founder of Xtraplus Learning & Consulting and has been a trainer, consultant and coach for nearly two decades. He often writes for professional journals and is the co-author of two books on project management. He has been a speaker in many global conferences and seminars.

Raju has been involved in the development of many standards in project management. He has worked as a volunteer with PMI and similar organizations for many of their initiatives and projects. He is the Founder of the not-for-profit Forum for Food Recovery, an organization involved in advocacy and education in food waste and recovery management. He is an Ambassador for GPM Global which is dedicated to advancing regenerative solutions and practices for sustainable project management. He is a member of International Society of Sustainability Professionals.

Raju is a Distinguished Toastmaster and has been an active member of Toastmasters International. He also dabbles in writing fiction and is interested in cooking, running and listening to music.