Project Management is critical to Sustainability


APM’s Sustainability Conference Oct 2023



By Dr. Hugo Minney

United Kingdom


Project managers are crucial to the delivery of sustainability in all its forms – environmental, social and community; and good governance for the future of the organisation and the changes brought about by its projects.

For change work, including projects, programmes, portfolios and other work, the change can be done in a sustainable way, or lead to a sustainable result – a change in people’s behaviours or processes that is more favourable to the environment, the community and/or the future. Or both.

Since this sustainability is a consequence of change, it is appropriate that APM’s Benefits & Value and APM’s Governance SIGs (Specific Interest Groups) alongside PMI UK’s Sustainability Community of Action, jointly, organised a conference in London UK on sustainability.

Speakers and content

Organized around three major themes, the event highlighted the contributions of both the audience and speakers, with a bias towards the UK. Many of the largest projects in UK have been driven by, and funded by, government. However, there are thousands of smaller projects being delivered by for-profit organisations, which are tailored (often by the project manager) to be run in a sustainable way and to deliver sustainable outcomes.

The three themes focused down through the day from: the broad context of sustainability for leaders; through examples from major construction projects with their own legacy and sustainability teams; to measurement, since what gets measured, gets done (this is not just a motto, it really matters).

Theme 1: Sustainability Issues for Leaders, introduced by Jon Loveday (Infrastructure and Projects Authority); with discussions led by Roger Garrini and Katherine Ingham (governance), Hugo Minney (benefits and value applications) and Ian Cribbes (leadership and culture).

Theme 2: Legacy from major construction projects, introduced by Jo Dobson (for the Olympics 2012 legacy team); with discussions led by Samantha Freelove (Tideway rewilding), Emily Robinson (Sport London and encouraging sport for people with disabilities), and Alex Budzier (the challenge of the Carbon footprint and cost of building new vs the cost of heating/ cooling/ fuelling old).

Theme 3: Measuring the improvements in environmental, social and governance as a result of change projects, introduced by Jonathan Williams (Environment Agency UN SDGs team); with discussions led by Jonathan (EA and the UN SDGs applied to UK), Esther Gordon Smith (how to apply sustainability metrics to road building) and Lauren Tuckerman (what the research shows).

Speakers formed a panel at the end to answer questions and tease out discussion.


To read entire report, click here

How to cite this work: Minney, H. (2023). Project Management is critical to sustainability – APM’s Sustainability Conference Oct 2023, report, PM World Journal, Vol. XII, Issue XII, December. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2023/12/pmwj136-Dec2023-Minney-apm-Oct-2023-sustainability-conference-report.pdf

About the Author

Dr Hugo Minney

London, UK


 Dr. Hugo Minney is a Fellow of APM (Association for Project Management), a Member of PMI and PMI UK, Co-Chair of APM’s Benefits and Value SIG and committee member of PMI UK’s Sustainability Community of Action (none of which are paid). Minney was chair and MC of the conference described above and opened the conference, introduced speakers, closed the conference, and is authorised to describe the content.

Minney set out to become a farmer, working on farms throughout his youth and teens and studying agriculture at Oxford. In the end he was defeated by the capital requirements and the sheer bureaucracy, but by that point he’d led a team in ICI’s Milkchase competition to finish in the top quarter with a radical low-input low-output solution (the computer programme was biased for high input because the inputs would come from ICI!). Minney has worked in project management, and in particular benefits management, motivating team members by reporting what they are achieving together and changing the community and culture to want to achieve – together. At present he’s more involved on the governance side, accredited as a Social Value practitioner and Chartered Project Professional, and reviewing the balance of projects and contribution to objectives and benefits across portfolios.

Dr. Minney can be contacted at hugo.minney@thesocialreturnco.org



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