At a recent presentation to a group of project managers in Australia I spoke about sustainable projects and sustainable project management. During the presentation I put forward the argument that if project management is to be considered a profession, then we collectively need to operate to a higher set of ethical standards.
So what is the standard we should work to and do we need to be sustainable to meet the professional body’s Code of Ethics?
The IPMA Code of Ethics
The International Project Management Association (IPMA) Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct sets out the fundamental principles that guides all professional conduct and practice in project, programme and portfolio management. The Code applies to IPMA volunteers, those who have achieved an IPMA certification as well as Member Associations or companies that voluntarily adopt the Code.
The IPMA Code contains many references to specific sustainability elements, including, the need for project managers to:
- remain conscious of the possible consequences of their work and are to minimise any negative impact on project stakeholders.
- not participate in projects, programmes or project portfolios that subject people to unsustainable overwork or harmful working conditions.
- Explicitly ensure there is no use of child labour, forced or bonded labour, or demand illegal overtime
- Not participate in activities that undermine or harm local communities, societies and economies.
- Minimize any possible damaging effects to the environment, which may come about as a consequence of our projects, programmes and project portfolios.
- Promote and raise of awareness of environmental responsibility among our teams, within our organisations and in society.
- Think long-term with regard to the environment and strive for sustainable development
- reduce waste and emissions to air, ground and water and encouraging the recycling of materials and used products; and,
- use resources efficiently in our projects and programmes and avoid waste.
What does PMI have to say?
The Project Management Institute’s (PMI) Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct by comparison “…describes the expectations that we have of ourselves and our fellow practitioners in the global project management community.” The PMI Code applies to PMI Members as well as non-members who hold or apply for PMI certifications or who serve PMI in a volunteer capacity.
The PMI Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct contains both aspiration standards, that all project, programme and portfolio management practitioners should aspire to, as well as the mandatory standards with which all practitioners must comply.
In a sustainability context, the PMI Code requires project managers to:
- make decisions and take actions based on the best interests of society, public safety, and the environment
- show a high regard for ourselves, others, and the resources entrusted to us, including people, money, reputation, the safety of others, and natural or environmental resources
So what does this mean for project managers?
Based on both the IPMA and PMI Code’s of Ethics and Professional Conduct, project, program and portfolio managers have an ethical responsibility and moral obligation to be sustainable and ensure that projects, programmes and portfolios do not impact the planet, society or prosperity.
Are you truly complying with the Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct or you are putting your membership and project management certification at risk?
Want more information?
Don’t know much about sustainability or what you need to do to make your projects more sustainable?
Not sure what you need to do to comply with the Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct?
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