The Bartlett School of Sustainable Construction


Project management must play key role in addressing climate change - new report by Prof Peter Morris

2 November 2017

A report by Professor Peter Morris, for the Association for Project Management, argues that the project management profession has a key role to play in disrupting the effects of climate change.

Professor Peter Morris

In his report - Climate change and what the project management profession should be doing about it - a UK perspective - Prof Morris examines the responsibility that the project management profession - the major discipline for managing change - has for addressing climate change at an international level.

The report has been published by the Association for Project Management (APM). APM is the chartered body for the project profession, providing leadership and support to communities of project professionals who are engaged in delivering projects for the public benefit, and supporting its members in meeting contemporary societal challenges such as climate change.

In an extract from his blog post on the report for APM, Prof Morris outlines the potential for project management practices to transform the UN approach to meet climate change targets:

[I]t's not as though nothing is being done. In fact, project, program and portfolio management is already working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the primary source of temperature rise, in all kinds of ways. Buildings are being modified; new products are being introduced; fresh policies and regulations are being applied. Behaviours are key. Unfortunately however, the behaviour changes required to achieve the UN targets are so major that one must doubt whether the goals are realistically attainable.
...In fact, in the built environment as a whole, the roles of the sponsor and other stakeholders are central, whether for big projects or for portfolio-type decisions, as, for example, in addressing flooding. Thus, managing the institutional contexts within which projects and programs have to operate often requires a new type and level of skill. In effect, the book advocates a model of project management that involves a more probing, creative, front-end oriented approach – an approach fit for tomorrow’s challenges as well as today’s.

Read the full post on the APM website.

Professor Peter Morris is Emeritus Professor of Construction and Project Management at the School. He was head of the School from 2002 to 2012. His research is in the areas of project strategy, competencies, organisational learning and climate change. He has consistently emphasised the importance of managing the front-end of projects and managing projects as organisational entities, using the term ‘the management of projects’ to reflect this broader focus.