From the Desk of the President

Global Sourcing Council’s 3 S Awards are taking place later this month and we are very excited about it. The 3 S Awards stands for Sustainable, Socially Responsible Sourcing.

The Rockefeller Foundation and Microsoft, the two main sponsors to this great event, are both undertaking substantial global projects that affect the lives of millions of people in many ways.

The sustainability of these projects is very important.  People often ask me, how you link global sustainability to projects?  Most people believe that projects are have limited or fixed life-cycle. I agree as projects are defined that way, PMI defines projects as “a project is a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service or result” (*PMBOK Ch. 1.) With this definition most people think that projects are not supposed to be inclined to sustainability, instead projects should be focused to their deliverables and duration.  But I am passionate about both areas, i.e. Sustainability and Project Management.

Let’s look at Sustainability and Project Management in the table below**




Terms/Time Line Long Term Oriented Short Term Oriented
Sponsors/ Users Current and Future Generations Stakeholders with Narrow Base
Deliverable Life Cycle Oriented Result oriented
Constraints People, Planet & Profit Scope, Time & Cost
Complexities Increasing and challenging Reducing and manageable
Decision Making Top Down Consensus or bottom up
Decision Making Precautionary Fact Based
Decision Making Systematic, Ecosystems Linear & Mathematical
Financial Justification Triple Bottom Line NPV & IRR

By embedding sustainability into the very culture of an organization, organizations can effectively translate strategy on sustainability into projects and programs that deliver on these goals.

That power becomes even greater with the right project talent that can align the organization’s strategic goals with its sustainability efforts.  “People with the Project Management Professional (PMP)® credential already have an instinct on how to [watch out for] problems, and they are skilled at managing the inflow and outflow of resources.”

“When organisations see the systemic relationship between sustainability and the project goals, they begin to measure every decision against a set of sustainability criteria.”*

The sustainability should be on the agenda of not only Project/Program Managers but on the agenda of every CEO. This is already gaining momentum and as per study* done by Accenture in 2010 that 93 percent of CEO’s responded by saying that “successfully addressing the sustainability issues will be critical to the future success of their businesses”.  Smart organizations have long understood the business benefits of disciplined project management practices: lower costs, greater efficiencies, improved customer and stakeholder satisfaction, and greater competitive advantage. By making sustainability a required and measured part of that process, companies also deliver environmental, social and financial benefits to the business. “Sustainability has become a component of business success, and project management is one of the ways to get there*”.

Based on study of sustainability and its impact on the sustainability can be defined in our contest as below:

  • Sustainability will lead to balancing and harmonizing social, environmental and economic interests of stakeholders.
  • Sustainability will help in both short and long term.
  • Sustainability will help projects both locally and globally.
  • Sustainability will protect the capital resources.
  • Sustainability brings transparency and accountability.
  • Sustainability will bring personal values and ethics.

An example here is The Rockefeller Foundation, one of our main sponsors of 3S Awards.  They help people on different issues such as global health, climate and urbanization, and social and economic security. Projects and programs must have time lines to complete and deliver; however the deliverable or the product of the project has to be sustainable and must have a much longer life cycle then the life cycle of the project.

Another example here is the cosmetics giant Group L’Orèal, which sells its products in more than 130 countries.   Integrating biodiversity at the procurement stage fuels sustainability throughout the life cycle of new product development projects*.

So the message is:  To continue to develop and evolve we need to continue to change and be adoptive and to continue to change, we need to have sustainable projects which will lead us to our objectives and deliver the change.

With above I look forward for engaging our audience’s in more project based approach to sustainability in businesses to bring People, Planet and Profits together. □


* – Project Management Institute White Paper on sustainability

** – Silvius & Shipper, The Integration of Sustainability and Project management


Sanjay Sharma has over twenty years of Global experience in Information Technology, Supply Chain and Project Management. Sanjay has managed backend Sourcing and Procurement operations for large organizations in Europe, Far East & Australia. He led procurement operations for a large industrial goods manufacturing organization. Sanjay has articles published in business magazines and publications on the subjects of procurement, supply chain and project management. Sanjay speaks at Conferences, Seminars and Symposiums. He works as consultant for Project Management and Global Sourcing. In addition he teaches Project Management subjects. His email contact is