Tips for applying green thinking to project management

By Michelle LaBrosse and Erica Edmond 

Being Green is not just Kermit's theme song anymore. It's everyone's. Green tips are top of mind, everywhere we turn.
 
So, when we think of project management, how can we apply some green thinking to our projects?
 
Here are our top five ways to bring some green ingenuity to your every day project management.
 

1. Green Materials Maven. Are you using materials that have been recycled and are you recycling the materials that you're currently using? Regardless of what industry that you work in, just a little research can make a big difference, in your project's carbon footprint.

2. Packing Green. Packing materials for products can produce a lot of waste. Can you use recycled materials for packing like old newspapers? There are also biodegradable packing peanuts and environmentally friendly soft foam. 

3. Green Team. There are hundreds of ways to make your office greener here are just a few to get you started:

  • Use coffee mugs instead of paper or Styrofoam
  • If you are a small or home-based office, you can produce your own energy. Visit www.cheetahpower.com for more information.
  • If you can't produce your own energy, look for a supplier that is producing green energy in your area.
  • Put automatic timers or sensor lights in your bathroom, conference rooms or spaces that are not occupied the majority of the day.
  • Use as much natural light as possible in the design of your office space.
  • Use energy saving light bulbs.
  • Switch off computers, photocopiers and other equipment when not being used.
  • Buy office equipment with the best energy ratings.
  • Use green materials when building out a new office, like bamboo instead of wood flooring
  • Use refillable vs. disposable pens
  • Buy green products for your office – everything from toilet paper to recycled paper for printing
  • Promote a reuse mentality and lead by example
  • Promote the concept of think before you print.
  • Use environmental or natural cleaning products.
  • Support and buy the products of other vendors and suppliers who are eco-friendly.
  • Support virtual office employees or support car-pooling and ride sharing if in a suburban area.
  • If you're in a rural area, can you create a wildlife trust around your company's property?

4. Make a Commitment to Green. When you make green more than a passing fancy, you show your team, and your customers that you mean business.You're not just being trendy; you're making changes that impact the world around you.

5. PR with heart & soul. Let's face it, there's a lot of bad news out there. Your customers do want to hear about the good things that you're doing. So, if you have a green initiative or a project with a green heart and soul, talk about it. Get the buzz going. Green PR is only bad, when it's insincere. 

So, when it comes to greening up the planet, who better to lead the charge than Project Managers? Who knows better than you about tackling something large with small milestones that make a big difference! So, Kermit, it can be easy being Green. Just bring a project manager on board to get it done.
 
About the Authors
Michelle LaBrosse, MSME, PMP, founder Cheetah Learning and Cheetah Power, is an engineer and an entrepreneur with expertise in both aerospace and mechanical engineering. She has been creating courses using accelerated learning principles for the past 15 years. She is the founder of Cheetah Learning, a firm of over 100 people worldwide that specializes in combining accelerated learning and project management to help people achieve their goals faster than they ever before imagined.
 
Erica Edmond, CAPM, Cheetah Green Team, is a marketing intern for Cheetah Learning and Cheetah Power. She researches and writes the Cheetah Power newsletter and is also a research assistant for a communication professor at the University of Portland. She is a senior at the University of Portland, majoring in organizational communication.
 

 

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