Bio-Diversity’s freefall can be mitigated through sustainable project management.

This week, more than 11,000 researchers from around the world issued a report that spoke of the “untold suffering” that will be caused by climate change if humanity doesn’t change its ways.

(Before anyone poo-poos this, think to yourself, how often do scientists like to agree? #funfact: The don’t.)

Bio-Diversity as a whole is already in freefall. Over the last 50 years, 20% of the Amazon rainforest has been destroyed. Agriculture is driving vast land conversion and pesticide use to feed a growing population. The US/China Trade war was the root cause of the massive fires in the amazon this year to clear the way for soybean farming. Not to mention the fact that it feels like California being on fire feels like the new normal.

At the same time, industry changes to support sustainable energy and environmental practices are being challenged by ultra-nationalistic support for coal and fracking (even though there are better options) and is combating the positive changes and thus, our fragile ecosystem.

To answer the question of “What can I do about it?”, you first have to understand your role and the power you have and do everything you can affect positive change. Project Management has the power to influence Executive decisions and having the right data behind you is the key.

As you read this, you may be saying to yourself “yeah, I know.” everyone talks about the sky falling and no one brings solutions.  Here you go!

For projects and project management, we at GPM have done the heavy lifting for you and the guidance and tools are free.




In our P5 Standard for Sustainability in Project Management, we added an element inversion 2.0 for bio-diversity.

Specifically, for Bio-Diversity: 

The element in the P5 covers the policies, procedures, and practices needed to protect living organisms from all damage by the project’s activities or results. Living organisms include flora and fauna in both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, as well as the ecosystems themselves.

The project team should:

  • Identify and comply with any relevant laws and regulations.
  • Work to achieve a net positive impact (NPI) on biodiversity by ensuring that any negative consequences from the project will be outweighed by biodiversity gains from conservation projects in the same region.
  • Hold suppliers and their supply chains to the same standards.

This work should be done as part of a P5 Impact Assessment (P5IA) which is outlined in the standard with links to templates that can be used. Once the assessment is completed, KPIs can be developed and put in as quality measures for the project.

Protection of biological diversity helps to achieve the following sustainable project outcomes:

  • Healthy ecosystems that protect food, fiber, medicines, and other potential resources.
  • Future access to land and other natural resources.
  • Improved reputation among regulators and within local communities that are dependent on biodiversity in the areas that the project affects.
  • The continued availability of ecosystem services such as atmospheric regulation, nutrient cycling, and pollination.

This is how project management can mitigate the bio-diversity freefall.  We have to stop the bleeding, push back, and regenerate our eco-systems!

Dr. Joel Carboni

Dr. Joel Carboni is a highly respected expert in sustainable project management. He is a graduate of Ball State University and holds a Ph.D. in Sustainable Development and Environment. He has over 25 years of experience in project management, including government, finance, consulting, manufacturing, and education. He is a frequent speaker at conferences and events related to project management and sustainability and has worked in more than 50 countries. In addition to serving as President Emeritus of the International Project Management Association (IPMA) in the United States and being a member of the Global advisory board, Dr. Carboni is also the founder of GPM (Green Project Management) and a visiting professor at Skema Business School. He is also the GPM representative to the United Nations Global Compact, where he was a founding signatory of the Business for Peace Initiative and the Anti-Corruption call to action and a contributor to the development of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (SDGs). Dr. Carboni is the creator of the PRiSM™ project delivery methodology and the P5 Standard for Sustainability in Project Management and has written training programs on Green and Sustainable Project Management that are offered in more than 145 countries through professional training providers, business associations, and universities. He is the lead author of the book "Sustainable Project Management."

One thought to “Bio-Diversity’s freefall can be mitigated through sustainable project management.”

  1. It’s great to see your post on bio diversity collapse and how to align project management best practices. Wouldn’t it be nice that large projects included good planet citizen practices at the beginning of each engagement? Thanks for continuing to push for change Joel.

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