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Embracing Regeneration: A Decade-Long Vision Finally Takes Center Stage

In the wake of the 2024 Davos meeting, it’s clear that the business world is finally catching up with a concept that organizations like ours  and so many others have been advocating for over a decade: regeneration. This shift from mere resilience to proactive, positive environmental impact represents a pivotal moment in corporate responsibility and sustainable business practices.  I am thrilled to write this post and hope that this trend continues!

The Changing Face of Corporate Responsibility

This may come as a surprise to some of my European colleagues but based on the Pew Research Center’s findings, there is a significant perception among Americans regarding the impacts of climate change and the role of businesses and corporations in addressing these effects. A substantial majority of Americans believe that climate change is currently causing harm in the United States, with expectations that the situation will worsen over time. Additionally, there is a broad consensus that large businesses and corporations, as well as the energy industry, are not doing enough to mitigate the effects of climate change. This aligns with the increasing consumer expectation for sustainable practices in business, as reflected in the changing attitudes towards renewable energy and environmental responsibility.

Interestingly, the Pew Research Center survey reveals a generational divide in attitudes towards energy sources and the phasing out of fossil fuels. Younger adults are more open to completely phasing out oil, coal, and natural gas in favor of renewable energy sources compared to older adults. This shift in consumer behavior and expectations is crucial for businesses, like those discussed in the Davos meeting, which are now focusing on regenerative practices and sustainable business models.

These findings also highlight the growing public awareness of climate change and the demand for more significant action from various sectors, particularly large businesses and industries. It underscores the relevance of organizations like ours, which has been advocating for sustainable and regenerative practices in business for over a decade. The alignment of our long-standing message with current public opinion and the focus of discussions at forums like Davos suggest that their advocacy is now more pertinent than ever.

 

From Resilience to Regeneration

The transition from resilience – the capacity to adapt to environmental changes – to regeneration – actively restoring and enhancing ecosystems – marks a significant shift in the sustainable business narrative. We have been a frontrunner in promoting this approach, emphasizing that it’s not enough for businesses to withstand environmental challenges; they must also play an active role in healing and improving the natural world. The Davos meeting underlines this evolution, showcasing a broader acceptance of what GPM has been advocating for years.

Case Studies and Consumer Shifts

Patagonia stands out as a prime example of regeneration in action. I know I cite them a lot but I love this company! Their commitment to using recycled materials and regenerative organic practices in its supply chain resonates deeply with our sustainable project principles. Moreover, the transformation in consumer attitudes towards sustainability – a change that GPM foresaw and prepared for – is driving businesses towards these practices. Consumers are increasingly favoring sustainable products, a trend that aligns with our long-standing message.

Economic Implications and Global Trends

The economic benefits of adopting regenerative practices are significant. As businesses shift towards these models, they not only contribute to environmental healing but also tap into new market opportunities and innovation. This shift is supported by global trends and regulatory changes, such as the EU’s Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive, echoing our advocacy for integrated sustainability in business operations.

The focus on regeneration at the 2024 Davos meeting is a testament to the foresight of organizations like ours as we advocate for regenerative sustainability.  (Regenerate and sustain the future state). Our decade-long advocacy for regeneration over mere sustainability has now found its moment, underscoring the importance of this approach in today’s business landscape. As we witness this shift, it’s crucial to recognize and build upon the groundwork laid by pioneers like Daniel Christian Wahl and Eduard Muller, among so many more who saw the potential of regeneration long before it became a global imperative.

It is time for Project Management to Change

The shift towards a regenerative approach in business is not just a trend but a necessity and the time for discussion has passed; the focus must now be on action. As the world grapples with the urgent need for sustainable solutions, the role of project management becomes more crucial than ever. Project managers are in a unique position to influence and drive change within their organizations. They can turn the principles of sustainability and regeneration into tangible actions and outcomes. Project management must evolve to meet this challenge, moving beyond traditional metrics to embrace sustainability as a core objective.

GPM has been leading this change for 15 years, offering the knowledge, tools, and expertise needed to transform project management practices. It’s time for project managers to step up and play their part in creating a sustainable future by embracing regenerative practices. We can show you how!

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."

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