Companies managing an environmental project portfolio are faced with tough challenges such as controlling costs while improving process efficiencies and striving for more sustainable outcomes. The word "sustainability" means more than just protecting the natural environment, companies must also evaluate the social and economic impact of their projects and how this affects the company’s financial performance. Incorporating sustainability into project management can reduce costs and minimizes the risks of environmental impacts and stakeholder concerns. Some emerging risks include new or developing regulatory requirements related to energy use and greenhouse gas emissions and community concerns related to water and chemicals.

To more effectively manage a company’s environmental project portfolio, a framework was established to incorporate sustainable concepts into the management process. This enables the development of more sustainable long term solutions which protect the environment, achieve stakeholder acceptance and reduce project costs.

This paper provides a practical overview of the critical elements of a sustainable management program for environmental projects. The types of environmental projects to be discussed include remediation activities, energy improvement projects, water and wastewater systems, and others. Three specific aspects of sustainability are highlighted:

  1. Environment

  2. Society

  3. Economics

The environment aspect will illustrate how "greener" remediation projects can be implemented to not only protect human health and the environment but also reduce the environmental footprint of the project. These types of projects can also enhance community assets and satisfy stakeholder desires. The economic aspect will demonstrate ways of bringing in cost efficiencies such as standardizing equipment and systems, and using local sourcing of products and services. These concepts can be applied to any type of environmental project ranging from environmental remediation and restoration to installing energy efficient equipment.

Several projects will be discussed to illustrate this approach, its advantages, and the results achieved. By incorporating sustainability concepts into the project management process, companies can deliver a holistic approach which provides significant environmental, social and financial benefits to the business.

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