Measuring the sustainability of a project is an important task for any project manager. Sustainability refers to the ability of a project to continue delivering value to its stakeholders over the long term. In other words, it's not just about completing the project on time and on budget, but also ensuring that the project continues to have a positive impact on the organisation and its stakeholders even after it's finished. This article will explain how to measure the sustainability of a project

Approaches to Measuring Sustainability of a Project

There are several ways to measure the sustainability of a project, including both quantitative and qualitative methods. Some common metrics for measuring sustainability include:

In addition to these metrics, it's also important to consider the project's alignment with the organisation's overall sustainability goals. For example, if the organisation has committed to reducing its carbon footprint, then a project that contributes to that goal would be considered more sustainable than one that doesn't.

Methods to Measure Project Sustainability

To measure the sustainability of a project, it's important to collect data on these metrics throughout the project's lifecycle. This can be done through regular monitoring and reporting, as well as by conducting surveys or interviews with stakeholders. By tracking these metrics over time, project managers can identify any areas where the project is not meeting its sustainability goals, and take steps to improve its performance.

There are many different ways to measure the sustainability of a project, and the best approach will depend on the specific goals and objectives of the project.

Here are some key steps to follow when measuring the sustainability of a project:

  1. Identify the key sustainability goals and objectives of the project. These may include reducing carbon emissions, conserving natural resources, promoting social equity, or improving the local economy.
  2. Determine the key indicators that will be used to measure the sustainability of the project. These may include metrics such as greenhouse gas emissions, water usage, waste generation, or social and economic impacts.
  3. Collect data on the key indicators. This may involve gathering data from a variety of sources, including government agencies, industry organisations, and local communities.
  4. Analyse the data to determine the sustainability of the project. This may involve comparing the project's performance to industry benchmarks or to the performance of similar projects.
  5. Develop a plan to improve the sustainability of the project. This may involve implementing new technologies or practices, collaborating with stakeholders, or setting sustainability targets.

Project Sustainability Tools & Frameworks

There are also several tools and frameworks available to help organisations measure the sustainability of their projects. Some of the most commonly used include:

  1. The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Sustainability Disclosure Database: This database provides a comprehensive set of sustainability performance indicators that can be used to measure the sustainability of a project.
  2. The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System: This system is used to certify green buildings and assess the sustainability of a project based on a range of factors including energy efficiency, water conservation, and indoor environmental quality.
  3. The Carbon Trust Standard for Carbon, Water, and Waste: This standard provides a framework for organisations to measure and reduce their carbon emissions, water usage, and waste generation.
  4. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): This framework, developed by the United Nations, consists of 17 global goals and 169 targets that aim to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure peace and prosperity.

Measuring the sustainability of a project is an ongoing process that requires ongoing monitoring and evaluation. It is important to regularly review the performance of the project and make adjustments as needed to ensure that it remains sustainable. 

Identifying key sustainability goals and objectives, collecting and analysing data, and developing a plan to improve sustainability, organisations can ensure that their projects have a positive impact on the environment and the community.

 In conclusion, measuring the sustainability of a project is essential for ensuring its long-term success. By using a combination of quantitative and qualitative metrics, project managers can track the project's performance and take action to improve its sustainability. This not only helps the project to continue delivering value to its stakeholders, but also helps the organization to achieve its overall sustainability goals.

If you’re implementing a project, you may have been asked to provide an environmental impact assessment report. This may seem daunting at first, especially if you’ve never heard of one of these before. Threat not, once you understand the basics, an environmental impact assessment should be straightforward to put together.

This article will explain where an environmental impact assessment report is typically used. Where they come, why they exist, and how you can create your own.

What is an Environmental Impact Assessment?

An environmental impact assessment is a report that looks to evaluate the consequences of a project, programme or policy, prior to its implementation. The environmental impact assessment (EIA) usually applies to projects, whereas a strategic environmental assessment is typically used for policies and programmes.

The EIA essentially looks to account for environmental factors in the same way that financial costs and benefits are typically accounted for in project evaluation. They are used to proactively forecast environmental impact, ensuring accountability in the environmental impact of projects.

Benefits of Environmental Impact Assessment

The environmental impact assessment is an important part of the evaluation stage of a project, as it will help inform stakeholders and decision makers on whether to go ahead with the project. Since the benefits (or negative impact) is captured, it can influence the cost-benefit analysis of a project or program. It can also serve to gain vital support for a project or programme, by informing stakeholders concerned with environmental impact.

To summarise, the environmental impact assessment may seem like extra work. It is in fact a useful exercise, and when done correctly, can really benefit your project.

Stages of Environmental Impact Assessment

To make it as simple as possible for project managers to create their environmental impact assessment report, a 6 step process can be followed. When followed, this process assures that your EIA report has considered all necessary factors.  

  1. Screening

The first step, screening, is where you are essentially assessing whether an EIA is needed. You will be considering things such as: the extent to which the project is likely to impact the environment, the level of certainty over what those impacts could be, and the severity of those impacts if they are to occur.

The screening stage is where the foundations are laid for the planning of the EA. If the EIA is being mandated by a particular body or authority, then their requirements should also be considered at this stage.

  1. Scoping

The next step involves taking what was learned in the screening process, and making this into an actionable plan. Here we will highlight areas of focus, and scheduling activities around these. Concerns about the impact on: air, water, soil and noise may have monitoring activities implemented and projections forecasted.

During this stage, we will also be dedicating adequate resources to each focus area, again, using the data that we identified during the screening phase.

At this stage, it is also helpful to bring in various stakeholders to input on the scope of the EIA. This is also a chance to address any concerns they may have, by making them aware of the mitigations that are taking place against those risks.

Since no project has unlimited resources , it is useful to consider alternatives also at this stage. Though the scope of the EIA needs to adequately address the concerns of the screening phase, where more practical options are available, they may be chosen.

  1. Impact Prediction

Once we’ve put together a plan and scope for the environmental impact assessment, it is time to implement that plan. Here, we will be using existing data, along with gathering new data, to create a forecast of what the impacts could be.

Since it is never going to be 100% accurate, it can also be useful at this stage to indicate level of confidence, or even create different scenarios, with a best case, medium case, and worst case scenario.

  1. Publication and Reporting

The next phase involves publicising the results of the previous step. Consider the stakeholders who were engaged during step 2, and what their priorities or concerns would be regarding. It is good to tailor the messaging to them, to ensure that their concerns are addressed, and that they then become supporters of the project.

There may also be regulatory reporting required at this stage. This is dependent on the governing bodies/authorities around the project. Since this is going to be different for each industry and country, we suggest checking with your local authorities on what this may be. An example for the UK can be found here.

  1. Decision making

Once the results of the EIA have been collected and reported to the necessary stakeholders, decisions will now be made regarding whether to take the project forward. It’s important to consider different stakeholder’s viewpoints, which we’ve talked about before in another article.

You may also wish to account for expected environmental impacts in the cost-benefit ratio, if this is a tool that you’re using to evaluate whether to go ahead with the project.

  1. Continual monitoring and review

The final stage is to implement a process of continued monitoring and review. As mentioned prior, the impact forecasts are never 100% accurate. It’s therefore important to keep monitoring environmental impacts, taking intervention measures where necessary, and communicating this to stakeholders.

Conclusion

We hope this has helped guide you on the process of writing an environmental impact assessment report. If you’d like additional help in making and continually tracking data forecasts in relation to projects, please do get in touch via our contact form.

It goes without saying that projects should deliver benefits. For organisations, understanding what these benefits are, their quantities and how they relate to projects is key to harvesting the most value from projects, something we use a benefits realisation strategy for. When pursuing a benefits realisation strategy, you will find that one of the most important steps to get right is mapping your benefits. To do this, we complete a benefits mapping process.

A benefits mapping process will illustrate and communicate to the organisation what the key benefits that they’re looking to achieve are. Benefits can be discussed and refined to best reflect strategic goals. It will then demonstrate how the outcomes of projects eventually lead to said benefits, so that procedures and actions are in place to enable those benefits to be realised.

Importance of Benefits Mapping

A comprehensive benefits mapping process is the foundation of an effective benefits realisation strategy. It can even positively impact the likelihood of successful project delivery.

One key purpose of the benefits mapping process is to adequately communicate the benefits of a project to stakeholders. Achieving this can lead to additional buy-in and support from stakeholders, as they’re made aware of the why behind projects. This helps them realise how projects can benefit the organisation and their day-to-day role, encouraging them to do all they can to assist in the successful delivery of projects.

Another important aspect of benefits mapping is during the project selection stage. Many benefits measurement techniques rely on quantified benefits to be assessed against the costs or risks associated with a project, so that a ‘score’ can be derived. This score will then be used to assess the project against others, leading to decisions being made on which to pursue. The benefits mapping process allows these benefits to be quickly visualised and forecasted, so that projects can be fairly assessed using this methodology.

Lastly, an effective benefits map can prove a very useful tool when it comes to planning project delivery, or drawing up the benefits realisation plan. The benefits realisation map will explain each step in the journey from project activities to realised benefits; tasks, actions and procedures may need to be put in place before project activities can result in desired benefits. 

By visualising this prior to a project, these tasks and actions can be scheduled to ensure benefits are achieved in a timely manner. Likewise, procedures can be put in place minimising any delays in benefits being realised.

Benefits Dependency Network

We’ve touched upon the fact that a benefits map will show the journey between project activities and realised benefits, but how do we go about representing this visually? The answer is a benefits dependency network.

Benefits Dependency Network, part of the benefits mapping process

An example of a benefits dependency network from a Harvard Business Review article can be seen above.

A benefits dependency network will show each step between the project activities and benefits ultimately realised, highlighting any:

It should aim to ‘tell a story’, showing the logic behind why projects are doing what they’re doing. It will also show the ‘critical path to success’, informing project planning.

The benefits mapping process, and creation of the dependency network, should not be done in isolation. Try and engage stakeholders, and reach a consensus on what and how activities, enablers and objectives relate to benefits. This also serves to help communicate the benefits dependency network to different stakeholders, as they’ve been engaged from the outset.

Furthermore, by engaging stakeholders from the outset, an idea of roles and responsibilities can be delegated early on. This will save time later on, as this is a key part of creating the benefits realisation plan.

Benefits Mapping Template

To help get you started on your benefits mapping process, it may be worth considering using a benefits mapping template.

A benefits mapping template can give you an idea of where to start. It provides the categories, such as: objectives, benefits, stakeholders, outcomes, projects and enablers.

We would recommend using a prebuilt template in a software such as Miro or Lucidchart to create a digital version of the map. The benefits map doesn’t have to follow a strict structure, so feel free to make changes or additions to best reflect your organisation or project needs.

After the first draft has been created, it can be shared with different stakeholders, and iterated until perfect. Once a final version has been agreed upon, it’s useful to share around the organisation, so that everyone is fully informed of the benefits map.

Benefits Realisation Software

The benefits mapping process is just one part of an ongoing benefits realisation strategy. A comprehensive benefits realisation strategy encompasses a mix of: project monitoring, stakeholder engagement, data collation, data calculation and reporting. 

Intuitix was built to make this journey simple, providing automated and accurate data on benefits realisation. This makes the whole process of project selection, benefits mapping, reporting and decision making simpler and easier.

To find out more about how Intuitix can help on your benefits realisation journey, get in touch via our contact us page.

Book a 30 min Discovery Call

Intuitix reduces risks, saves time and uncovers insights – communicating project impact & realised benefits to relevant stakeholders. Start the process and book a meeting with us today!

Company Information

Alacrity House, Kingsway, Newport NP20 1HG

Contact Information

Email: info@intuitix.co
Copyright @ 2023 Intuitix
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram