Author: Stuart Thorp
This is my 5th monthly newsletter article about Climate Action.
Looking back over the previous articles, they were written in the context of the current climate related matters which I have "ruthlessly" summarised below:
- Climate change is with us - record breaking summer heat
- However, we can all contribute as individuals and professionals to taking Climate Action
- Taking Climate Action can lead to positive short-term benefits
- Opportunity to participate in Walk2COP27
- Introduction to the forthcoming PMI BE Chapter event on Climate action
- Summary of PMFAIR 2022 (from perspective of Climate Action opportunities)
- We need COP27 to succeed
- Belgium, as a low-lying country, is at risk from long term Climate impact
- Reminder to join the PMI BE Chapter event on Climate Action (24 Nov 2022)
- Walk2COP27 was a success but COP27 was a disorganised disaster
- Summary of PMI BE Chapter event on Climate Action
- Education: read Greta Thunberg's "The Climate Book"
I wrote these articles during the peak of my activity in a major automotive client program (to deliver a replacement auto-finance system - a programme running over more that 5 years), so I had limited opportunity to consider how to structure the articles for maximum impact.
Despite some positive comments and feedback from PMI colleagues, I must confess to feeling somewhat disappointed about the lack of tangible progress on Climate Action.
I reached out for frank feedback and was pointed towards the Kotter 8 step model for Change Management (nicely summarized here in a short and quite topical video of penguins considering how to respond to the challenge of their melting iceberg.)
Personally, I see Climate Change as crisis, requiring urgent attention, but to have maximum impact, I recognise the need to take others along on the journey and I'd like to start to do that through this article.
As I mentioned in the 24 Nov Chapter event on Climate Action, since the start of Jan 2023, I have now "retired" from corporate consulting and will be focusing my professional activity on Climate Action.
My personal objective is to maximise my personal impact on reducing global CO2 emissions.
I am now 63 and I will measure the success of this objective on my 70th birthday - just before the start of 2030.
There are 3 key areas of Climate Action that I will initially be focusing on:
- Progressively engaging with PMI's global membership to encourage Climate Action (I intend to do this on the back of my experiences in personal Climate Action and Program Management)
- Supporting global initiatives to encourage individual Climate Action ("Count Us In" as a specific example) such that this can lead to major positive benefits to the Climate.
- Working out how to leverage the knowledge, tools & techniques of the finance industry to support Climate Action (this is based on my 5+ years of management of an auto-finance implementation).
If any of these topics are interesting to you, please reach out and I'd be happy to share thoughts and welcome any contributions (however small) to moving these topics forwards.
I am also happy to "bounce around ideas" on how Climate Action could be considered in your projects. For example, a close contact recently approached me on how to countermeasure the emissions from a fleet of project vehicles driving ~1 million km per month; I am in the process of helping to explore options.
The first step in the Kotter model is "Create a Sense of Urgency."
I'd like to think that the case for urgent Climate Action is already clear, however 2 current examples underline the challenge.
- A recent study was published in Science magazine which has been concisely summarised by the Guardian: The oil giant Exxon privately “predicted global warming correctly and skilfully” only to then spend decades publicly rubbishing such science in order to protect its core business, new research has found.
- If there remain any climate chance deniers - even the fossil fuel companies are (reluctantly) conceding the reality.
- This raises the challenge of whether and how Exxon will explain and take accountability for their actions?
- COP28 will be held Nov - Dec 2023 in Dubai, UAE, the conference President will be the chief of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC).
- This will be a key test of whether the fossil fuel industry is genuinely prepared to transform towards a sustainable future.
- My personal view is that there is a risk that the outcome may be influenced by fossil fuel company interests. As we cannot afford to waste another year's progress on Climate Action, I believe we need to progress as if COP28 will not succeed and consider any success as a bonus.
Gathering your feedback and participation:
Once this article is published, I will post a link PMI Belgium Chapter Group on LinkedIn.
Via that link, I will be seeking your specific feedback on how we can maximise the positive impact of PMI Belgium on the urgent need for Climate Action.
One specific request is to please consider your own project management activities from the perspective of valuable lessons learned that could be shared in future PMI BE Newsletter articles. For example:
- what sustainability benefits have your projects delivered?
- how did you minimise your project's carbon footprint?
- how did you consider risks to the environment?
- your projects' contribution to the process of transition to renewable energies?
- have you applied sustainability criteria in the selection of suppliers for your projects?
I'd like to conclude this article by wishing you a great 2023. May it bring:
- happiness and good health to you and your families
- success to your projects and in your career progression
- global progress towards a more sustainable future for us all.