Sustainable Solutions to Environmental and Management Problems

The Sustainability Project Model: Become Sustainable Through Project Based Learning

Purpose

A well organized and well run sustainability project can improve companies in a way that breeds more positive change so a seemingly small project can, in time, become a force for much larger change.    Sustainability projects have the potential to transform a company by uniting people in a common cause, by not only showing the way, but involving people in improving environmental, social and economic conditions.

The goal of this model is to provide a framework to:

  • Identify and prioritize sustainability projects based on need, critical success factors, and resources.
  • Obtain high level public/private sector sponsorship
  • Identify resources (public and private), stakeholders, company stakeholders, and project management/leadership staff.
  • Provide teaching and learning opportunities.
  • Initiate and manage projects.
  • Document projects.
  • Communicate projects in a way to stimulate additional projects.
  • Provide resource library of ideas for other projects. Stimulate smaller company project cells.

Elements of the Sustainability Model

Project-Based Learning

  • Leadership-Vision
  • Network
  • Resource
  • Community
  • Teaching/Learning

Stimulate New Project Ideas

Discussion

Sustainability projects and associated needs are many, ranging from ‘micro’ to ‘mega’ in size, scope, and complexity.  To develop a program designed to sustain and to seed other projects for a sustainable future, selecting the appropriate projects is crucial. They need to be  doable and diverse and fill real,  documented needs. They need to be projects with solid prospects for sponsors, as well as a solid prospect for success. These should be projects that can  strengthen existing community or create one where none exists, and they need to offer learning opportunities.  We are using the term “community” as the heart of a company , its employees, from senior management to entry level employees.

The idea being this model can not only stimulate projects, it will stimulate development of community, community involvement, compassion and understanding, provide opportunity to teach and learn, and will communicate in a way to break down barriers between public and private sectors. And will motivate smaller community cells to take up the model at a local or micro level.

  • Create a local company Sustainability Network, with a center of excellence for sustainable change by building the framework for healthy growth.  For example, create “cell” groups that execute sustainability projects on a small scale. This is a great way to execute small, successful projects that prompt more and more projects.
  • Identify sponsors, leaders, and resources who are invited to participate by a high-level public figure.
  • Create a Sustainable Company think tank center to house the Network and Model and provide teaching and learning opportunities for stars of the future and other work sites looking for guidance.  This would include teaching/learning programs, a technical resource library, web resources, documentation center, research, and more.
  • Identify high- level public political figure(s) to garner more attention and sponsors (mayor, state senator, governor, etc.)
  • Use professional expertise to provide Network leadership and project management. Qualified project managers would be sought for training as interns and developed for new projects.
  • For non-profits, obtain funding from public and private institutions and grants.
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