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How to Manage Project Environment from Initiation to Close
Managing a project is difficult. You have a deadline to meet and budgets to keep. And within that narrow lane, you have to deliver a quality product or service.
And that’s just the project! What about all those things that can impact the project? There are forces outside your control that can sidetrack your work. There are even issues that can arise from your team or stakeholders.
All of these things make up the project environment. Just as you live in an environment that impacts your life, so does your project. You need to be aware of the project environment and prepare for its influence on your project throughout the project management life cycle.
What Is a Project Environment?
A project environment is all the internal and external forces that exert on your project management. These are things from inside and outside the project that can impact your schedule, budget, team morale and much more.
The project manager must understand the project environment and proactively plan to manage the factors that might influence the project. It’s sort of like managing risk in that way.
Think of the project environment as the context the project exists in. There’s an old expression that says, “Context is everything.” Any project manager who thinks they don’t need more data is a project manager who is going to get a tough lesson.
Why Is Project Environment Important?
When managing a project, it’s second nature to define its objectives, scope, budget and schedule—but often you neglect the project management environment. Do this at your own peril. There are f actors at play that you must identify and manage to make sure you deliver the project successfully.
For example, where is the project happening, and does that space have potential risks? There could be an earthquake, a hurricane or even something as simple as poor infrastructure that makes it difficult to get your resources to the job site.
Another factor is the social environment. What does the local community think of the project? Will they be upset and potentially stand in the way of your progress? It could also be less dramatic, such as the demographic of the area which might influence the project management plan in some way.
The project environment is of utmost importance. Collecting this information is where project management software can help. ProjectManager is an online tool that allows you to upload unlimited documents and images to the tool. Organize them on our list view and they’re always at your fingertips, whether you’re onsite, in the office or even at home. Try ProjectManager today for free!
Key Elements of the Project Environment
Two of the main elements of a project environment are internal and external factors:
Organizational Structure and Organizational Culture
The organizational structure impacts how you manage the project. These are the various systems that outline how processes are done to achieve the goals of the organization, and in turn, the workings of the project. In addition, the organizational culture also shapes how you execute the project.
The other key factor is the physical environment. This includes the local ecology to the physical geography—weather, site access constraints, utilities, local service availability and availability of human and material resources. These are external factors, as they are outside of the control of your organization.
The political environment the project takes place can impact how the project team interacts with stakeholders. There can be illegal activities at play, such as corruption, differences in local and national policies, changes in political power or influence and more.
There are also cultural and religious issues to consider. These might cause your project plan to change because of personnel accommodations in work facilities, holidays, acceptable working hours and security considerations.
Other Internal Project Environment Factors
Other internal factors include the tools, skills and experience of your team. What’s their availability? Do they need training? Do you have the tools you need? This can impact the speed and efficiency of the project, as well as the scope and standards.
Outside forces also include market conditions, which are always changing. Depending on the economic environment, you might not have the ability to finance the project. There could be a lack of human and material resources.
Don’t forget the project stakeholders. Understanding them might be one of the most important aspects of managing a project environment. Know their experience, the culture they come from, the structure in which they work, their appetite for risk, priorities, etc.
Project Environment and the Project Management Life Cycle
One of the best ways to manage the project environment is by following the project phases. A project has five phases: initiation, planning, execution, monitoring and control and close. During each of these project management phases, you need to take into account the project environment.
- Project initiation: This phase is where you determine if the project is viable. Considerations for your project environment include identifying the needs of your customers, performing a feasibility study and aligning the project planning with organizational goals.
- Project planning: Project planning involves you creating a budget, a schedule and analyzing risk (which is a major component of any project environment). This is you decide what will be done by the internal project team, and what will be contracted out.
- Project execution: When you execute the project, the project environment includes the resources and equipment necessary to do the tasks. The team will keep an eye out for any risks, and identify issues as they arise. Any testing and verification of performance will occur, too.
- Monitoring and controlling: These two activities take place at the same time as the project execution. At this point, the project environment expands to include processes and tools that track progress and performance. Any variance from the project management plan will be reported and adjustments will be made to keep the project on track.
- Project closure: Closure occurs once the final deliverable has been completed. Now the loose ends need to get tied up. The project environment at this point includes managing the review and acceptance process, settling all open accounts and closing contracts. This is followed by a review of the project, documenting all lessons learned and closing all project records.
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Project Environment Example
Let’s take a moment to think of the project environment for a highway extension.
- First, the project is being executed outside. You need to think about the physical environment and determine what season is best to execute the project—preferably when the ground isn’t soaked from rain or frozen solid in winter.
- Then, there is the political environment to consider. Is the state or county on board with the project, and do they have sufficient funds to execute it? Are there any policies or regulations that might impact the project? Is there political goodwill to complete it?
- What is the environmental impact of the project, and does it have support from the community? If you don’t have the locals behind the project, there can be an impasse. There may also be security concerns for the site—or maybe the highway is proposed to go through land that is protected in some capacity.
- An internal project environment could include the complexity of the design, and the available human resources to execute that plan. This can impact the speed and efficiency of your work. An external environment to consider is if market conditions support the project. This can change the project scope.
The project environment touches every aspect of the project. The most obvious and important issues are often the hardest to see. That’s why managing the project environment must never be taken for granted.
How ProjectManager Helps You Manage Project Environment
ProjectManager can monitor and manage the project environment through all five phases of your project. It can collect project documents and serve as a central hub for all project records, connecting teams on its collaborative platform to help them plan, track and report on the project environment in order to stay the course.
Plan From Start to Finish on Gantt Charts
Project plans have to take into account the project environment. ProjectManager’s Gantt charts are robust enough to organize all the activities on your project, link dependencies that can delay your progress and even set a baseline once you’ve created the project schedule. With a baseline, you can quickly see the project variance and in real time as our software is updated instantly when the project status is filed.
Get Real-Time Status with Live Dashboards
Getting a high-level view of the project allows you to see the full project environment and capture issues fast so they can be resolved quickly before negatively impacting the project. ProjectManager’s live dashboard doesn’t have to be configured like on lightweight tools but is ready to go when you are. It collects data in real time and automatically calculates project metrics that are then displayed in easy-to-read graphs and charts.
One-Click Reports Provide Data Quickly
If you need a closer look at the data, use ProjectManager’s one-click reports. Generate reports on project variance, tasks, costs and much more. All our reports can be filtered to allow you to zero in on only the information you want to see. You can filter reports to show what stakeholders want to be updated on, too, and then easily share with them.
From planning to closure, our software has all the features you need to manage your project environment and mitigate any risks involved with it. Get notifications, resource management tools and kanban boards that visualize your team’s workflow so you can catch bottlenecks and reallocate resources fast to keep teams working at capacity. Plus, you get multiple project views so everyone on the team can work how they want and stay up-to-date.
ProjectManager is award-winning software that organizes your work and keeps you productive. Its real-time data helps you monitor the project environment and make better decisions to keep your project on track. Try ProjectManager free today.
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Chapter 3. Project Initiation
3.2 Project Environment
When the business case and the project charter, and later, the project management plan and its subcomponents are prepared, the project environment surrounding the project should be examined thoroughly to delineate the factors that may have a negative or positive impact on the project activities and its outcomes. In PMBOK Guide 6th Edition, this environment is composed of enterprise environmental factors (EEFs) and organizational process assets (OPAs). PMBOK Guide 7th edition refers to them as the project environment. The project environment is composed of two components – internal and external, which are described in detail in the following sections.
3.2.1 Internal Environment
The internal environment in which a project is developed consists of the factors that are internal to the organization, but outside the project itself. These factors include elements such as organizational culture, structure, and governance as well as security and safety measures. Other tangible elements include geographic location as well as distribution of facilities and resources, infrastructure, IT software and hardware, resource availability, and employee capability. The internal environment also includes organizational process assets, which are processes, policies, and procedures as well as organizational knowledge bases (e.g., financial data, historical information, lessons learned, project files from previous projects)  .
Consider the project charter example above. While we are creating the business case as well as preparing the project charter and project management plans, it would be wise to incorporate all the factors that may affect the mobile app and website optimization project. We should enumerate the main properties of our grocery store chain, some of which are provided below:
- Strategic objectives, mission, and vision
- Organizational values and beliefs
- Cultural norms that influence the relationships among coworkers
- Code of conduct
- The number of employees
- Geographic locations and the size of the stores
- Variety of the products and services sold
- Financial situation
We should also take into account the organizational structure of the headquarters and all the branches. This also helps us identify internal and external stakeholders who are affected by our project and who may affect our project. Additionally, this helps us identify the dependencies among the departmental units, and also identify internal resources that might need to be utilized to complete the project. Reporting structure inside the organization could influence our project’s decision-making and change request processes. When our project needs to utilize hardware and software tools to facilitate the activities, we can obtain them in an expedited way directly from the assets of our organization, which also saves the budget. When we need resources such as human resources, materials, and equipment, since we have already delineated the organizational structure with tasks and responsibilities of each unit, we can benefit from the agreements which have already been made with approved providers and subcontractors. Another advantage of listing all the capabilities of our organizations would be when we establish the project team. If our organization employs business or systems analysts, developers, user interface designers, or testers, we can ask their managers or executive-level managers above these managers to provide these qualified employees with specialized knowledge for our project. This may also reduce the external risks that we may face if we hire them from outside our organization. We will elaborate on the organizational structure in the “Organizational Structure” section below.
3.2.2 External Environment
A project’s external environment consists of the factors that exist outside of the organization. It includes market conditions, social and cultural influences and issues, legal restrictions, commercial databases, academic research, government or industry standards, financial considerations, and physical environmental elements  .
Figure 3.2 illustrates types of general macro environments and forces that are interrelated and affect organizations: sociocultural, technological, economic, government and political, natural disasters, and human-induced problems that affect industries and organizations. Macro environment refers to the outermost layer of elements in a firm’s external environment that can impact a business but are generally beyond the firm’s direct control, such as the economy and political activity. This environment can also affect projects conducted by organizations. For example, economic environmental forces generally include such elements in the economy as exchange rates and wages, employment statistics, and related factors such as inflation, recessions, and other shocks—negative and positive. Additional factors include hiring and unemployment, employee benefits, factors affecting organizational operating costs, revenues, and profits, all of which are affected by global, national, regional, and local economies. Politics and governmental policies, international wars, natural disasters, technological inventions, and sociocultural forces could directly affect our organization and the projects or may interact with other forces such as economic forces.
Besides the macro environment as explained above and illustrated in Figure 3.2, the micro environment is another external environment element that refers to the middle layer of elements in a firm’s external environment, primarily concerned with a firm’s industry situation. Harvard strategy professor Michael Porter developed an analysis tool to evaluate a firm’s micro environment. Porter’s Five Forces is a tool used to examine different micro-environmental groups in order to understand the impact each group has on a firm in an industry (Figure 3.3). In this textbook, we will not explain each factor (See the reference link  ). However, these five factors, industry rivalry, the threat of new entrants, threat of substitutes, supplier power, and buyer power, could have a substantial influence on a project. Therefore, we should take these external factors into account while assessing the factors that may affect our project from outside the organization.
It is important to keep these external factors in mind when preparing for and managing a project since many if not most of these external factors and any changes in these factors may have negative or positive impacts on projects. They could lead to risks that may put the project activities and deliverables, and the overall project in jeopardy.
- Project Management Institute. (2017). A guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK guide) (6th ed.). Project Management Institute. ↵
- Project Management Institute. (2021). A guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK guide) (7th ed.). Project Management Institute. ↵
- Principles of Management. (2019). Retrieved from https://openstax.org/books/principles-management/pages/8-4-a-firms-micro-environment-porters-five-forces?query=micro%20environment&target=%7B%22type%22%3A%22search%22%2C%22index%22%3A0%7D#fs-idm537041840 ↵
Project Management by Abdullah Oguz is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.
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What is the project environment?
How stress-free would it feel if your project didn’t have competition? Or if you didn’t need to worry about funding, PR, or politics?
Even if you took away these external factors, you’d still have to think about employee well-being or budgeting. The worries around managing a project in a complex environment are many.
Yet, all of these factors can also help your project management. Politics can control competition, and PR can boost your success with customers.
A project cannot exist in a vacuum. Therefore, the best way to overcome your worries is to understand these factors better.
The project environment includes all factors that, directly or indirectly, externally or internally, influence your project.
In this article, we will take a look at these factors, as well as the methods — like SWOT analysis — that will help us discern and take advantage of the factors.
Table of Contents
What are the types of project environments?
Many specifics might affect your project. We call these project environment factors.
Now, since there are plenty of these factors, we need to classify them in some way so that you can more easily analyze them.
Usually, we distinguish between 2 project environment types, which work as groups of factors with unifying characteristics:
- External project environment
- Internal project environment
Type #1: External environment
The external project environment is made up of all the factors that are not under the direct control of your organization. Even though these factors exist outside your project, they can have a great influence on it.
The external environment can further be divided into:
Subtype #1: Microenvironment
The microenvironment includes all the external factors that have a direct influence on the project. It involves the following factors:
- Physical distribution agencies,
- Marketing agencies,
- Financial institutions,
- Competitors, and
- The public eye.
Microenvironment factor #1: Consumers
If your project focuses on selling a product or a service, it is in a market connection with consumers.
Your task, as a project manager, is to track the relationship between your organization and consumers in your chosen market.
Microenvironment factor #2: Suppliers
Suppliers are an important factor because they provide the necessary resources for your project.
You must stay on good terms with your suppliers and find new ways to boost those relationships. Building a great working relationship with your suppliers leads to:
- Information on the market’s supply,
- Finding new ways of obtaining valuable resources, and
- Even reducing supply costs.
Microenvironment factor #3: Physical distribution agencies
Physical distribution agencies offer the service of storing and transporting goods. They can transport your goods by railroad, freight, etc.
For example, if your shipment is late, it can affect your deadlines, so choosing a trusted distribution agency is essential.
Microenvironment factor #4: Marketing agencies
Marketing agencies can help increase awareness of your project through the following services:
- Market research,
- Content marketing,
- PPC, etc.
Since many organizations rely on outsourced marketing services, it’s important that you hold your marketing agency of choice under strict standards and criteria.
Microenvironment factor #5: Financial institutions
Through their financial services, banks and insurance companies directly influence your project’s business transactions. Therefore, it’s crucial to foster great collaboration and cooperation with these institutions.
Microenvironment factor #6: Competitors
Competitors should be identified even before you begin with your project. You should closely monitor and study your competitors in order to gain a better position in the market by finding ways to outperform them.
Microenvironment factor #7: The public
The public includes all market subjects that cannot be sorted into the previously mentioned groups, but still have an interest in your project. This interest can be positive, but also negative and even hostile.
We can separate the public into the following groups:
- The financial public — has an essential influence in obtaining financial support.
- Media — social media, internet blogs, TV and radio stations, magazines, etc.
- State — communication with the state government, agencies, the local government, etc.
- People — a unique focus group of organizations and associations. For example, organizations for consumer protection or anti-smoking organizations. Depending on your project, these can greatly influence your organization.
Subtype #2: Macroenvironment
The macroenvironment includes all external factors that do not have a direct influence on your project. However, they influence the market as a whole and therefore have an indirect impact on your project management.
The macroenvironment factors are:
- Nature, and
Macroenvironment factor #1: Demographic
The demographic information usually focuses on your target demographic group. It deals with information such as:
- Population count,
- Population growth,
- Average age,
- Average income, etc.
For example, if you’re building a product, it’s important to know your target audience and their needs. If you’re making a collaborative note-taking app, you might want to target students and young professionals.
On the opposite end, if you’re making a high-end luxury product, you will want to target a more high-income demographic.
Macroenvironment factor #2: Market
Before you decide to realize your idea for a product or service, you first need to research the market and the viability of your product or service considering the current market conditions.
Through market research, you gain insight into:
- Inflation rates,
- Income changes,
- Purchasing power,
- Purchasing habits, etc.
For example, if inflation rates increase, the purchasing power of a populace decreases.
Alternatively, you might need to pay attention to whether the purchasing habits of a population fit into the niche that your project is attempting to produce.
Macroenvironment factor #3: Technology
Overall improvements to a market’s technology can greatly impact and improve the way your project is executed.
With new technology comes:
- Increased efficiency,
- New discoveries,
- Products, and
Let’s look at an example that explains why technology is an important macroenvironment factor.
Uber didn’t invent either the phone or the internet. Yet, without that technology, they wouldn’t have been able to compete with your average taxi service.
Macroenvironment factor #4: Politics
The political environment consists of:
- Regulations, and
- Policies your project must follow.
Laws and regulations may seem limiting at first, but they can actually work in your favor, preventing things like monopolies from forming in the market.
They can also be restricting — a tax increase can take away financial resources from your project.
Overall, it’s important to keep track of any changes in this department, as they might affect your project.
Macroenvironment factor #5: Nature
When you think of nature as a factor, the first thing that comes to mind is natural resources. And, if your project doesn’t have any use for them, you might wish to skip this factor in your analysis.
Be careful though — another important part of this factor is the change in energy costs, which affects practically everyone.
Macroenvironment factor #6: Culture
While the demographic factor deals with more easily quantifiable information, culture deals with something more abstract.
When analyzing culture, pay attention to:
- People’s values and beliefs,
- Community experiences,
- Religious structure, etc.
All of these can greatly affect how the target populace will react to your project.
Type #2: Internal environment
Internal environment refers to all the factors that come from within your project. Therefore, they are in your more immediate control.
Internal factor #1: Organizational culture
This is arguably one of the most important factors in your project management. It can affect things like:
- Employee morale,
- Quality standards,
- Product quality,
- Project team efficiency, etc.
We can describe it as the cumulation of your vision, mission, objectives, and company value system, as well as the “Code of Conduct”, i.e. the way your company culture is enacted in practice.
A toxic company culture can have a negative impact on your project team morale and engagement, hurting the entire project in the long run.
Internal factor #2: Organizational structure
Organizational structure represents the way activities are directed within an organization as well as the hierarchical outline within which your organization operates. It can influence things like:
- Risk aversion ,
- How tasks are delegated and executed, as well as
- Interpersonal employee relationships.
It’s important to have a clearly defined structure. If not, an employee reporting progress to the wrong person can cause delays.
Alternatively, confusion in task delegation can lead to multiple employees working on the same task.
Internal factor #3: Human resources
Your employees are a vital part of your internal environment. They are a large part of what propels your project from idea to reality.
To make the most of their project, project managers should track their team members’ skills, performance, and attitude toward work.
Even things that are not directly project-related — such as, for example, a colleague who tends to start conflicts — can worsen the organizational culture and negatively influence the project outcome.
Internal factor #4: Financial resources
This factor affects your project budget and the way your budget is distributed within your project.
The available financial resources will affect your project planning, as you need to make sure your ideas are realistic within the budget constraints .
Internal factor #5: Tangible assets
Tangible assets are physical resources that your organization owns. This can be anything from office desks and computers to the office building itself.
Having a detailed knowledge of your physical assets will allow you to use them for your project most effectively.
For example, if you have a limited amount of necessary machinery, you must take that into account while planning out your project.
Internal factor #6: Project management software
We mentioned earlier that advances in technology could improve the way projects are executed. One of the biggest improvements brought to us this way is project management software.
With free project management apps like Plaky , tracking your project progress and overall task management has never been easier.
Much like spreadsheets replaced pin-up boards, PM software is quickly replacing spreadsheets. The right project management software can improve your efficiency, help your team stay on track, and allow you to have all the information you need in one place.
What is a project environment analysis?
Project environment analysis is a way of translating all the information you’ve gathered about your project environment factors and turning it into a strategy that will take your project’s results to greater heights.
It’s not guaranteed that all of the mentioned project management factors will influence your work. However, through careful analysis, you can discern the ones that are most likely to affect your project.
Project environment analysis methods
The task of a project environment analysis is to determine a project’s potential and enable its adaptation in an ever-changing environment.
There are plenty of methods to conduct a project environment analysis that have been tried and tested over time. Here, we’ve listed 5 of the most popular ones:
- SWOT analysis,
- PEST analysis,
- Porter’s value chain,
- Porter’s five forces, and
- Stakeholder analysis.
We’ll briefly go over each of them.
Method #1: SWOT analysis
This method focuses on analyzing both the internal and external environment of your project. The SWOT analysis is used to get an idea of where your project stands in its environment and what strategies you should implement in the future based on these insights.
SWOT is an acronym that stands for the most important internal and external factors that influence your project, i.e. your project’s:
- S trengths,
- W eaknesses,
- O pportunities, and
Identifying your project’s strengths & weaknesses
Project strengths and weaknesses belong to the internal project environment factors.
To determine the strengths and weaknesses of your project there are 2 questions to ask yourself:
- What are the properties of your project that make it stand out from the competition?
- What are the unfavorable circumstances and limitations within the project?
For example, producing almond milk has the strength of being able to use the leftover dried parts for sweet cake production.
Alternatively, a weakness could be a lack of funding for that project.
Identifying your project’s opportunities & threats
Conversely, opportunities and threats are external project environment factors. To determine what exactly they are, we may ask the following questions:
- What are the opportunities and positive effects that the external project environment offers us?
- What are the outside dangers and threats to our project?
For example, things like the launching of a new technology can be seen as an opportunity, and competitors creating a monopoly on the market would be seen as a threat.
Method #2: PEST analysis
The PEST analysis is a project environment analysis focused on the essential external environment factors.
The acronym itself stands for these 4 factors, which we explored in more depth earlier in the article:
- P olitics,
- E conomy,
- S ociety, and
- T echnology.
Garnering a better understanding of your external environment will help you position yourself in the market correctly.
As another benefit, improving relationships with these factors will always benefit you in the long run, opening new avenues and opportunities.
Method #3: Porter’s value chain
In contrast to PEST, you can use Porter’s value chain for internal environment analysis.
It’s an analysis of the possible activities and processes within your project, with the intention of increasing overall efficiency.
Porter’s value chain separates all activities in a project into two categories:
- Primary and
- Support activities.
Primary activities in the Porter’s value chain
Primary activities are those that directly relate to creating, selling, maintaining, and supporting your project’s product or service.
- Inbound logistics,
- Outbound logistics,
- Marketing and sales, and
Secondary activities in the Porter’s value chain
The function of the secondary activities is to support the primary activities.
Secondary activities are:
- Procurement and purchasing,
- Human resource management,
- Technology development, and
- Company infrastructure.
Having a better understanding of the intricacies of your project’s activities gives way to more creative improvement tactics.
Seeing how activities interact with each other and how to better delegate cooperation between them can yield fantastic results.
Method #4: Porter’s five forces
When thinking of moving your project into a new environment, you can use Porter’s five forces analysis to calculate the competitive environment.
Let’s take a look at the 5 forces that determine this and the main questions you should ask when analyzing them:
- The threat of new entry — How easy is it for new projects to enter this market?
- Buyer’s bargaining power — How easy is it for buyers to switch to competitors?
- Supplier’s bargaining power — How difficult is it for you to switch suppliers?
- The threat of substitution — How easy is it to find a replacement for what you offer?
- Competitive rivalry — How many competitors do you have, and how strong are they?
Answering these questions brings an avalanche of conclusions that will tell you if a competitive environment is worth entering or not.
For example, if it is difficult for you to switch suppliers, supplier power is high. Because of this, suppliers can easily and unpredictably change their prices or the quality of their products or services. This is not an environment worth entering.
On the other hand, if you offer a product or service that is difficult to replace, you will have a low threat of substitution. This means it is difficult for buyers to divert from what you offer and makes this an attractive environment to enter.
Method #5: Stakeholder analysis
Stakeholders are any individuals, groups, or organizations that have an interest in the realization of your project, and can exert influence over it. As the name suggests, they “hold the stakes” to your project and its success.
We can separate project stakeholders into 2 main categories, based on where they stand in our project environment factors — they can be internal and external.
Internal stakeholders are:
- Project managers, and
- The project team .
External stakeholders are:
- Business partners,
- The government, etc.
Stakeholder analysis is done in five steps:
- Identify and classify stakeholders.
- Analyze and infer specific stakeholders’ interests.
- Analyze and infer specific stakeholders’ possible influence.
- Define priority stakeholders with the greatest influence.
- Find a way of gaining support from the priority stakeholders.
Prioritizing support from stakeholders with the greatest influence on your project is the most efficient way of gaining better results.
Conclusion: Being aware of your project environment improves your chances of success
As mentioned, you can’t escape your project environment, so it’s always best to understand it. Whether you use one of the mentioned methods or try to improvise your own, the underlying concepts stay the same.
If you want to become more aware of your project environment and understand how it affects your project, we encourage you to try some of the methods we listed.
Go through the project environment analysis methods, and see how different ones bring different advantages. You could analyze an existing project you are familiar with.
Just like with everything else, in project management, practice makes perfect.
✉️ Has this post helped you understand the project environment? Have you analyzed a project environment before? Let us know at [email protected] , and we may include your answers in this or future posts. If you liked this blog post and found it useful, share it with someone you think would also benefit from it.
Luka Bogavac is a project management author and researcher who focuses on making project management topics both approachable and informative. With experience in entrepreneurial projects, education, and writing, he aims to make articles that his younger self would appreciate. In his free time, he enjoys being outdoors hiking, or staying indoors with a good film or video game.
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What is Project Environment in Project Management?
The influence of infrastructure and facility building on the physical environment is becoming more recognized and concerned. Fortunately, today's technical disciplines in charge of such work are becoming more aware of the need to mitigate the negative effects of their undertakings. The Project Manager, too, must be concerned with the project's technology and manage it properly. This is true for both the project's execution and short-term practical construction implications, as well as its conceptual development and long-term consequences.
Today's Project Manager, on the other hand, must be aware of the project's cultural, organizational, and social contexts. So, what is the project environment? Identifying project stakeholders and their potential to influence the project's success is part of comprehending what is project environment. This entails collaborating with others to produce the most outstanding outcomes, particularly in highly technical and complicated contexts like those seen in current building projects. Therefore, it is crucial that the Project Manager and the project team feel at ease in their cultural, organizational, and social environments, as well as sympathetic to them.
Consequently, there is an opportunity to positively influence the project environment, resulting in a better reception of the change that the project is intended to bring about. Some of the stakeholders, for example, will undoubtedly demonstrate their customary opposition to change. Others might have personal or organizational goals that are only tangentially tied to the project. If the challenges are accordingly identified at the early stages, be dealt with proactively, reducing the risks that might otherwise jeopardize the project's success. If you don't adopt this method, your project will almost certainly fail.
Influencing the Cultural Environment of the Project
The Project Manager of a successful project will grasp the importance of influencing the project's cultural environment for the project stakeholders' advantage. Every project team member, and indeed every member of the workforce, must be made to believe that every other project stakeholder is equally as essential as they are. It entails instilling a global attitude of "We care!" and a dedication to service, even if it is painful at times. It also entails understanding what is project environment in which every decision and action is made with the goal of improving the stakeholder experience above what it would have been if the project had not been done.
Rather than obsessing about computer printouts and weekly progress reports, it necessitates a focus on the quality of the stakeholder's experience at every level of the project. This connection replicates the Project Manager/team relationship, so it's obvious where to start. Because solid Project Management methods may be attained in the short and long term via solid team interaction, the Project Manager may develop productive connections with team members by attending to what they require in order to fulfill their different contributions. These qualities of cooperation and support as a team are eventually passed on to the project's stakeholders. This uplifting atmosphere is seldom overlooked.
When creating Project Management strategies at the start of the project, the project's executive should realize the critical role that human resources development, particularly Project Management training, may play in strengthening the project's cultural environment. Such training is an effective tool for increasing project expertise and commitment, boosting team performance, and ultimately improving project quality.
Internal Project Management Strategies That Work
There could be a multitude of causes for a project's fiasco, some of which are technical and others which are management. Even technological failures, however, are often linked back to a failure on the part of the project's senior management to identify and address these inherent managerial risks. On the other hand, it is likely that the majority of ostensibly successful enterprises do not represent their full potential.
A number of criteria have been associated with successful projects based on project experience. While these requirements do not ensure future project success, their absence may likely result in sub-optimal results, if not outright failure. The Project's Executive plays a critical part in the project's success and should insist on the following:
- Executive Support: Through active sponsorship and control, the executive must clearly show support for the Project Management philosophy.
- External Authority: In interacting with all partners, the Project Manager must be viewed as the authoritative representative and the sole point of official contact.
- Internal Authority: To guarantee that his/her criteria are met, the Project Manager must have the required management authority inside the company.
- Commitment Authority: The power and duty to govern the commitment of resources, including cash, within specified boundaries shall be given to the Project Manager. The outcomes of these judgments must be transparent and accountable.
- All Key Decisions Should Involve the Project Manager: No significant technical, cost, scheduling, or performance-related decisions should be arrived at without the notice, knowledge, and advice of the Project Manager.
- Project Team: The Project Manager should have a voice in the composition of the project team, as this will aid in obtaining personal dedication, support, and the appropriate level of service.
- Management Information Systems: Information and control systems for Project Management must be in place.
- Competence is required of the Project Manager and the team members. The project's other functional workers must likewise be competent.
External Project Environments
External occurrences on specific projects catch the Project Manager and their team off guard and are therefore seen as roadblocks to development. However, as previously said, projects are often only possible due to the external environment. Thus, the project team must know that they also are sensitive to it.
What is the external project environment?
It comprises the project's established and cutting-edge state-of-the-art technologies, consumers and rivals, geographical, climatic, social, economic, and political surroundings, and almost anything else that might influence its success. These issues may have an impact on the Project Manager's primary tasks of planning, organizing, staffing, and directing.
This external project environment is made up of a complex web of interconnected interactions that are continually reacting to the project as it takes shape. In contrast, most projects, especially infrastructure projects, are designed to have an influence on the project environment in some manner. As a result, these interdependencies must be considered in order for the project to be successful in the end.
Even more importantly, the elements mentioned above have a tendency to change throughout the course of a project's life cycle, particularly if the project is phased in and completed over many years. As a consequence of the project environment, there is a significant level of uncertainty or risk around it. In fact, the more reliance there is, the more uncertainty there is, and the greater the task for the Project Manager and the team.
Obviously, the setting for each project will be different. In actuality, it is likely to be decided primarily by three factors: the project's product or service, the technology and the method in which it is used, and the project's geographical location.
The project team must learn to interact frequently with the individuals and institutions that make up the most essential elements of the project's external environment in order to identify potential difficulties arising from the project's stakeholders, assess their likelihood of occurrence, and try to head them off in advance. Together with the project's sponsors, owners, and users, these individuals make up the project's direct and indirect stakeholders.
Creating a Healthy Stakeholder Environment
Adopting a good stakeholder environment is similar to influencing the project's cultural environment, which was defined above as a matter of developing the proper mindset. Perhaps the simplest way to express this mindset is to flip the typical organizational chart hierarchy.
To put it another way, the project stakeholders are at the top of the chart, then the front-line project team members, and finally the Project Manager. Perhaps the project team will be better seen as a true service organization, motivated to complete the given project with absolute perfection, both in terms of perception and reality.
Learn how to understand the role of various stakeholders and how to use this information in order to enhance the way in which the information is received as well as the way in which it is perceived. Identify the true nature of each stakeholder group's business and their consequent interest in the project. Understand how motivated they are and how they behave. Assess how they may react to various approaches. Learn about Project Management's role in reacting to the project's stakeholders' motivations. Identify the main areas that will have the most influence on the project's success.
Always keep in mind that even a tiny stakeholder group might find the project's "fatal defect," which could put the project to a halt!
Identifying Project Participants
A stakeholder analysis is one method for efficiently dealing with the external project environment. The goal of such an analysis would be to first identify all prospective stakeholders who may have an effect on the project and then to assess their respective power to influence it.
Groupings of Stakeholders
Project stakeholders may be classified into one of the following categories:
- Those who are directly involved in the project, such as input suppliers, output consumers, and Project Managers;
- Those who have a considerable say over the various matters, including physical, social, economic, and legal situations;
- Those who have a nexus based on a hierarchical setup to the project, such as local, regional, and national government authorities; and
- Those individuals, groups, and associations who have an interest in the project.
Types of Stakeholders
After the different stakeholders have been identified, they may be categorized according to their respective capacity to affect the project. The stakeholders can be categorized into three types based on the nature of their personality: those who can be controlled, those who can be influenced, and those who need to be appreciated.
Each stakeholder may then be ranked by degree of relevance based on their potential to affect the project within each area. Appropriate members of the project team may therefore prioritize their efforts in order to maintain the required stakeholder links, increasing the project's chances of success. The project team's work may be allocated to a particular group within the project team if the project is big enough or the stakeholder connections are strong enough.
Clearly, the Project Manager's role has expanded beyond directing events inside his or her own project organization. As many software products may have suggested, Project Management is no longer only the monitoring of time and expense via planning, scheduling, and resource-leveling. It also includes the Project Manager's many other organizational responsibilities as the project team's leader is insufficient.
All of these factors are critical, but they are insufficient in today's dynamic environment for effective and successful Project Management. The necessity to monitor the project's links to the external environment is as vital - and frequently more so to achieve a good project conclusion. This is particularly true for infrastructure projects that prioritize growth and innovation and must adapt to ever-faster change.
The rationale is straightforward. Every building project serves a certain function in relation to and within its surroundings. As a result, its design and execution must be sensitive to the environment, maximizing the benefits to all stakeholders as much as possible while avoiding negative consequences via conscious mitigation. Clearly, the Project Manager's performance within the broader question of “what is project environment” may make all the difference in the project's success or failure.
Is a passionate learner and blogger on Agile, Scrum and Scaling areas. She has been following and practicing these areas for several years and now converting those experiences into useful articles for your continuous learning.
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The context of a project.
Project environment represents a connection, where the project is processed. It impacts the project and is, therefore, conditioned. Such an interaction is provided by numerous factors as operational, physical, ecological, social, cultural, economic, psychological, financial, organizational etc. The environment not only formulates the project but also estimates it.
The project environment analysis is held at the beginning of the project. This method identifies the lobbies and integrates the projct stakeholders into project group. All impact factors are analyzed in this analysis: project risks and chances, stakeholders and their interests, measures for the control. The stakeholder type is thereby analyzed. It distinguishes between active and passive type. The first group represents project team and project manager , principal and customer . The second group contains authorities, works council, competitors, persons affected by the project indirectly.
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The Importance of Understanding Project Environment and Context
Most projects clearly define their objectives, work scope, budget, and schedule but, all too often, the environment and context in which the project exists is neither fully understood nor clearly defined. This is a major source of risk when it comes to project management and execution.
While having a clearly defined set of objectives, work scope, budget, and schedule is essential to being able to plan, implement, and control a project, if the project management team do not fully understand their project environment and context, the project will, in all likelihood, be doomed to failure. This is because project environment and context drives performance as much as, if not more than, a clearly defined work scope, budget, or schedule.
No two projects are the same, even if their objectives and work scope are. This is because even projects with identical objectives and work scopes will inevitably be executed in different environments. As such, the environmental factors are often the things that determine the success or failure of a project.
When evaluating the environmental and contextual shaping factors that differentiate one project from the next, it is important to consider the following:
- Local weather/climate extremes
- Geo-technical and topographical issues
- Site access constraints
- Utilities and local service availability
- Environmental sensitivities
- Human and material resource availability
- Dealing with bribery and corruption issues
- Managing differences between local and national policies
- Adapting to sudden changes in political power or influence
- Resolving conflicts between differing political factions
- Prioritisation of standards
- Local content requirements
- Adherence to site-specific and local environmental regulations
- Adherence to corporate Codes of Conduct
- Restrictions on human and material resource availability
- Personnel accommodation and work facilities
- Local holidays and acceptable working hours
- Restricted or protected areas
- Security considerations and requirements
- Design complexity
- Human resource availability
- Speed and efficiency in project execution
- Adherence to scope and standards
- Reliability and operability of the end-product
- Safety in project execution and operation
- Ability to finance the project
- Changes to project scope and/or standards
- Risk Attitude
- Interests and Priorities
These are just a few of the environmental and contextual shaping factors that need to be considered when developing a project management or execution plan. The importance of fully understanding project environment and context should never be underestimated, as this can help prevent even the most technically well-defined projects from falling into disarray.
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Project Management, Planning and Control, 6th Edition by Albert Lester
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Project Context (Project Environment)
The project context, or project environment, is explained. The project context consists of internal and external stakeholders and constraints, and the external constraints are best summarized in the acronym PESTLE, which stands for Political, Economic, Social, Technical, Legal, and Environmental. The effect of these constraints is discussed.
Project context; project environment; PESTLE; environmental legislation
Social (or Sociological)
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What is sustainability in project management ?
Sustainability in the project profession is an approach to business that balances the environmental, social, economic aspects of project-based working to meet the current needs of stakeholders without compromising or overburdening future generations.
Definition from APM Body of Knowledge 7 th edition
In our changing world, sustainability in projects is more important than ever. Project sustainability involves both individual and organisational responsibility to ensure that outputs, outcomes and benefits are sustainable over life cycles and during their creation, disposal and decommissioning. Building sustainability into the vision at the very start of the project – if sustainability is planned in as a key requirement from the outset, it can’t be traded or forgotten.
Sustainability is relevant across all areas of project-based working. For example, the procurement team seeking opportunities to buy from sustainable sources and to make the supply chain more efficient. Project professionals have a responsibility to ensure that their work minimises, or ideally positively affects, ongoing sustainability.
Sustainability is a challenging concept for many project based organisations but it is something project professionals are thinking about more than before. In projects, programmes and portfolios, sustainability remains significant and important; in fact it is a fundamental competence vital for improving and facilitating effective project, programme and portfolio management. As we know sustainability involves taking individual as well as organisational responsibility so it’s something all project professionals need to understand. Change initiatives must proactively alter behaviours so they can be delivered through sustainable working practices and methods. To learn about what you need to know and deliver for a project to meet sustainability standards, visit the APM Competence Framework, 3 rd edition .
Sustainability involves balancing different concerns: environment, such as climate change; society, such as community; economy, such as affordability; and administration, such as health and safety. When these four elements are considered, we can build sustainability into projects.
Sustainability as balancing different concerns
Source: APM Body of Knowledge, 7 th edition
Watch: Delivering sustainability in projects
Sustainability projects that make a difference
Practical advice for project managers and teams
Recognising the importance of sustainability
- Webinar - The future of sustainability in project management
- Webinar - Responsible project management
Projecting the Future , climate change, clean growth and sustainability:
Climate change, clean growth and sustainability have been thrust into the limelight. Amid rising public concern, the government has set in law a target for the UK to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Achieving that will require big changes across the economy, in every major sector. It will be a significant factor in every project professionals’ work in the years ahead.
The effects of climate change are both global in reach, and local in impact. They could spell disaster for millions of people in the decades ahead. Building a ‘clean’ and sustainable carbon-free economy will be far from simple.
Paper/long read Climate Change and what the project profession should be doing about it: a UK perspective .
Sources of UK Carbon Emissions Source: Projecting the future (challenge paper 2)
New research: Storytelling for sustainable development
The Sustainable Development Goals were established for individuals, teams, projects, organisations, and industries. There remains little empirical research exploring the ways in which sustainability is interpreted and practiced by sustainability practitioners, including those whose job title infers direct responsibility. This research explores that understanding sustainability as a form of inclusive storytelling to which individuals and firms respond through their work-related identities, practices and actions opens up an opportunity for a better understanding of the meaning of sustainability for practitioners. It also has important implications for constructing individual and collective identities.
Our statement on sustainability
We understand the importance and urgency of addressing the impacts of both the climate change and biodiversity emergencies.
In 2019, the UK Parliament declared an environment and climate change emergency. Realising that there is an urgent need for coordinated action by project professionals across all sectors, we published a statement of intent to develop an action plan to support the project profession’s efforts to reduce environmental impacts of projects.
In this statement, we pledge to lead by example as an organisation and become carbon-neutral by 2050, if not sooner. We have also made a commitment to develop an action plan to support the profession’s efforts to reduce environmental impacts of projects.
From the frontline: fast and furious at net-zero formula e.
Meet Gemma Roura Serra, strategic planning director at ABB Formula E, the world’s first all-electric single-seater car racing series, conceived to accelerate electric vehicle adoption and demonstrate leadership in the sports world by becoming the only sport to be net-zero carbon since inception.
Why sustainability should be on every project professional's agenda
Sustainability presents an opportunity for them to demonstrate their value in aligning with corporate strategic objectives around net zero. Hear from experts in sustainability to find out more about embedding sustainability within every aspect of project and how this can make a huge difference.
Dynamic conditions for project success
Did you know that 69 per cent of project professionals consider sustainability an important factor in project success in the Dynamic Conditions for Project Success ?
This research highlights opportunities for project management organisations and professionals to improve project success and project outcomes.
Learn more about the conditions that enable better project outcomes here .
APM Body of Knowledge 7 th edition
The APM Body of Knowledge 7 th edition is a foundational resource providing the concepts, functions and activities that make up professional project management. It reflects the developing profession, recognising project-based working at all levels, and across all sectors for influencers, decision makers, project professionals and their teams.
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The APM Learning portal is an online resource which provides members with access to digital guides, modules and other digital learning resources as part of the membership benefit.
Project – APM's official journal – is circulated quarterly for members only, and online for regularly updated news, blogs, opinions and insights for those in the project community.
Example sentences environmental project
If the estate wins, it could receive up to 100,000 to spend on an environmental project of the residents' choice.
During the programme, the nucleargraduates spend 10 per cent of their time on corporate social responsibility, which could involve helping to teach physics in schools or championing an environmental project .
Mark has also worked on a maritime environmental project featuring audio from around the cork harbour area.
The heavy financial cost makes the sustainability of the environmental project questionable.
Ambition had supported over 400 young people to get involved with environmental project and better understand the environment.
Definition of 'environmental' environmental
Definition of 'project' project
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Definition of environment
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Meanings of Environment
Descending from the Middle French preposition environ “around,” environment , in its most basic meaning, is “that which surrounds.” When preceded by the and unmodified, it usually refers to the natural world (“please don’t litter if you care about the environment ”). In a less physical, more extended sense, it may signify the circumstances and conditions that make up everyday life (“He grew up in a loving environment .”) The word may also be applied in highly specialized ways, denoting, for example, “the position of a linguistic element” (“how g gets pronounced in Italian depends upon its phonetic environment ”) or “a computer interface from which various tasks can be performed” (“the app works in varied environments ").
background , setting , environment , milieu , mise-en-scène mean the place, time, and circumstances in which something occurs.
background often refers to the circumstances or events that precede a phenomenon or development.
setting suggests looking at real-life situations in literary or dramatic terms.
environment applies to all the external factors that have a formative influence on one's physical, mental, or moral development.
milieu applies especially to the physical and social surroundings of a person or group of persons.
mise-en-scène strongly suggests the use of properties to achieve a particular atmosphere or theatrical effect.
Examples of environment in a Sentence
These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'environment.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.
1827, in the meaning defined at sense 1
Phrases Containing environment
- the environment
Dictionary Entries Near environment
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“Environment.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary , Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/environment. Accessed 11 Nov. 2023.
Kids definition of environment, medical definition, medical definition of environment, more from merriam-webster on environment.
Nglish: Translation of environment for Spanish Speakers
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Environmental Project Management pp 31–40 Cite as
The Need for Environmental Project Management
- Ebenezer A. Sholarin 6 &
- Joseph L. Awange 7
- First Online: 23 April 2016
Part of the Environmental Science and Engineering book series (ENVSCIENCE)
Having defined in Chap. 1 , ‘environment’ as the components of the ecosystems (land, water, and air, including all layers of the atmosphere) to be effectively managed, and discussed the concept of project management as a set of tools and templates required to make this possible, an attempt will now be made to define environmental project management as a new paradigm shift in achieving the goal of sustainable development.
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Petroleum Engineering, Curtin University, Perth, WA, Australia
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Sholarin, E.A., Awange, J.L. (2015). The Need for Environmental Project Management. In: Environmental Project Management. Environmental Science and Engineering(). Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-27651-9_2
DOI : https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-27651-9_2
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Environmental sustainability: A commitment to a better future
Keep reading to learn more about environmental sustainability, why it’s important, and how individuals and organizations across the globe are making a commitment to this critical cause.
What is environmental sustainability?
Environmental sustainability is about ecological balance. For nearly two millennia, humans have been carbonizing our planet, which has contributed to global climate change. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the United Nations body for assessing the science related to climate change, it is undeniable that human actions have impacted the planet, resulting in the warming of the atmosphere, ocean, and land.
As we continue to see the negative impacts of climate change, an increasing number of governments, organizations, and individuals are embracing and promoting environmental sustainability. These various groups are working towards the lofty goal of decarbonizing our world to protect our global ecosystems for the sake of future generations.
Environmental sustainability definition
Environmental sustainability is the ability to maintain an ecological balance in our planet’s natural environment and conserve natural resources to support the wellbeing of current and future generations.
The three pillars of sustainability
Sustainability is about meeting the needs of present generations without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. There are three main pillars of sustainability that many organizations strive to achieve:
For businesses, social sustainability includes important workplace and employee issues like health and safety, inclusion, empowerment, professional development opportunities, and work-life balance.
While it may seem like this pillar is focused on an organization’s ability to remain profitable throughout its lifetime, economic sustainability isn’t just about money. An economically sustainable organization is one that can drive revenue and maintain long-term business growth without negatively impacting the community, environment, or health and wellbeing of its employees.
This pillar is all about protecting the environment for future generations. Environmentally sustainable organizations take steps to enhance efficiencies, reduce resource consumption and waste, and measure and monitor carbon emissions across the entire supply chain. Today, many organizations are amping up their environmental efforts by adopting sophisticated technology, including cloud and IoT sustainability solutions , that allow them to track and reduce their environmental impact.
A brief history of environmental sustainability
The United States first made a national commitment to environmental sustainability in 1969, with the enactment of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) , under NEPA, the U.S. made it a national policy “to create and maintain conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony, that permit fulfilling the social, economic, and other requirements of present and future generations.”
In the decades following the passing of NEPA, public interest in environmental sustainability has continued to grow worldwide, as countries across the globe face mounting climate change challenges. In 2015, 196 parties adopted the Paris Agreement at an international climate summit known as COP (Conference of the Parties.) According to the United Nations, the Paris Agreement is a legally binding international treaty, which was adopted by almost every nation in the world in an effort to tackle climate change. The goal of the agreement is to reduce carbon emissions enough to limit the global temperature rise to no more than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels—with an aim to keep the increase lower than 1.5 degrees Celsius.
In more recent years, many organizations have made environmental sustainability a priority, expanding their efforts to decrease carbon emissions, reduce and eliminate waste, and consume less water.
Why is environmental sustainability important?
Environmental sustainability is important for the wellbeing of current and future generations. Climate change presents a variety of complex environmental, social, and economic challenges for countries across the globe. In recent decades, the consequences of climate change have become increasingly apparent—from rising global temperatures and more extreme droughts to strengthening tropical storms, destructive wildfires, and devasting floods.
As humans and ecosystems across the planet are suffering from the damaging impacts of climate change, many individuals, communities, and organizations worldwide are embracing environmental sustainability and making this critical cause a priority. These efforts will allow us to decarbonize our planet and conserve natural resources to support the health and wellbeing of future generations.
For organizations, environmental sustainability isn’t just good for the environment—it’s also good for business. By advocating for sustainability and launching programs that support a healthier environment, organizations across all industries can build brand trust, boost customer loyalty, and enhance employee satisfaction. Environmental sustainability is no longer a luxury for organizations—it’s now a corporate social responsibility .
Environmental sustainability examples: 6 ways to reduce your footprint
While organizations across the globe want to accelerate their sustainability efforts, many don’t know where to begin. If you’re looking for ways to reduce your organization’s environmental impact, here are a few environmental sustainability examples and tips to help you get started:
Switch to renewable energy
In an effort to reduce their environmental footprint, many organizations are shifting to renewable energy sources like solar, hydro, geothermal, and wind. Projections show that 50 percent of total power generation after 2035 will be renewables—mainly wind, solar, and hydroelectric .
Commit to a zero-waste future
Each year, people consume 100 billion tons of materials—and in 2020, only 8.6 percent of those materials were cycled back into the economy after use . To help reduce waste, some organizations are taking an increasingly circular approach to materials management. This not only means increasing the use of recycled content, but also responsibly sourcing materials for operations, products, and packaging.
Reduce your organization’s carbon emissions
Innovative environmental sustainability solutions allow organizations to measure, record, and report carbon emissions across their supply chain. This allows organizations to reduce their impact, gain efficiencies, and make lasting changes.
Healthy ecosystems are essential for a healthy planet. According to research by the United Nations , the health of the world’s ecosystems us deteriorating more rapidly than we previously realized. That’s why environmentally conscious organizations are looking for ways to manage their impact on ecosystems and taking steps to help preserve natural resources for a climate-stable future.
Many organizations that are committed to environmental sustainability are working to reduce their overall water consumption—and some have set goals to be water positive within the next decade. Due to population growth, economic development, and ever-increasing consumption, there’s a global increase in water demand. If we don’t take action, projections show that there will be a 56 percent deficit in water supply relative to demand by 2030.
Advocate for sustainability policies
Another way organizations can increase their sustainability efforts is by advocating for policies that support the cause. This includes policies designed to help reduce carbon emissions, advance zero-carbon energy, effectively manage ecosystems, and increase water access, availability, and quality. By pushing for greater sustainability action across your community, country and the world, your organization can make a substantial difference.
What is ESG?
ESG, which stands for environmental, social, and governance, is a set of standards that organizations follow as they strive to be more socially responsible. ESG is important because this is the criteria investors evaluate as they determine whether or not to invest in a company.
Every organization has a direct impact on environmental, social, and governance concerns. Today, the way businesses approach ESG is more important than ever as environmental and social responsibility has become a focus for a wide range of stakeholders—from communities and customers to shareholders and suppliers.
Plus, when an organization commits to strong ESG standards, it can help them attract and retain top talent. That’s because an increasing number of employees are drawn to companies that care about bigger issues beyond profitability and take steps to address environmental, social, and governance concerns.
Here’s how ESG breaks down for organizations:
E = Environmental concerns
This is focused on how an organization approaches environmental sustainability issues, including waste management, use of renewable energy sources, carbon emissions, deforestation, water consumption, air or water pollution, natural resource management, as well as the company’s general attitudes towards climate change and sustainability.
S = Social concerns
In the ESG formula, social criteria focus on the impact an organization has on its customers, employees, and the surrounding community and the entire world. This includes important employee issues like labor relations, diversity and inclusion, workplace health and safety, basic wages or salary, employee training and education programs, employee engagement and turnover, and work-life balance. This area also covers the important customer issues, such as the quality of customer service, customer relations, and consumer protection issues. Stakeholders may also consider whether an organization donates time and money to charitable causes, takes a stance on human rights issues, or is beneficial to society.
G = Governance concerns
Corporate governance in ESG is about how well an organization regulates or governs itself. This includes issues like accounting transparency, financial reporting, tax strategies, corporate donations, corruption or bribery, political lobbying, board diversity and structure, environmental compliance , and executive compensation.
Understanding the difference between ESG and CSR
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a model that pre-dates ESG. CSR is a general set of standards or policies in which organizations consider their impact on employees, shareholders, and society as a whole. A much broader concept than ESG, CSR has more to do with an organization’s general intentions to make socially responsible decisions. Many critics have pointed out that CSR is more of public relations effort than an actual commitment to change or reporting process.
On the other hand, ESG includes more concrete policies and specific criteria that can be analyzed and measured using ESG ratings. Organizations in some parts of the world, including the European Union, are required to comply with specific ESG regulations. The U.S. is also considering introducing similar reporting requirements. Unlike CSR, ESG provides actual data that can be evaluated to provide a clear picture of a company’s social responsibility and sustainability efforts. Organizations can then tap into these insights to improve their ESG efforts.
The benefits of ESG
Organizations that commit to environmental, social, and governance concerns enjoy a range of valuable benefits. For example, a strong ESG proposition can help an organization:
- Drive business growth by attracting more customers with sustainable products.
- Reduce operating costs through lower energy and water consumption.
- Increase employee satisfaction and productivity—and in turn, decrease employee turnover.
- Attract more employees and customers with social credibility and brand trust.
- Reduce the risk of regulation and government intervention and prompt government support.
Accelerate your sustainability journey
No matter where you are your path to environmental sustainability, get guidance and explore solutions that can help you move forward.
What do recent offshore wind failures mean for NC?
This story appeared first in WFAE's weekly climate newsletter, which is out Thursdays. Sign up at WFAE.org/newsletters.
When the Danish wind developer Orsted last week announced it was canceling two New Jersey offshore wind projects, it set off a bit of a panic over the industry's fate. Headlines called it a threat to the Biden administration's energy agenda and a "moment of reckoning" for the U.S. offshore wind industry.
The news also brought cheers from the oil-industry-funded anti-wind movement, which among other things has spread misinformation linking wind farms to whale deaths (there’s no known scientific link, as also detailed here ). The New Jersey group Protect Our Coast put it succinctly: “The more we fight, the more expensive it becomes and the less likely they will continue.”
But these declarations of doom oversimplify the picture. There are still plenty of signs of growth for the industry. The same day as Orsted's announcement, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) approved Dominion Energy's Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project after an environmental review. It’s expected to be the largest U.S. offshore wind farm when it's completed in 2026, and Dominion says it's on schedule.
And Orsted announced last week that the first turbine had been shipped for installation in its 12-turbine South Fork Wind project off Long Island. It's New York's first offshore wind farm.
Still, the wind industry is certainly feeling financial pains, such as rising supply chain costs and high interest rates, which Orsted cited. Other projects have stalled in New England for similar reasons. The root of those problems is that developers' contracts call for them to supply electricity at prices too low to recover their costs and make a profit.
The cancellation of the two New Jersey projects will make it harder to meet the Biden administration's goal of 30 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2030, or New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy's state goal of 11 gigawatts.
But longer-term arguments for offshore wind haven't gone away. Offshore wind energy needs to be part of the nation's clean energy transformation, said Katharine Kollins, president of the Southeastern Wind Coalition , which advocates for wind energy.
"Offshore wind is an incredible asset to have on our grid. It produces electricity during winter storms. It produces electricity during winter mornings when the solar hasn't yet started producing. And also in summer afternoons, (when) we all crank our air conditioners – late summer afternoons, the sun goes down, we still need electricity," Kollins said in an interview.
Her comments were echoed by Jan Matthiessen, director of Offshore Wind at The Carbon Trust in the United Kingdom, which advises companies on reducing their carbon footprints.
"Offshore wind has been growing very fast, and it will continue to grow very fast. So these economic challenges that we are facing in the moment globally, will maybe slow us down, but it will certainly not stop us," Matthiessen said during a briefing Wednesday hosted by Turn Forward, a wind advocacy group.
Matthiessen said despite financial issues, demand for offshore wind has not changed. And over the longer term, wind-powered electricity prices have been coming down, which is good for customers.
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North Carolina impact
The picture is complicated, and not all offshore wind projects and energy systems are the same. So the business challenges facing the projects in the U.S. Northeast are not an immediate factor in the development of three wind areas off North Carolina, Kollins said.
For one thing, those failed projects were locked into contracts that set energy prices too low to make them work financially after inflation hit the wind supply chain.
"Those contracts were put in place when energy prices were still quite low. Those prices have risen significantly. And so there's no way for those companies to adequately supply electricity for the cost that they had predicted they could a few years ago," Kollins said.
But the situation is very different in North Carolina, she said.
"North Carolina hasn't contracted for any of this energy yet. So there are no established prices against which we are trying to determine if we can still meet those prices," Kollins said.
Another issue for Orsted is a delay in the construction of a ship to transport the giant pilings and turbines to offshore sites. A 1920 U.S. law called the Jones Act requires cargo traveling between U.S. ports to be carried by U.S.-built and registered ships, with U.S. crews. There's one vessel under construction that can transport the wind-farm parts, called Charybdis . It's not ready for the New Jersey projects, but Dominion Energy says it should be available for construction off Virginia.
"That vessel was going to be used for those New Jersey projects. So, it just makes everything a little bit more difficult with high-interest rates and financing. Those things compound, and we find ourselves in the situation we're in," Kollins said.
Virginia is years ahead of North Carolina, both on the wind project and in the development of the onshore infrastructure to build the turbines. Dominion plans 176 turbines in the Atlantic more than 20 miles off Virginia Beach. I visited the first two pilot turbines last year to hear about those plans and get a sense of what offshore wind in North Carolina might look like.
Duke Energy a roadblock?
For North Carolina, the biggest barrier to early development of offshore wind may be Charlotte-based Duke Energy, the state's main electric utility, Kollins said. Duke actually holds one of the three North Carolina offshore wind leases. And the company would have to agree to buy power from other leaseholders. But the company has not made offshore wind a priority in its most recent long-range plans.
"The situation in North Carolina right now relies entirely on the approval of the Carbon Plan, which is currently in the hands of the North Carolina Utilities Commission," Kollins said. "Ourselves and a number of other organizations are working diligently to ensure that offshore wind becomes a part of the approved Carbon Plan. We believe that North Carolina needs that carbon-free electricity on the grid to decarbonize in the way that the North Carolina Legislature and the governor anticipated that it would a few years ago when House Bill 951 was signed."
House Bill 951 is the bipartisan energy reform bill enacted in 2021 that made North Carolina one of only a few states to legislate carbon reduction targets. It put into law the governor's 2019 goals of reducing carbon emissions from energy plants by 70% from 2005 levels by 2030 and to net-zero carbon by 2050.
Of those three North Carolina wind areas currently under lease, one is further ahead than others. Avangrid, a subsidiary of Spanish utility giant Iberdrola, is seeking permits for a wind farm 27 miles off Kitty Hawk, on the Outer Banks. It's not likely to start construction before 2026, the company says on its website . The other two sites , leased by Duke Energy and France-based TotalEnergies Renewables, are still in the very early planning stages.
In an interview last week, Duke Energy Chief Financial Officer Brian Savoy did not comment directly on offshore wind's financial challenges, but he suggested it is not currently viable. While Duke considers offshore wind a future "option," he said Duke has no immediate plans to build off North Carolina.
"We see offshore wind as a really good option for our customers over the long term. In our resource plans (the Carbon Plan), we have it as an option, not as a resource we're going to build," Savoy said.
"There's a lot that has to be determined around offshore wind: the cost, the supply chain, the viability of it. So, you know, I would say we think it's an important resource. It's zero carbon, but we're not going to get ahead of our customers, or our regulators on offshore wind," he said.
Kollins disagreed with Savoy.
"Offshore wind is viable now. And what is going to be so important as we move forward with the Carbon Plan is to understand that there are some long-term resources that we have got to start building now," Kollins said.
She said just as Duke and North Carolina are planning now for small modular nuclear reactors and hydrogen-fired power plants, "we need to be not only planning, but truly developing, offshore wind if we are going to meet the carbon-reduction timelines established in (House Bill) 951."
"You need offshore wind. It is that simple. We cannot place the entire grid in the hands of gas, solar, storage — all of those are extremely important components," Kollins added.
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Approval of divisive Alaska oil project upheld in blow to US climate goals
Advocates warned of ‘tragic consequences’ should the project in a remote part of northern Alaska go ahead
A federal judge has upheld the Biden administration’s approval of the Willow oil-drilling project in a remote part of northern Alaska in a move that environmental groups warned will have “tragic consequences” for the Arctic.
On Thursday, the US district court judge Sharon Gleason rejected requests by a grassroots Iñupiat group and environmentalists to undo the approval for the project in the federally designated National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska.
Gleason wrote that the company behind the project, ConocoPhillips , had the right to develop its oil and gas leases in the reserve “subject to reasonable restrictions and mitigation measures imposed by the federal government”. She added that the alternatives analyzed by the US Bureau of Land Management (BLM) were consistent with the policy objectives of the petroleum reserve and the stated purpose and need of the Willow project.
Environmental organizations have accused the president of backpedaling on his pledge to combat the climate crisis. The groups that sued over the project raised concerns about planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions from Willow and argued that federal agencies failed to consider how increased emissions from the project could affect species such as the polar bear, Arctic ringed seals and bearded seals, which rely on ice and are already experiencing disruptions due to the climate crisis.
Erik Grafe, an attorney with Earthjustice, who was involved in one of the cases, called the ruling disappointing but said “we are entirely confident in our claims, and are considering all legal options including an appeal to the higher court”. The judge’s decision can be appealed.
Bridget Psarianos, an attorney with Trustees for Alaska, which represents Sovereign Iñupiat for a Living Arctic and several environmental groups in the other lawsuit, called Gleason’s decision “bad news not just for our clients but for anyone who cares about the climate and future generations”.
Hallie Templeton, legal director at Friends of the Earth, said the decision would have “tragic consequences for Arctic communities, wildlife, and our planet as a whole. But the fight is far from over. We maintain confidence in our legal claims that Interior has unlawfully ignored the significant environmental harms stemming from Willow. We won’t stop until this climate disaster of a project is dead once and for all.”
The project has widespread political support in Alaska. But the administration’s action has also alienated and outraged some supporters, particularly young activists who launched a TikTok campaign to oppose the project ahead of its approval in March.
ConocoPhillips Alaska had proposed five drilling sites, but the Bureau of Land Management approved three, which it said would include up to 199 total wells. The project could produce up to 180,000 barrels of oil a day at its peak. Using that oil would produce the equivalent of at least 263m tons (239m metric tons) of greenhouse gas emissions over Willow’s projected 30-year life.
The administration has defended its climate record and Deb Haaland, the interior secretary, earlier this year called Willow “a very long and complicated and difficult decision to make”, noting that ConocoPhillips Alaska had long held leases in the region and that regulators tried to balance drilling rights with a project that was narrower in scope.
The project has been mired in litigation for years.
A prior authorization of Willow, issued in 2020 during the Trump administration, called for allowing ConocoPhillips to establish up to three drill sites, with the potential for two more proposed by the company to be considered later.
But Gleason set that aside in 2021 after finding that the federal review underpinning the decision was flawed and did not include mitigation measures for polar bears. The ruling led to a new environmental analysis, followed by the Biden administration’s greenlight in March for what justice department attorneys had said was a scaled-back version that resolved the concerns raised by Gleason.
Many Alaska Native leaders on the North Slope and groups with ties to the region have argued that Willow is economically vital for their communities. Mike Dunleavy, Alaska’s Republican governor, the state’s bipartisan congressional delegation and labor unions have touted Willow as a job creator in a state where major existing oilfields are ageing and production is a small fraction of what it once was.
“Today’s ruling gives us hope for our collective future on the North Slope and in Alaska,” said Nagruk Harcharek, president of the group Voice of Arctic Iñupiat, whose members include leaders from across much of the North Slope region. “Going forward, we hope that key decision makers in the Biden administration and in Congress listen to the voices of those who know these lands better than anyone else: the North Slope Iñupiat.”
Some Alaska Native leaders in the community nearest the project, Nuiqsut, have expressed concerns about impacts to their subsistence lifestyles and have said their concerns were ignored.
The Associated Press contributed reporting
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Judge in Alaska upholds Biden administration’s approval of the massive Willow oil-drilling project
FILE - Demonstrators protest against the Biden administration’s approval of the Willow oil-drilling project before a scheduled speech by Biden at the Department of the Interior in Washington, March 21, 2023. A federal judge on Thursday, Nov. 9 upheld the Biden administration’s approval of the Willow oil-drilling project on Alaska’s remote North Slope, a massive project that had drawn the ire of environmentalists who accused the president of backpedaling on his pledge to combat climate change. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)
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JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A federal judge on Thursday upheld the Biden administration’s approval of the massive Willow oil-drilling project on Alaska’s remote North Slope, a decision that environmental groups swiftly vowed to fight.
U.S. District Court Judge Sharon Gleason rejected requests by a grassroots Iñupiat group and environmentalists to vacate the project approval, and she dismissed their claims against Willow, which is in the federally designated National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska. The administration’s approval of Willow in March drew the ire of environmentalists who accused the president of backpedaling on his pledge to combat climate change.
The company behind the project, ConocoPhillips Alaska, has the right to develop its leases in the reserve “subject to reasonable restrictions and mitigation measures imposed by the federal government,” Gleason wrote. She added that the alternatives analyzed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management as part of its review were consistent with the policy objectives for the petroleum reserve and the stated purpose and need of the Willow project.
The groups that sued over the project raised concerns about planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions from Willow and argued that federal agencies failed to consider how increased emissions from the project could affect ice-reliant species such as the polar bear, Arctic ringed seals and bearded seals, which already are experiencing disruptions due to climate change.
Gleason said an agency environmental review “appropriately analyzed the indirect and cumulative” greenhouse gas emissions impacts of the project.
Erik Grafe, an attorney with Earthjustice, which represents several environmental groups in one of the cases, called the ruling disappointing and said an appeal was planned.
Bridget Psarianos, an attorney with Trustees for Alaska, which represents Sovereign Iñupiat for a Living Arctic and environmental groups in the other lawsuit, called Gleason’s decision “bad news not just for our clients but for anyone who cares about the climate and future generations.”
“There is too much at stake to gloss over the harm this project will do,” Psarianos said. “We will remain standfast in working with our clients to protect the Arctic from this devastating project today and in the weeks, months, and years ahead.”
The project has widespread political support in Alaska. But climate activists said allowing it to go forward marked a major breach of President Joe Biden’s campaign promise to stop new oil drilling on federal lands. The administration’s action alienated and outraged some supporters, particularly young activists who launched a TikTok campaign to oppose the project ahead of its approval.
ConocoPhillips Alaska had proposed five drilling sites, but the Bureau of Land Management approved three, which it said would include up to 199 total wells. The project could produce up to 180,000 barrels of oil a day at its peak. Using that oil would produce the equivalent of at least 263 million tons (239 million metric tons) of greenhouse gas emissions over Willow’s projected 30-year life.
The administration has defended its climate record, and Interior Secretary Deb Haaland earlier this year called Willow “a very long and complicated and difficult decision to make,’’ noting that ConocoPhillips Alaska has long held leases in the region and that regulators tried to balance drilling rights with a project that was narrower in scope.
Interior declined to comment on Gleason’s decision Thursday.
Connor Dunn, vice president of the Willow project for ConocoPhillips Alaska, said in court documents that it was “highly unlikely” that Willow would proceed if the administration’s approval were to be vacated.
Many of the company’s leases in the area date to 1999 and are at risk of expiring by Sept. 1, 2029, if oil hasn’t been produced by then, Dunn said. There is no guarantee the company, which through July had invested about $925 million in Willow, would get an extension on its leases, he said.
In April, Gleason rejected efforts to halt cold-weather construction work by ConocoPhillips Alaska while litigation was pending, including mining gravel and using it for a road toward the project. That work ended in May.
Following Gleason’s decision Thursday, the company said it intends to proceed with plans for construction work this winter.
Erec Isaacson, president of ConocoPhillips Alaska, said Willow “underwent nearly five years of rigorous regulatory review and environmental analysis, including extensive public involvement from the communities closest to the project site. We now want to make this project a reality and help Alaskan communities realize the extensive benefits of responsible energy development.”
The project has been mired in litigation for years.
A prior authorization of Willow, issued in 2020 during the Trump administration, called for allowing ConocoPhillips to establish up to three drill sites, with the potential for two more proposed by the company to be considered later.
But Gleason set that aside in 2021 after finding that the federal review underpinning the decision was flawed and did not include mitigation measures for polar bears. The ruling led to a new environmental analysis and the Biden administration’s greenlight in March for what Justice Department attorneys had said was a scaled-back version that resolved concerns raised by Gleason.
Many Alaska Native leaders on the North Slope and groups with ties to the region have argued that Willow is economically vital for their communities. Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy, the state’s bipartisan congressional delegation and labor unions have touted Willow as a job creator in a state where major existing oil fields are aging and production is a fraction of what it once was.
“Today’s ruling gives us hope for our collective future on the North Slope and in Alaska,” said Nagruk Harcharek, president of Voice of the Arctic Iñupiat, a group whose members include leaders from across much of the North Slope region. “Going forward, we hope that key decision makers in the Biden administration and in Congress listen to the voices of those who know these lands better than anyone else: the North Slope Iñupiat.”
Some Alaska Native leaders in the community nearest the project, Nuiqsut, have expressed concerns about impacts to their subsistence lifestyles and have said their concerns were ignored.
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Offshore Wind Firm Cancels N.J. Projects, as Industry’s Prospects Dim
Denmark’s Orsted said it would be forced to write off as much as $5.6 billion as wind developers in the U.S. faced wrenching financing costs.
By Stanley Reed and Tracey Tully
Plans to build two wind farms off the coast of New Jersey were scrapped, the company behind them said on Wednesday, a blow to the state’s efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions and the latest shakeout in the U.S. wind industry.
The move, which will force Orsted, a Danish company, to write off as much as $5.6 billion, will crimp the Biden administration’s plans to make the wind industry a critical component of plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. High inflation and soaring interest rates are making planned projects that looked like winners several years ago no longer profitable.
“The world has in many ways, from a macroeconomic and industry point of view, turned upside down,” Mads Nipper, Orsted’s chief executive, said on a call with reporters on Wednesday.
The two projects, known as Ocean Wind 1 and 2, were destined to provide green energy to New Jersey. They were strongly backed by the state’s governor, Phil Murphy, a Democrat with national ambitions who stresses his environmental credentials but who has lately drawn scorn for falling short in combating climate change. On Wednesday he suggested that Orsted was a dishonest broker and insisted that the “future of offshore wind” along the state’s 130-mile coastline remained strong.
Mr. Nipper said Orsted thought that losses on the New Jersey projects would rise over time, so “the only sensible thing is to draw a line in the sand.”
Overall, the Biden administration wants to install 30 gigawatts of wind power in the United States by 2030, and officials in New Jersey had been aiming to produce 11 gigawatts by 2040.
Offshore wind and other parts of the renewable industry have hit some snags in Europe, especially in Britain. But Mr. Nipper said the problems were more acute in the United States because early contracts lacked protection from inflation and developers incurred high costs because of delays in approvals during the Trump administration.
The company’s stock price fell nearly 26 percent on Wednesday after it reported a loss of about $3.2 billion for the third quarter and warned that the write-downs — essentially a reduction in the value of the company’s investments — would affect Orsted’s finances.
Orsted is writing off 28.4 billion krone, or about $4 billion, now. The company estimates that it may take another charge of up to 11 billion krone later in the year.
Orsted is not alone in encountering hazards in the fledgling offshore market in the United States.
On Tuesday, BP, the London-based energy giant, said it would write down $540 million on three planned wind projects off New York, after the state authorities declined to renegotiate their terms. BP says it is assessing future plans for the projects in light of the decision.
In its announcement, Orsted said it would move forward with a $4 billion project called Revolution Wind intended to supply power to consumers in Rhode Island. And other developers have projects under construction, like Vineyard Wind , which will eventually have 62 turbines in the waters off Martha’s Vineyard, Mass.
Offshore wind is not dead, but the industry and its backers are certainly learning some harsh lessons. The ambitions of the Biden administration and states along the East Coast like New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts to install large amounts of clean electric power generation through offshore wind in the coming decades are likely to be set back.
The industry is dealing with equipment shortages as result of pandemic-era supply chain issues, and trying manage a growing number of orders for wind turbines as governments seek to meet green energy goals. And escalating interest rates, as central banks around the world try to curb inflation, have caused financing costs to soar.
Consumers will also probably pay more in their electric bills for power generated from offshore wind, as developers demand higher prices and protection from inflation.
Mr. Nipper said rekindling interest in developing offshore wind off the East Coast depended on “a reset of what offshore power needs to cost.”
New York State declined in October to renegotiate existing offshore wind power contracts, but a subsequent auction awarded deals to supply power at significantly higher prices and with various provisions to protect the developers from inflation.
Still, there is little question that the confluence of challenges that Mr. Nipper characterized as a “perfect storm” is weighing down an industry that governments are counting on to produce large volumes of clean and relatively cheap electricity to tackle climate change.
Orsted has been both a pioneer and a leading developer of offshore wind. After building the first offshore wind farm off Denmark in the early 1990s, the company has built up a global portfolio with projects in Britain, Poland and Taiwan as well as the United States.
Mr. Nipper said the company would be looking at various cost-saving measures including reshaping its portfolio. The company is likely to be more cautious in its investment plans, at least in the near term.
Orsted’s problems are not occurring in a vacuum. Siemens Energy , a large German maker of electric power equipment, recently said it was seeking government help to finance guarantees for orders and forecast large losses because of problems in its wind turbine unit, Siemens Gamesa.
In the case of Orsted, the write-downs are largely a result of the company’s decision to cancel the large project off New Jersey that was well underway, Ocean Wind 1, and a sister project, Ocean Wind 2.
The write-offs will include investments the company has already made in building the project, payments to suppliers for goods already ordered or delivered and penalties for walking away from contracts.
The projects had become politically charged in New Jersey, opposed by many residents of the Jersey Shore concerned about tourism revenue and marred ocean vistas, and fishermen worried about the impact on their livelihoods. When Orsted broke ground in September in Ocean City, N.J., workers were greeted by roughly 60 protesters, including six who were arrested after refusing police orders to move back.
Jeff Tittel, a longtime New Jersey environmental advocate and former director of the Sierra Club’s state chapter, said Orsted’s pullout was a considerable setback for the state’s efforts to generate more green energy.
“There’s really not a Plan B right now,” he said. “It’s a political disaster.”
Stanley Reed reports on energy, the environment and the Middle East from London. He has been a journalist for more than four decades. More about Stanley Reed
Tracey Tully covers New Jersey. She joined The Times in 2018 as a senior editor. She previously covered city and state government at The Daily News, the Albany Times Union and the Jersey Journal. More about Tracey Tully
ConocoPhillips' $8 billion Willow project approvals upheld by US judge
A screen displays the logo for ConocoPhillips on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., April 6, 2022. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid Acquire Licensing Rights
- US judge upholds approvals for $8 billion Willow project
- Groups say they are considering an appeal
Nov 9 (Reuters) - A federal judge in Alaska on Thursday upheld U.S. approvals for ConocoPhillips’ multibillion-dollar Willow oil and gas drilling project in the state’s Arctic, rejecting environmental and indigenous groups' concerns that the project poses too large of a climate threat.
U.S. District Judge Sharon Gleason in Anchorage dismissed a lawsuit filed by environmental and indigenous groups challenging the $8 billion project's approvals, which the U.S. Interior Department had issued in March. Opponents claim the project would release hundreds of millions of tons of carbon pollution into the atmosphere, aggravating climate change and damaging pristine wilderness.
Gleason said in her decision that the U.S. government had adequately analyzed how greenhouse gas emissions from the project would impact the climate and adequately considered how the project would impact endangered species like polar bears.
Erik Grafe, an attorney for Earthjustice, which challenged the approvals, called the decision disappointing but said environmental and indigenous groups are "considering all legal options" to continue the fight, including a potential appeal.
The Interior Department and ConocoPhillips didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.
Alaskan officials and the oil industry applauded the Interior's Bureau of Land Management signing off on the project in March, but the move was criticized by indigenous and environmental advocates, including the Center for Biological Diversity, the Sierra Club and the Sovereign Iñupiat for a Living Arctic.
Those opponents said the 30-year project's approval conflicted with President Joe Biden's highly publicized efforts to fight climate change and shift to cleaner sources of energy.
The approvals give ConocoPhillips permission to construct three drill pads, 25.8 miles of gravel roads, an air strip and hundreds of miles of ice roads.
ConocoPhillips has said the project will produce up to 180,000 barrels of oil per day at its peak, and the federal government estimates that it could release over 260 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions.
The environmental and indigenous groups challenged the approvals in two lawsuits filed in March. They said the government didn't adequately account for the climate impact of those emissions or the project's harm to endangered species, among other concerns.
They said those deficiencies violated the National Environmental Policy Act's requirements that projects with significant environmental impacts receive thorough reviews, and other legal requirements.
Gleason refused to temporarily suspend the approvals in April, paving the way for initial construction this past winter.
The U.S. had argued in court that it thoroughly and adequately analyzed expected environmental impacts from the project, including greenhouse gas effects and potential alternatives.
The cases are Sovereign Iñupiat for a Living Arctic et al. v. Bureau of Land Management et al. and Center for Biological Diversity et al. v. Bureau of Land Management et al., in the U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska, case Nos. 3:23-cv-00058 and 3:23-cv-00061.
For the plaintiffs: Erik Grafe, Ian Dooley and Carole Holley of Earthjustice and Bridget Psarianos and Suzanne Bostrom of the Trustees for Alaska
For the U.S.: Rickey Turner and Paul Turcke of the U.S. Department of Justice
For ConocoPhillips: Ryan Steen, Whitney Brown, Jason Morgan and Luke Sanders of Stoel Rives
Reporting by Clark Mindock
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
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