Management insights for the next-gen global organization.

Discover the principles behind Responsible Project Management and how they can join your other ESG practices to enhance results and profitability

By José Alvarado, Cedrela Confidential

In the world of project management, it is easy to get lost in the known traditional deliverables, as we seek to execute on time, on budget and in line with high quality and service standards. But there is one standard that reaches higher still and represents a far better way for companies to Stand Tall.

It is a standard aligned with best sustainability practices, but applied to the craft of project management, leading to the relatively new practice called Responsible Project Management, or RPM.

Certain projects, that is, could have negative social, environmental, and economic consequences, including in impacted communities, and it is good business to incorporate ethical and sustainable practices in project management to address these issues.

A project manager acting professionally will take responsibility for developing awareness among stakeholders of the consequences of the project’s activities and outcomes. RPM looks beyond short-term goals of meeting cost, time and quality requirements and encourages project managers to reduce harm, restore natural resources and maximize societal benefits.

Every project should embed RPM.

– David Lugo,
Co-Founder and Managing Partner

Executive pointing a graph

The industry standard has been established by The Schumacher Institute, as can be seen in and the organization’s 10-principle RPM Manifesto, of which Cedrela Consulting Group is an advocate:

  • 1
    Identify and understand the purpose underpinning projects from varying perspectives.
  • 2
    Raise awareness of potential impacts and unintended consequences of each project.
  • 3
    Engage all stakeholders needed in the decision-making process and promote common ground.
  • 4
    Be inquisitive and curious to uncover and address ethical complexities, conflicts and hidden impacts.
  • 5
    Recognize uncertainties and knowledge gaps, seek clarity and encourage information sharing.
  • 6
    Anticipate changes, evaluate options and promote informed decision-making.
  • 7
    Understand needs for creativity and innovation and make space for imagination.
  • 8
    Foster transparency and sharing of visions, thoughts and feelings among stakeholders.
  • 9
    Encourage considered and ethical stewardship of human and natural resources.
  • 10
    Seek balance between the needs of people, planet and profit, in the short, medium and long term.

Cedrela, for one, implements RPM strategies and encourages its clients to adopt sustainable RPM practices, stressing that socially aware businesses are more likely to gain goodwill from customers and achieve other tangible, measurable results. The firm has applied RPM when dealing with federal agencies such as the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Department of Labor and state agencies such as the Puerto Rico Department of Economic Development and Commerce, in improving the quality of life of communities by creating an efficient and effective process for the disbursement of funds, preventing compliance issues and upskilling government employees accordingly.

RPM applies to project management the long-established corporate trend of sustainability and ESG

RPM is animated by the logic that projects can be detrimental to the planet and society unless they are executed intentionally with care, which includes an eye to the implications, as per Principle #2.

It begins, according to Cedrela’s leadership, in-house. “RPM is tantamount to good business governance,” said Co-founder and Managing Partner David Lugo, adding the importance of integrating as many people as possible in the organization, in accordance with Principles #3 and #8.

RPM applies to project management the long-established corporate trend of sustainability and ESG (environmental, social and governance practices), which improves results and profitability by, among other things:

  • Better managing risks across all three ESG fields.
  • Reducing the cost of doing business, since teams are more aware of wasteful processes that are then addressed.
  • Uncovering innovations, including new-product opportunities that respond to ESG challenges.
  • Boosting employee and executive motivation, retention and talent acquisition, since people tend to want to work for responsible enterprises.
  • Boosting customer and client satisfaction, engagement and acquisition, since they, too, are people who respond positively to a company’s ESG practices.

“It’s a no-brainer,” concluded Lugo. “Every project should embed RPM.”

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