Personal Ethics & Sustainability

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This subject underpins all of the others. A strong ethical framework is vital for personal success influencing our actions and decisions. Ethics are founded on the collective view of a profession, organization, or society and govern the conduct of both individuals, and the organizations they are part of.

Topics included in Personal Ethics & Sustainability:

- Personal Ethics
- Ethical Decision Making
- Professionalism
- Sustainability 
   - Green Project Management
   - Green Building
- Useful External Web-links & Resources.

Other related sections of the PMKI:

- Ethics and Culture in organizations
- Competencies & Interpersonal Skills
- Leadership & Motivation
- PM Qualifications
- Develop and manage the project team
- The Evolution of Governance & Ethics

Personal Ethics

Blg: The Evolution of Ethics. The evolution of ethical thinking from the Ancient Greeks to Post Modernism.

WP: Ethics and Leadership. A strong ethical framework is vital for personal success and underpins your ability to lead. Ideally this framework will be supported by the organization's governance structures.

Art: Ethical Leadership. The crucial role leaders play in establishing the ethical culture of their organizations - ethical standards are set at the top!

Blg: Practical Ethics. Blind trust in the ethical standards of others is dangerous. The role of ethical leaders is first to set the ethical standards, and then implement systems that require their followers to conform.

Blg: Practical Ethics 2. The ethical standards of an organization are set by the actions of its leaders (not what they say). What they do sets the ceiling and what they tolerate in others the floor.

Blg: Making Ethics Effective. The need for surveillance and enforcement to support ethical standards.

The PMI Code of EthicsDownload the PMI Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct

Download the ISO Code of Ethics and Conduct 

See more on the evolution of ethics.


Ethical Decision Making

EthicsEvery decision you make has an ethical component. The PMI Ethical Decision-Making Framework (EDMF) describes steps that can be used to guide you through a process to make a decision when confronted with an ethical dilemma. Download the PMI Ethical Decision-Making Framework

Blg: Tired workers lose their ethics. Tired people are more grumpy, absent minded and clumsy than normal and new research suggests that they are also more likely to cheat!

Art: The Problem with Paradox. Virtually every management system generates a series of paradox that cannot be removed because both of the factors that create the paradox are important, but at the same time contradict each other. This article discusses how to live with paradox.

Click through to see more on practical decision making.



ProfessionalismThe dimensions of professionalism are:

  • Demonstrating appropriate moral and ethical standards and values.
  • Considering the environmental and social impacts of your decisions and actions (see more on Sustainability).
  • Having the required knowledge of project management practice to perform your role (the focus of Section 2 and Section 3 of the PMKI) and possessing the necessary skills and ability to apply the knowledge effectively.
  • Achieving the appropriate level of qualification for your role, see: PM Training & Qualifications
  • Having the competence to undertake and deliver assignments successfully. The key is knowing your level of competence and then seeking to improve, see Competencies & Interpersonal Skills.
  • Behaving professionally, including your appearance and attitude in the workplace.
  • Demonstrating a commitment to continuing professional development for both yourself and the overall profession.
  • Being accountable for your actions and decisions based on the PMI Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct. The focus of this page.

Blg: The Origins of Integrity. Integrity as we know it today stands for soundness of moral principle and character – uprightness – honesty; but there's more.

Art: Ethics, Integrity and Governance. The mutual interdependence between ethics, personal integrity, and the governance of organizations - does an organization have ethical responsibilities?

Blg: The moral underpinnings of good policy. The relationship between morals, ethics, values, principles and policies.

Art: Professional Project Management. What does professional project management look like? This article looks at the concept of a formal profession and what this means for project management.



Sustainability is a social goal focused on the ability of people to co-exist on Earth over a very long time-span. In business and policy contexts, it refers to the ability to maintain or support a process continuously over time while preventing the depletion of natural or physical resources. This topic includes:
- Responsible project management
- Green project management
- Green building.


Art: Sustainable project management. Using the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and 'Green Project Management' to enhance your project's 'triple bottom line'.

Art: CSR, TBL, and Too Many Other Acronyms. This article looks at the relationship between ESG, CSR, TBL and a range of other concepts built around the need for organizations to act in ways that are socially and environmentally sustainable.  

ISO 14001:2015 is an international standard that defines the controls needed to reduce your organization’s environmental impact as a result of its operations. Certification to the standard is available.

ISO 14001:2015 helps organization's manage their environmental impacts, ensure legal compliance, identify efficiencies, and reduce costs. To operate in a socially responsible manner and meet legal obligations it is important for an organization to identify the environmental aspects of its operations and manage the associated risks in areas such as environmental impacts, the use of natural resources, pollution of land and water, increase in carbon production, and destruction of natural habitats.

A manifesto for responsible project management

The manifesto is a call for project professionals to expand their roles by advocating for beneficial change It aims to help facilitate conversations that value

  • Conscious awareness over ignorance of project impacts
  • Regenerative and circular approaches over consumption, damage and waste
  • Collaboration and engagement over competition and control.

While we recognize that projects programs and portfolios need to deliver outputs, outcomes and benefits, we believe that unless we all look after local communities, society and the natural world, projects will contribute to the destruction of humanity The signatories to this Manifesto are developing and applying ways of managing projects to realize social, environmental and economic value without preference.

10 Driving Principles

  1. Purpose. Identify and understand the intentions underpinning projects from different perspectives
  2. Awareness. Raise cognizance of potential impacts and unintended consequences of projects
  3. Engagement. Involve a wide range of stakeholders in decision making and promote common interests
  4. Curiosity. Be inquisitive, uncover and address ethical complexity, conflict, and hidden impacts
  5. Uncertainty. Recognise knowledge gaps, seek clarity and encourage information sharing
  6. Anticipation. Surface changes, evaluate options and promote informed decision making
  7. Creativity. Understand needs for ingenuity and innovation: make space for imagination
  8. Transparency. Foster openness and sharing of visions, thoughts, and feelings among stakeholders
  9. Stewardship. Encourage considered and ethical management of human and natural resources
  10. Balance. Seek harmony between the needs of people, planet and profit; short, medium and long term.

See more on the manifesto for responsible project management at:

Green Project Management

The Green Project Management global movement has developed models for sustainability, training, and certification of individuals based on the following principles:

  1. Commitment & Accountability - Recognize the essential rights of all to healthy, clean and safe environments, equal opportunity, fair remuneration, ethical procurement, and adherence to rule of law
  2. Ethics & Decision Making - Support organizational ethics, decision making with respect for universal principles through identification, mitigation, and the prevention of adverse short and long-term impacts on society and the environment
  3. Integrated & Transparent - Foster the interdependence of economic development, social integrity, and environmental protection in all aspects of governance, practice, and reporting
  4. Principles & Values-Based - Conserve and enhancing our natural resource base by improving the ways in which we develop and use technologies and resources
  5. Social & Ecological Equity - Assess human vulnerability in ecologically sensitive areas and centers of population through demographic dynamics
  6. Economic Prosperity - Adhere to fiscal strategies, objectives, and targets that balance the needs of stakeholders, including immediate needs and those of future generations.

These principles are encapsulated in the GMP360 model:

GreenPM 360

Download the GPM P5 Standard for Sustainability in Project Management v3.0
Or click through to the GPM website for more information:

GPM P5 Standard for Sustainability in Project Management v2.0 can be downloaded for historical reference.

Green Building

The built environment sector accounts for approximately 40% of process-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Of this 27% comes from building use (operations) and 13% from the construction industries including manufacture and transport of materials used in building roads, houses, etc. The good news is the industry has been working to reduce emissions and is having some success. Some of the organizations leading the change are:



ZERO is an independent industry group of construction professionals from a range of backgrounds. Their vision of the future is an industry that places great importance on carbon efficiency. An industry that continuously measures and manages carbon through all project stages, basing project decisions on CO2 emissions, not just cost, time, quality, and safety. Their mission is to reach a wide audience, and spark change on projects, within organizations, and across the whole industry.

ZERO members use their collective experience in practical solutions and project realities to work towards creating a net zero emissions construction industry. This is being achieved by collaborating to learn, share, and raise awareness of relevant topics to create content that is accessible and engaging and focused on original thinking and innovation.

Key initiatives:

The ZERO Playbook a free guide to decarbonise construction.

The ZERO Accredited Professional course builds upon the playbook and gives you 10 CPD points.

See more at:


WGBCThe World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) is the largest and most influential local-regional-global action network, leading the uptake of sustainable and decarbonized built environments for everyone, everywhere. The WorldGBC works with businesses, organizations and governments to deliver on the ambitions of the Paris Agreement and UN Global Goals for Sustainable Development.

Together, with the 75+ Green Building Councils which are members of the WorldGBC global network, and industry partners from all around the world, the WorldGBC are driving systemic changes to:
- Address whole life carbon emissions of existing and new buildings Enable resilient, healthy, equitable and inclusive places,
- Secure regenerative, resource efficient and waste-free infrastructure, and
- Develop and administer many of the world’s ratings tools. 

See more at:


Architecture 2030 Architecture 2030 is another early initiative, based in the USA. Over the last two decades, with modest resources, it has achieved impressive shifts in outlook and practice within the U.S. and global building sectors. The organization works to create the initiatives necessary to empower designers, policymakers, and educators to facilitate systemic change and achieve a zero-carbon built environment.

See more at:

Blg: Built to last. This post questions the approach to green ratings - should we be building for durability rather then short-term sustainability?

Blg: Every decision you make, every action you take has a carbon footprint. This post argues green building (and the measurement of carbon) needs to be re-framed to consider the whole building lifecycle rather then simply measuring the carbon embedded in the building process - most of the big savings are from design decisions focused on optimizing, operability, maintainability and durability.  

Green building has been included in the Sustainability section of this website (see above)
Click through to the construction management section.


Useful External Web-links & Resources

GPM Green Project Management: 

UN Sustainable Development website:

Manifesto for responsible project management:


Easy Stakeholder Management

Stakeholder Work Sheet

Work Performance Management

Stakeholder on a Page

Communication Plan

Risk Register

Work Performance Management

Risk Management Plan

Project Charter Template

Easy EVM

EVM Work Sheet

Work Performance Management