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APM president sets out five steps to improve delivery on net zero

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"Organisations developing net zero carbon strategies must demonstrate commitment and capability to deliver them well" said Sue Kershaw, president of Association for Project Management (APM), at a recent event.

Speaking at an international virtual conference by the Institute for Government (IfG) on achieving net zero, APM president Sue Kershaw said that the project profession’s response to climate change represents a ‘cocktail of challenge’, but highlighted that positive change is possible if net zero planning understands the factors that will make it successful.

The event focused on the route to net zero ahead of COP26, the United Nations climate change summit that will take place in Glasgow in November. Speakers including MPs, academics economists and members of the scientific community took part to share their insight during live sessions.

Sue Kershaw’s speech served as the introduction for a session on what governments need to do to deliver net zero.

She said: “The project profession is all about improving the delivery of projects and our response to climate change is a cocktail of challenge in this respect.

“If the UK is to keep up the momentum and be ‘COP26-ready’, it needs to learn the lessons from [the coronavirus pandemic] and Brexit about ensuring it gets delivery right, and not just the policy.”

She went on to say that there is still time, but not much, to ensure the focus for net zero planning takes proper recognition of the following:

  • comprehensive and continuous stakeholder engagement and public engagement
  • a proper joined-up approach across government – and with other agents of delivery
  • ensuring the promised investment in project delivery skills and capacity at the heart of government and promoted and sustained
  • the Government embeds the latest project management thinking, for example systems thinking, and adopts a dynamic assurance approach (i.e. ensuring you get delivery as you progress, not at the end).
  • as IfG reports have stated: “Assess gaps in delivery capability and consider creating the net zero equivalents of the Olympic Delivery Authority to tackle infrastructure challenges.”

A wide variety of other climate-related topics were discussed and debated, such as how countries should pay for net zero, how to get the public on board, and how countries can work together to make a success of COP26.

You can hear Sue Kershaw’s speech and the rest of the IfG event session here.

As the chartered body for the project profession, APM is committed to tackling climate change by understanding the challenges and solutions for projects on the road to net zero. This has inspired the organisation’s approach to tackling climate change topic formed part of its influential Projecting the Future series.


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