New business model to measure organisational and project-level impact of the SDGs
Achievement of the United Nations’ 2030 Global Goals for Sustainability is of paramount importance. However, for engineers and project managers to take meaningful action, they need the practical tools, processes and leadership to turn grand rhetoric into viable engineering solutions. Linking infrastructure project sustainability performance to sustainable development goals (SDG) targets is problematic.
This article builds on the previous development of an innovative infrastructure business model, called the “Infrastructure SDG Impact-Value Chain” (IVC) to link local-level project delivery with global-level SDG impacts. It uses a case study of a water utility company to demonstrate how the IVC business model can integrate the “triple bottom line” to ensure the balanced definition of success across economic, environmental and social thematic areas.
The results led to a proposed methodology for business leaders to align stakeholders on a common definition of project success during the design phase. The study includes the selection of longer-term outcomes and strategic SDG impacts, which, it is suggested, are improved definitions of project success. Although the findings that are from a single case study cannot automatically be extended to the entire water industry, the study’s methodology has potential to be used to evaluate multiple projects across different sectors.
The practical application is significant since it offers the flexibility to be used at both project and portfolio levels, thereby linking tactical delivery to organisational SDG impacts and leading to improved investment decisions with increased likelihood of success in achieving the SDG 2030 targets.
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Mansell, P., Philbin, S.P. & Broyd, T. 2020. Development of a New Business Model to Measure Organizational and Project-Level SDG Impact—Case Study of a Water Utility Company.