by Richard Coverley

Sustainability in Project Management

Book Review

Sustainability in Project Management
Sustainability in Project Management

By Gilbert Silvius, Ron Schipper, Julia Planko, Jasper van den Brink and Adri Kohler


Sustainability in Project Management is a very detailed and complex analysis of the subject matter, complete with a plethora of figures, tables, references and several appendices. Written in an academic style, as befits the authors, it feels very much like a text book, or academic review of the subject.


The book is broken up into six chapters, each chapter written by just two or three of the  five authors. Following an introductory chapter, the others deal with the issues of sustainability in business, of the relationship between sustainability and projects, and then move on to show how sustainability should be incorporated into project management.


The final two chapters reflect on the earlier arguments and conclusions are drawn. It finishes by trying to give some practical thrust towards turning theory into practice. Reading through Sustainability in Project Management, the principled arguments are actually quite simple, even if the detail may be complex.


I would, however, be less than honest if I did not admit to finding the book a hard read. As a text or academic reference book, it ticks the boxes. As a forum for discussion of what is undoubtedly a major issue for the profession, it is excellent. But it is not an easy read. I think that this book could have a wider audience than just its target. It could make very useful reading for business students, as well as for the project management profession and its trainees.


In conclusion, while this book may not be an award winner or a best seller, and may be read by a specialist audience rather than the general public, it clearly has an important role to play, especially as an educational tool, and a catalyst for what is an important debate.


More than once in this book the authors have quoted Dr Nelmara Arbex when she said: “In order to change the way we do things, we need to change the way we view things.” Perhaps this is the key to achieving what the authors are propounding, not just for the project management profession, but also for those responsible for the environment – be it government, business, IT, education and so on.

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