Non-financial benefits

Ongoing project

Duration : 2017-2021

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Research team

Marie-Andrée Caron (ESG UQAM)

Nathalie Drouin (KHEOPS, ESG UQAM)

Camélia Radu (ESG UQAM)

PRESENTATION OF THE RESEARCH

This study is investigating how social, environmental, societal and health benefits – that is, non-financial benefits (NFBs) – are integrated into major infrastructure projects throughout their life cycle. This involves going beyond the traditional “cost–quality–time” approach and integrating social dimensions. Some very concrete tools have been created within this framework. For example, a process in the form of a gradual exercise in several phases has been developed. Several possible approaches have also been suggested, as well as indicators that make it possible to incorporate NFBs in a project.

Non-financial benefits: definition

The non-financial benefits (NFBs) of major infrastructure projects (MIPs) correspond to the positive effects these projects generate for the environment, society, health and the economy. They also correspond to a reduction in negative effects. MIPs are essential for the economy, but they can affect a country’s resilience. Several protocols already exist for taking NFBs into consideration in MIP management. Among other things, they have emerged from the concepts of sustainable development and social and environmental responsibility. The formulation, adaptation and use of such protocols touch on significant financial and non-financial issues, which cannot be resolved by traditional project management practices and require thoughtful consideration of the value generated by MIPs.

Thus, NFBs concern the positive or negative social and environmental effects of these projects. They add to the complexity of major projects but also include a hitherto unexploited potential for added value. They are related to smart management of MIPs, under the rubric of sustainable well-being (ecology, safety, efficiency, quality, happiness, etc.). 

Example

Our population is aging. With the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen that many of the infrastructures that house our elders are out of date and provide inadequate care and a mediocre living environment. There is an urgent need for establishments that provide a pleasant living environment with adequate care and healthy recreational activities. For our seniors, acquiring a safe living environment that allows residents to maintain functional mobility while respecting employees’ workflows is essential. Indicators such as a building efficiency index, an appropriate number of care staff, a healthy indoor environment, and effective heating, air conditioning and noise control are simple examples of non-financial indicators whose incorporation could make a difference to this community’s quality of life.

OBJECTIVES AND EXPECTED BENEFITS
Objectives

  • Identify the models for integrating non-financial benefits used to manage major infrastructure projects.

Expected benefits

  • Establish best practices for identifying and measuring non-financial benefits.
  • Develop tools that will make it possible to define, select and audit infrastructure projects based on their social, economic and environmental impacts.
Research phases
Phase I: Identify existing models of non-financial benefit (NFB) integration throughout the life cycle of major infrastructure projects.

Phase II: Identify key social indicators, in collaboration with various partners and practitioners in the domain of infrastructure.

Phase III: Case studies are under way with two partner organizations. They will make it possible to identify non-financial benefits and select indicators to measure their effectiveness within businesses.

OVERVIEW OF RESULTS
A review of the scientific literature revealed that there are two kinds of approaches: analytical and holistic. The holistic approach is valuable when all project stakeholders must be integrated. Meanwhile, the analytical approach makes it possible to clearly identify the NFBs that interest stakeholders.

The co-construction approach developed by KHEOPS has shed light on the importance of connecting NFB integration protocols with the traditional tools used to manage MIPs and of promoting a culture of collaboration among stakeholders.

To come

KHEOPS activities

Workshop with project management practitioners to identify key social indicators (September 26, 2019)

KHEOPS, interview with M. A. Caron (2019). Regard sur la recherche | Gouvernance et grands projets: comment intégrer les bénéfices non financiers au cycle de vie des grands projets d’infrastructure? [online video]. YouTube. https://youtu.be/liIYmxIUTyA

 

Sommet KHEOPS: Infrastructures et enjeux sociaux. September 12, 2018. Learn more >>

Presentations

Caron, M.-A., & Drouin, N. (2019). A Systematic Review of the Integration of Non-financial Benefits in Major Projects: Co-construction of Knowledge to Monitor Complexity. 19th EURAM Conference, Lisbon, Portugal, June 26–28.

Caron, M.-A., & Drouin, N. (2018). Gouvernance et grands projets: comment intégrer les bénéfices non financiers au cycle de vie des grands projets d’infrastructure? Atelier sur la Gestion du Secteur Public (AGSP 2018), Quebec City (June 4, 2018).

Publications

Scientific articles

Caron, M.-A., Radu, C., & Drouin, N. (2020), Integration of non-financial benefits: a systematic review for engaged scholars, International Journal of Managing Projects in Business.

Radu, C., Caron, M.-A., & Arroyo, P. (2020). Integration of carbon and environmental strategies within disclosures, Journal of Cleaner Production, 244, 1–19.

Sankaran, S., Freeder, D., Pitsis, A., Clegg, S., Drouin, N., & Caron, M.-A. (2020). Megaprojects. In R. Dilworth (Ed.), Oxford Bibliographies in Urban Studies. New York: Oxford University Press (in press).

Drouin, N. (2017). A new approach: New perspectives for quantifying the benefits of infrastructure. ReNew Canada, The Infrastructure Magazine. September/October, pp. 32–33.

 

Conference proceedings

Caron, M.-A., & Drouin, N. (2019). A Systematic Review of the Integration of Non-financial Benefits in Major Projects: Co-construction of Knowledge to Monitor Complexity. 19th EURAM Conference, Lisbon, Portugal, June 26–28.

Sommet KHEOPS (2018). Infrastructures et enjeux sociaux – Bilan d’une journée de réflexion. Montreal, QC, Canada, September 12.