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The Institution of Civil Engineers Institute / association Website
Last edited 12 Feb 2016

Buying green in the construction industry

‘Buying green’ is a key part of the construction industry’s drive towards greater sustainability. But a survey in the February 2016 issue of ICE Management Procurement and Law found UK firms are struggling to put sustainable procurement into practice.

Joint research by Wolverhampton, Central Lancashire and South Bank universities revealed that only 45% of UK construction businesses have a written sustainable procurement policy – and only a quarter use environmental and social criteria when selecting suppliers.

Reasons to buy green were cited as cutting operating costs, protecting or enhancing reputation, responding to stakeholder pressure, complying with government regulation or simply because the top brass said so.

Lead author Suresh Renukappa of Wolverhampton University said many UK construction firms are now focusing on a ‘triple bottom line approach, that simultaneously accounts for economic, ecological and social performance.’

But he added they are not finding it easy. ‘How to manage the paradox of improving social, environmental and financial goals simultaneously is one of a company’s biggest challenges.’

He concluded, ‘There is an urgent need to explore the drivers and impediments associated with the successful integration of sustainability procurement initiatives into existing construction business models.’

He called for greater cross-sector collaboration to capture and share best and worst practices relating to sustainable procurement strategies.

To find out more on this or any other ICE knowledge resources, including the ICE Procurement and the Supply Chain conference, go to:

--The Institution of Civil Engineers