Enhancing Environmental Performance by Green Procurement : A study of environmental procurement preferences in the construction industry

Abstract: In recent years, the general awareness of the environmental impacts that industrial production gives rise to has radically increased throughout the world. Finding ways to minimise these impacts has become a major concern of the authorities in many countries. In order to promote a more sustainable industrial production, different incentives can be used. Among these incentives, the consideration of environmental issues in public procurement is increasingly being emphasised. While much attention regarding sustainable procurement has centred on the purchase of products, this thesis focuses on green procurement of construction contracts. The construction industry is a major contributor to environmental pollution. It consumes about half of all resources humans take from nature and accounts for about 25 – 40 per cent of all energy used and about 30 – 50 per cent of all waste generated in OECD countries. In the procurement of products, the environmental impacts of the available products can be estimated and compared, for example by using tools such as life cycle assessments. When construction contracts are procured, assessing the suppliers’ environmental capabilities can be more challenging, as the contract to be procured has not yet been performed. However, at the same time, there are considerably more opportunities to steer the construction towards more environmentally friendly alternatives. In the thesis, it is suggested that the environmental requirements and the environmental criteria for tender evaluation should be used in combination, in order to safeguard environmental performance in the construction project and at the same time stimulate a green development within the industrial sector. In addition, the role of the client in ensuring that the environmental requirements are fulfilled during construction work is emphasised.