Enhancing Environmental Performance by Green Procurement: a Case of the Construction Industry in Kenya

Topics: Environment, Supply chain management, Environmentalism Pages: 7 (1870 words) Published: July 31, 2013
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. INTRODUCTION

Along with the growing environmental awareness, the need for incentives to promote the development of environmentally friendly products and production methods increases. Taking environmental preferences into consideration in public procurement is regarded to have a considerable potential as one of these incentives. It is thus being encouraged by the authorities in many countries (Council of the European Union, 2006; Swedish Government Offices, 2007) and was also called for at the World Summit of Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in 2002 (United Nations, 2002). Green procurement preferences may be stated as environmental requirements that the product need to fulfil or that need to be fulfilled during the works or service. However, environmental procurement preferences may also be formulated as criteria for the award of the contract, applied in the evaluation of the tenders, alongside other criteria. The first green purchasing initiatives were taken during the 1980s and 1990s (Erdmenger et al, 2001). Since then, the interest for green procurement has increased (Marron, 2003) and green public procurement policies and programmes have been implemented in many countries throughout the world (Five Winds International, 2003; Ochoa & Erdmenger, 2003; Kippo-Edlund et al, 2005; Bouwer et al, 2006). Many of the green procurement initiatives and research studies have centred on the acquisition of products. Green procurement of construction contracts has also been focused, although to a less extent. The construction industry is a major contributor to environmental pollution. Construction consumes about half of all resources humans take from nature (UNEP, 2003). In OECD countries, the construction sector accounts for 25 – 40 per cent of all energy used and 30 – 50 per cent of total waste generation (ibid). In order to promote green innovations in the construction sector, environmental criteria in tender evaluation has been especially encouraged (Swedish Environmental Management Council, 2001). However, most of the studies of green procurement in this sector have mainly focused on the application of environmental requirements (Sterner, 2002; Faith-Ell, 2005). It has also been pointed out, that the environmental benefits of the green procurement initiatives are often hard prove (Faith-Ell, 2005). Objectives and scope

The aim of this thesis was to study how environmental requirements and criteria can be applied in the procurement of construction contracts, in order to enhance environmental performance in the construction sector. More specifically, the objectives were to: a) Increase the knowledge about current practice of applying environmental requirements and evaluation criteria in the procurement of construction contracts; b) Analyse the effectiveness of the applied criteria;

c) analyse how the environmental requirements and evaluation criteria can be combined to support each other; d)...
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