24 April 2008
The construction industry's green procurement group has called for greater transparency in the supply chain to improve sustainability.
The group of buyers, suppliers and manufacturers aims to make lifecycle assessments of building materials mandatory. The initiative will enable buyers to view the source and history of products such as a bricks, and help them make greener choices. It is hoped assessments would push manufacturers to source and develop greener materials, while reducing their own carbon emissions.
The group also intends to lobby suppliers to share lorries when making deliveries to the same building site. It also wants all packaging to be reduced and made recyclable as a condition of sale.
Steve Millward, sustainability and quality director at materials supplier Jewson and chair of the group, said the whole supply chain, rather than individual firms, is looking for solutions to the industry's environmental impact. "We have consolidated our thinking and it is time to turn talk into action. It is our aim to inform buyers so they can make decisions not just on price, but the environment as well."
He added: "We have defined three areas where we want to make a difference, but it's still very early days. It won't be easy and results will be achieved through the accumulation of small changes."
Millward stressed the success of the group, which launched in February (News, 14 February), would depend on the willingness of companies to make changes. Members of the group include buyers from Morgan Sindall and Shepherd Construction, as well as suppliers and manufacturers such as Lafarge, Rockwool, and the Waste Resource Action Programme.