Early planning and engagement key to Olympic sustainable procurement

31 July 2012

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31 July 2012 | Kamalpreet Badasha

Early planning and setting challenge targets at the start was key to making the construction of Olympic venues sustainable.

A report produced by Action Sustainability, Learning Legacy: Lessons learned from the London 2012 Games construction project also emphasized that the leadership and management environment can make the greatest difference in supporting sustainable objectives as part of the procurement process.

“The lessons learned from the Olympics would be to implement system requirements early on so that the management of the procurement process can flow down through the supply chain. Early planning and setting challenging targets from the very beginning is essential,” Shaun McCarthy, director of Action Sustainability told SM.

The report stated the planning stages are crucial, as clear sustainability policy objectives need to be outlined. The objectives’ success will depend on the support of management and engagement with the supplier market to ensure what it is possible to achieve. Supplier engagement should also involve setting specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely (SMART) goals. For example, the waste procurement strategy used a framework with a stipulated target of recycling 90 per cent of construction waste in the contract. Suppliers must be monitored and their performance measured to check that objectives are being met.

It also highlighted resources must be used efficiently. For example, the reusing of soil at the Olympic site allowed £68 million to be saved, as money was not spent disposing of it. It said it is important to research what the market can deliver in the required timeframe. Research should also cover what sustainable solutions are already available that can provide life value, for example, the Olympic and Paralympic Village used new lighting technology which was energy efficient. This also includes using investigative data to explore possible initiatives. The whole design concept of the project must cover sustainability aspects. To do this involved expert advice to ensure all savings associated with factors including carbon footprint are made.

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