LIZ CARROLL writes that with sustainability increasingly high on everyone’s agenda, there are many things that construction firms do to become more sustainable in their operations.
Using lean principles to reduce waste, designing for net zero and using the circular economy are just three of many sustainable routes for those in the Irish construction sector to take on.
Government spending constitutes between 10% and 12% of Ireland’s GDP. This provides Ireland’s public sector with significant influence to stimulate the provision of more resource-efficient, less polluting goods, services and works within the marketplace. As such, the public sector has a responsibility to promote green procurement to support Ireland’s environmental and wider sustainable development objectives. To this end, all procurement using public funds must include green criteria by 2023. It is not only the public sector choosing green procurement; many investors and clients in the private sector are also moving in this direction.
What is green procurement?
According to the European Commission (2016), “Green Procurement is a process whereby private, public and semi-public authorities meet their needs for goods, services, works and utilities by choosing solutions that have a reduced impact on the environment throughout their lifecycle, as compared to alternative products/solutions.”
Life cycle costs and the environmental and economic impacts from the cradle to the grave are now accounted for. Public and some private clients now include the social dimension of contracts by being cognisant of how they impact employment, social inclusion, human rights and ethical trade.
To support the sector, the Construction Professionals Skillnet offers a Green Procurement workshop delivered by sustainability consultancy Davy Horizons and based on CIF’s Green Procurement Guidebook.
The workshop brings participants through what they need to do to effectively complete the key steps to prepare for the upcoming changes in public procurement. As well as pursuing certification such as ISO14001, the following steps will bring a construction company well on its way to meeting the requirements of green procurement.
The Five Key Green Procurement Steps
- Update policies, management plans and risk assessments to incorporate all new legislative changes. This will protect internal systems and ISO certificates. An effectively managed ISO certificate is a guaranteed way to highlight a company’s environmental commitments.
- Measure baseline environmental performance data of main contractors and the supply chain. This will be a starting point for setting sustainability KPIs that can reduce overheads while providing environmental benefit.
- Set wider sustainability KPIs for waste, water, biodiversity, diversity and inclusion, volunteering, social interactions and community development. There needs to be a shift in the industry from CSR committees to stand-alone sustainability teams.
- Incorporate sustainable procurement requirements that reflect green public procurement (GPP) processes into existing procurement and estimating teams. Develop a supply chain minimum requirements or code of conduct that can be included in future contracts.
- Life Cycle Costing Assessments, which include the whole life-cycle costs of items such as purchase price, use and maintenance, decommissioning and disposal, are key to GPP and should be included as part of the estimating, purchasing and tendering process.
Five steps to best in class green procurement
There are a further five steps for those who want to move to best in class.
- Develop a sustainable procurement team to work with the sustainability team to ensure all items procured meet GPP requirements, building regulations and green building certification requirements (LEED/BREEAM/nZEB) as a minimum.
- In construction, preventing waste and promoting reuse is central to the circular economy.
- Build a sustainability section on the company website to highlight policies and strategies, modern slavery statements and good news stories.
- Start collecting Scope 1 and Scope 2 carbon data and prepare a strategy for Scope 3, which you can control.
- Setting science-based targets and targeting A on CDP for climate change, water and forests are now seen as the gold standard for companies targeting ambitious corporate climate action.
GREEN PROCUREMENT VIRTUAL WORKSHOP
22 September 2022 9.30am – 4.30pm
You will learn:
- What is green procurement
- Who is required to implement Green Public Procurement (GPP)
- The types of evidence you will need to provide in the public tendering process
- The 10 steps your company needs to take to prepare for GPP
- How to do a life-cycle cost analysis
- How to set up a resource-efficient construction site
- How to incorporate GPP into your existing policies and procedures.
Attendees are invited to submit some real-life examples to be used during the training. The number of participants is limited to a maximum of 20.
For further information or to book, contact Liz Carroll at firstname.lastname@example.org
About The Construction Professionals Skillnet
The Construction Professionals Skillnet provides subsidised training for the construction industry.
To learn more about these and other available courses, contact Liz Carroll at email@example.com or visit www.cpskillnet.ie