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European Journal of Purchasing & Supply Management 6 (2000) 195}206

Greening the construction supply chain in Singapore
George Ofori
School of Building and Real Estate, National University of Singapore, 10 Kent Ridge Crescent, Singapore 119260, Singapore Accepted 6 April 2000

Abstract It is acknowledged that construction activity has major impacts on the environment. Moreover, the construction process is usually fragmented, and involves several parties with di!erent objectives. Thus, often, none of them normally assumes direct responsibility for protecting the environment. The concept of supply chain management (SCM) is now commonly applied in business for the mutual bene"t of enterprises in the supply chain (from the organization extracting the basic raw material to the "nal customer). A basic principle of SCM is `integrationa. However, SCM is not well known in the construction industry. This paper considers the potential of applying SCM to integrate the construction process in Singapore, and thereby, address its pressing problems including its poor environmental performance. It is found that SCM can help to green the construction supply chain in Singapore. Some recommendations on how awareness of SCM can be enhanced, and its application by construction enterprises made most likely to succeed are o!ered. 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Supply chain management; Sustainable construction; `Green procurementa; Corporate environmental performance

1. Introduction 1.1. Background Like its counterparts in many countries, the construction industry in Singapore is characterized by fragmentation and poor co-ordination among project participants (CIDB, 1989) which leads to ine$ciency, waste, and quality and safety problems. Moreover, the construction industry pays inadequate attention to the protection of the environment: the participants see the responsibility as lying with others; and various authors identify di!erent main players (Ofori, 1992; Low, 1996; Tan et al., 1999). The concept of supply chain management (SCM) is viewed as a strategic tool (Dale et al., 1994) which is vital to corporate competitiveness and pro"tability in today's operating environment (Burgess, 1998). SCM can improve e$ciency and productivity, and reduce overall operating costs (Lambert et al., 1998). SCM is neither widely known nor signi"cantly applied in the construction industry in any country. Like the traditional approach to business for which SCM o!ers an alternative, in Singapore construction, business relationships are

based on narrow, short-term interests, and win}lose arrangements. It is pertinent to study the possibility of using SCM to improve the performance of construction enterprises in Singapore, especially their environmental performance. 1.2. Research objectives The study seeks to address the following questions: E what are the environmental impacts of construction activity and what are the most e!ective measures for dealing with them? Speci"cally, what is the situation in Singapore? E what are the trends in other business sectors with respect to corporate environmental commitment? E who is the customer of the construction industry? E what is SCM and how relevant is it to construction? E does SCM help to address environmental issues in economic activities? E can SCM help to green the construction supply chain in Singapore? The study is based on a review of published works in the construction management and the logistics literature, and on the Singapore construction industry. The paper starts by considering the environmental impacts of construction activity.

E-mail address: bemofori@nus.edu.sg (G. Ofori).

0969-7012/00/$ - see front matter 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved. PII: S 0 9 6 9 - 7 0 1 2 ( 0 0 ) 0 0 0 1 5 - 0

environmental impact assessments. alternative uses Immediate physical environment. It is su$cient to say here that construction activity will always involve some adverse environmental implications although `sustainable constructiona should reduce their extent. displacement of inhabitants) Economic disruption (eg. nature of terrain and ground conditions. Some contractors. Table 1 presents a brief summary of the adverse implications and considerations.g. The CIB adopted the environment as a focus research area in the second half of the 1990s. 1999b. its implications for systems (e. how land is restored (if necessary) How raw materials are processed Whether. The merits and otherwise of sustainable construction are discussed by many authors (see. 1995). potential of daylighting daylighting and natural and natural and natural ventilation) Construction project management Speci"cation. 1993. compared with a general cost increase of 3. Ofori. and waste management (Barrie. and delays to some projects (McKone. long-lasting and wide-ranging impact of construction activity on the environment is widely discussed in the Construction Management literature. and improve their Table 1 Environmental implications of construction activity and relevant considerations What is used Where raw materials are obtained Where it is built Location of facility. Construction contractors can derive savings from the minimization of resource use. increased costs of some construction inputs. neighbours Extent of use of energy and other and general public resources in operation of building Resource management (including Ease of demolition of building waste minimization) Recycling and reuse of demolition waste . International research groups have been formed: these include TG16 on `Best Practice for Sustainable Constructiona of the International Council for Research and Innovation in Building and Construction (CIB). projects and buildings are being developed. Many national and international organizations have published guidance reports and manuals. water pollution. maintainability considerations Welfare of site workers.g. loss of biodiversity) Social disruption (e. 1999). and how renewable raw materials are regenerated How materials are transported How materials are stored How materials are moved on site Source: Ofori (1999). Several cost-e!ective. pressures from environmental groups. high-performing and environmentally friendly construction materials have been introduced. in the UK. Ofori. quality.g. Pasquire. and the information base required to apply them are available. These have led to increasing statutory requirements. Increasingly complex assessment methods for materials. need for expansion. non-availability of some inputs. loss of livelihoods of previous inhabitants) Present infrastructure. ecological and land-management surveys and evaluations. The concept of sustainable construction has emerged. as the review below shows. 1997.g. its impact Impact on local vehicular tra$c How it is built Methods of construction What is built How raw materials are extracted.2%. quality management materials used systems) Site control measures Life-cycle economic. Sustainable construction involves creating constructed items using best-practice clean and resource-e$cient techniques from the extraction of the raw materials to the demolition and disposal of its components. Professional and trade bodies have prepared &green' policy papers to guide their members to adopt environmentally responsible practices. However. Construction activity and the environment The serious. Ofori / European Journal of Purchasing & Supply Management 6 (2000) 195}206 2. 1998). 1998). Shimizu of Japan. and launched international research projects which culminated in some seminal works (CIB. Building (1999) indicates that this extra cost is currently only 1% of construction cost. Some designers and contractors are responding to increasingly stringent demands of knowledgeable clients. such as Skanska of Sweden. for example. Planning and design of facility (e. proximity to water sources and ecosystems (e. 1999). Contractors are paying more attention to corporate environmental strategy. and the expression has now passed into the mainstream of Construction Management vocabulary (Hill and Bowen. The commercial merits of adopting policies of sustainability are clear (Hawken. Pasquire (1999) reports that. and Neo Corpora- tion and Dragages et Travaux Publics of Singapore have environmental management systems (EMS) * the last two are certi"ed to ISO 14000. 1999). Ofori (1999) highlights actions by organizations in various countries to address construction's environmental impacts.196 G. the cost of protecting the environment has risen from 2% of the total building cost in the 1970s to 14% in the 1990s. Cairncross.

(1999) found that Singapore contractors would only act if addressing environmental issues was made mandatory by the government. and outline research and development activities. Tan et al. The enterprises' compliance with regulations and codes would be facilitated. very few construction "rms are convinced about the merits of sustainable construction. and to improve the work environment and safety. integration of environmental policies on a global scale. architects. Tan. the concept of sustainability is not a major issue to the nation's construction clients and practitioners (Low. 3) anticipates a tax on energy and aggregates. However. Building (1999. water (from discharge of silt. in most countries. public}private partnerships. She found a high level of awareness of. Low (1996) studied the role of design in attaining sustainability on construction projects and found that the general perception in the industry was that construction was not ready for systematic environmental management. government and the international community. Michel (1998. 2. She found that local contractors continued to use timber formwork and were reluctant to adopt alternatives such as metal forms. 1993b). incorporation into the annual report of an audit of the company's contribution to green causes. the alternatives had low work cycles. 1999) seeks to create a global framework and terminology to facilitate initiatives at national and subsectoral levels. oil-based products. 50). 1997). contribution to training in handling of materials and waste. 27) puts at the top of eight major changes in the US construction industry in the past 25 years. The CIBs `Agenda 21 on Sustainable Constructiona (CIB. permanent formwork. Sustainable construction in Singapore Studies have shown that whereas some aspects of sustainable construction are evident in the operations of construction enterprises in Singapore. the alternatives would be in con#ict with the structural design. undertaking environmental audits of their buildings. 1993. Some were taking measures to comply with regulations regarding pest control. more research in the construction industry. The next few paragraphs consider the level of understanding and extent of application of sustainable construction in Singapore by reviewing some recent studies. the need to protect the environment.G. It notes that UK developers who may be keen on `greena issues `are often thwarted by hostility from their own investors or tenantsa. . 1996. p. concrete pumps and heavy vehicles). p. Foo (1997) found a low level of awareness of environmental auditing in the Singapore construction industry. noise. Tan (1994) studied the contribution of construction to deforestation. approaches towards energy conservation. It is not addressed in a deliberate manner (Ng. Lim o!ers guidelines for good practices to comply with relevant statutes and regulations. and timber formwork was more #exible. `the emergence of the environment and hazardous waste clean-up as a top national prioritya. and commitment of contractors to. Lim (1993) found that construction site workers and residents of nearby homes experienced varying levels of annoyance with noise (from machinery such as piling machines. Some works on ways of achieving sustainable construction are now reviewed. He urged the conservation of worldwide resources through more e!ective recycling and more e$cient use of resources. and more initiative from practitioners. and wastes) and air (dust and smoke) pollution. and risks and uncertainties reduced. they lacked the skills to use the alternatives. Barrie (1999b) describes major green initiatives by large UK contractors (Laing and Tarmac) and clients (Railtrack). Indeed. p. The contractors cited the following reasons: timber is more cost-e!ective. new models of production and consumption (backed by an appropriate tax structure). Ofori / European Journal of Purchasing & Supply Management 6 (2000) 195}206 197 corporate image. and taking additional initiatives such as energy conservation and recycling. contractors.1. cement slurry. to assess the use of EMS. However. and amendments to the Building Regulations. to convincing individual "rms that going green will not push them into the reda. environmental impact assessment of some activities such as quarrying. She proposed actions by clients. focusing on the use of timber formwork. Lee (1994) undertook an audit of practices on construction sites in Singapore. and placing a main board member in charge of environmental issues. Barrie (1999a) also notes that the UK government is committed to strengthening green legislation. 3) uses the phrase `joined up thinkinga which `seems to cover everything from committing the whole supply chain to making buildings more sustainable. Ofori. interest or commitment to environmental issues among all but a few large UK contractors. Attaining sustainable construction: some past works Many suggestions are made in the literature on e!ective measures which the construction industry can take to address the environmental implications of its activities. Building (1999) reports a general lack of awareness. and air and water pollution. It asks for government-subsidised innovative demonstration projects. and system formwork. She suggested ways of addressing the problem caused by the cost di!erential. 2. prefabricated elements.2. and the use of `harmful or non-recyclable materialsa (p. Building (1999. clients were less interested. Tan's cost analysis showed that only hollow core slabs were cheaper than timber formwork. education. The contractors' measures include: having an environmental policy and publishing an environmental statement.

61}62). leading to high wastage levels. Lee (1999. Ling (1998) studied `the practicality of ISO 14000 in Singapore's construction industrya (p. screening of suppliers' environmental performance by UK food retailers Gateway and home improvement chain. She noted that these `do not require sophisticated technology or expensive equipment2[but] result from the ingenuity and creativity of the people working on sitea (p. identi"ed the obstacles (project time and cost increases. have changed their corporate policies and operating practices and procedures (Hawken. 4) and its potential contribution to sustainable construction. 17). nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and consumer groups. oil and chemical industries. for example. Trends in business policies and practices In response to trends including statutory control. These include the voluntary publication of reports on environmental performance. by the Body Shop (starting in 1992). 73). Several studies show that other sectors of the economy have been paying greater attention than the construction industry to the protection of the environment from the adverse impacts of their operations. p. and air and noise pollution. or attract charges or taxes. including the proposal that the government should make certi"cation to the ISO 14000 series mandatory for large contractors. and eco-labelling. and forming partnerships with government (Cairncross. 60) reports on a `shifta characterized by `moving from considering environmental issues as peripheral to business to a holistic view of business and sustainable developmenta. encouraging innovative technology. B&Q. and their motivating factors and results. Tan (1997) found that whereas the contractors professed awareness of issues relating to sustainable construction. moving from con"dentiality to greater transparency and accountability. Businesses in many sectors are acting individually or as associations. Teo (1999) studied on-site green techniques (OGTs). intensi"ed competition. and industry-wide agreements and schemes including the `Responsible Care Programmea of the US chemicals industry. Stigson (1998. Chew (1999) showed that Singapore contractors used materials `with little regard for the environmenta (p. and encouraging "rms to adopt e!ective materials management and utilize the ISO 14000 EMS. She compared the OGT practices of local and foreign contractors. practical OGTs. they were only taking relevant action where they would otherwise infringe existing statutory regulations. viewing environmental and social issues as responsibilities for managers and all employees. reliance on foreign workers. 119) suggests that buildings should be designed. poor client support. social responsibility and corporate image. 1995). pressure from various stakeholders. In a study on the perceptions of Singapore contractors on ISO 14000. and developing a building assessment system for Singapore. 3. they perceive the environment as a business opportunity for improving their corporate image (Chung and Gillespie. a product certi"cation scheme for building materials. large extent of subcontracting. trade unions. The next section considers such trends. 1998. and di$culty in quantifying environmental costs. Anonymous (1998) gives examples of several large companies which have developed systems for measuring and monitoring their environmental . and o!ered some proposals. pp. business enterprises. constructed and managed with the environment in mind. Businesses are seeking to improve their environmental performance. She found that ine$ciencies in the usage of materials were common. p.198 G. 1998. moreover. He cites the following developments: moving from a focus on costs and threats to savings and opportunities. especially those in the environmentally sensitive areas such as the heavy manufacturing. and low level of environmental awareness). lack of knowledge. 1993). p. and recommended suitable. A study by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development concluded that good environmental performance can enhance the competitive advantage of a company. o!ering of "nancial incentives. She o!ers a framework and guidelines for its implementation within the industry and suggests measures to be taken at various levels. 10). She suggested that the government should provide leadership by increasing awareness of environmental protection as it had done for quality. environmental issues and "nancial performance are linked: the quality of the company's environmental management is a good indicator of the overall quality of its business management (Stigson. She identi"ed problems facing the implementation of environmentally friendly construction. shifting from end-of-pipe pollution clean-up to pollution prevention through cleaner production and waste minimization. even on sites run by construction "rms implementing ISO 9002 in which materials management is enshrined. Companies recognize that long-term "nancial sustainability depends on meeting high standards of corporate responsibility. introduction of voluntary standards. di$culty in assessing the impact of construction. demonstration projects on sustainable buildings. and strengthening dialogue with several stakeholders including government. Her suggested measures include education to enhance environmental awareness at all levels. Ofori / European Journal of Purchasing & Supply Management 6 (2000) 195}206 Respondents were also unwilling to implement it in future because of their: perception of additional costs and limited bene"ts. He concluded that the industry would only act to protect the environment when the client demands it. replacing `through-puta process methods with integrated systems approaches emphasizing materials recycling and re-use. waste. concentrating on energy use.

SCM can o!er the "rm greater insights into opportunities and threats which the supply chain o!ers. 1998.3. SCM is a `corea or `strategica process within the overall business enterprise architecture which serves the purpose of linking suppliers into the enterprise. the supply chain includes all the business and other organizations which are involved in the process from the extraction of raw materials to the eventual demolition of the building. According to Hewitt (1995). The next section discusses the concept of SCM. services.8% compounded annual earnings.G. Various authors give di!erent de"nitions of SCM. thus informing strategy formation.1. In construction. 4) describe SCM at Eastman Kodak to `present a single face to the customer and create one set of business processes. Larson and Rogers (1998. and its impact on corporate results (3. 1) These de"nitions are particularly relevant to the construction industry as they stress the extension of the supply chain to parties beyond the immediate client. It "rst considers its de"nition. Its e!ectiveness has an immediate impact on the e$ciency and e!ectiveness of the "rm. manufacturing of goods. Nortel. Larson and Rogers (1998) present a useful review of the evolution and state of the art of SCM.2.5% annual volume growth in 1995}1998. . 234). and growth of pro"t from US$900 million in 1994 to US$3. procurement of materials. Tibey (1999) describes how Kraft Foods redesigned its supply chain network to support its one-company strategy. SCM takes an alternative view that supply chains compete against each other. Supply chain management (SCM) 4. They consider value-adding activities of `other stakeholdersa (of which there may be many in construction). distribution of "nished goods to customers. using major manufacturing organizations such as the Ford Motor Company. Two may be considered: [The] e!ort involved in producing and delivering a "nal product from the supplier's supplier to the customer's customer (Kranz. 8. Mabert and Venkataramanan (1998. 1996. key aspects and implementation. total cycle time. and after-market support. p. 4). 4. regardless of locationa. movement of materials between facilities. 538) de"ne the supply chain as the network of facilities and activities which performs the functions of product development. Mabert and Venkataraman (1998. Its e$ciency is measured in terms of the reciprocal of total supply chain costs including inventory costs. The concept of SCM has been criticized. Instead of the traditional assumption that businesses compete one-on-one. and information that add value for customers and other stakeholders (Lambert et al. and also signify a life-cycle approach. Stevens (1989) describes the supply chain as the interconnected series of activities concerned with the planning and controlling of raw materials. 96) notes: `Supply chain design is an art (as well as a technical discipline) and deserves consideration for its extraordinary power to create and conserve valuea. designing and controlling the network of facilities and tasks which comprise the supply chain. Ofori / European Journal of Purchasing & Supply Management 6 (2000) 195}206 199 performance. a more continuous movement and integrated approach (`#owa). p. Tompkins and Jernigan (1997) suggest that it should be replaced by demand yow leadership which connotes a pull approach to product #ow for better customer service (`demanda). Burgess (1998) notes that SCM is growing in popularity as a source of competitive advantage. and the oil company Conoco. and linking the enterprise to its customers. p. p. with the customer as the only source of income for all members of the chain. including the US chemical company Monsanto. 4. and then applies it to construction. 231). (Barriers to SCM are considered below. IBM and Hewlett-Packard as examples. contractor and suppliers. Billington (1999. and disposal of its components.. p. and its success is measured by the ability of the company `to deliver the right products to customers at the right place and the right timea (p. components and "nished products from suppliers to the "nal consumer. and sometimes. 4. Features of SCM implementation SCM has been implemented in several major organizations in many sectors of the economy. 537) outline issues to consider in planning. p. Supply chain The concept of the `supply chaina provides a useful framework for analysing the construction process. SCM: dexnition and key aspects Supply chain management (SCM) is a relatively new "eld: Hewitt (1995) and Mabert and Venkataramanan (1998) give a brief history of the development of SCM.) Tracing the evolution of SCM from a series of fragmented technical disciplines and their functional grouping into logistics. The integration of key business processes from end user through original suppliers that provides products.1 billion in 1998). co-operation and dynamism (`leadershipa). Hewitt (1995) observes that few companies have reached the stage of `integrated intra-company and inter-company supply chain managementa with the objective of attaining `maximum total business process e$ciency and e!ectivenessa (p. and teamwork.

. Thus. from the initial source of supply to the ultimate end-customer. (1999. E reducing the supplier base. single-location organizations as well as large multi-site ones.4. E willingness among the parties to learn more about each other's business operations. leading to the elimination of inspections of supplied products. E development of trust among partners. They note that implementation of SCM is limited in scope: Previous literature has suggested that some or all business processes should be linked across the supply chain. the buying of supplies of each item from many companies to maintain price `competitiona. 11). a minimal exchange of information. is process based. uses time as a measure. and an atmosphere of fear. a word which is rarely appropriate to the construction process. Mabert and Venkataramanan (1998) endorse this view. as well as the tiers of customers to the point of consumption. Cooper and Ellram (1993) note that the applicability of SCM lies somewhere between fully integrated "rms and independent companies operating in the chain. a focus on negative issues. Such an approach would revolutionize the practices and operations of construction enterprises. and suspicion of one partner about the credibility of the other(s) (Hewitt. (1998) discuss implementation issues in SCM and note that managing the supply chain is a complicated task owing to the many tiers of suppliers back to the point of origin. E exchange of information on business plans and operations. In our research. The construction company must make the strategic decision of considering its suppliers and subcontractors as its long-term partners with which it is working towards a common aim and aspirations. nor were there any in the cases described in the literature. In fact the companies studied had only integrated some selected key process links2 (p. cross-functional management processes. dishonesty and frustration. in replacement of the traditional win}lose relationship of business `partnersa with di!erent objectives (Dale et al. 1995). setting of measurable objectives. broad and deep changes in the way businesses operate and in the behaviour and attitudes of all employees. and the variety of consultants it works with. is strategic in consideration. SCM deals with total business process excellence and is a new way of managing the business and its relationships with other members of the supply chain. across the supply chain. (1994) summarise the features of the implementation of SCM as follows: E conclusion of long-term contracts between parties. Burgess (1998) notes that successful implementation of SCM requires: senior management commitment. Bowersox et al. She outlines similarities between the two concepts: each involves fundamental rethinking. (1999) note that SCM seeks to enhance competitive performance by closely integrating the internal functions within a company and e!ectively linking them with the external operations of suppliers and channel members. E involvement of suppliers in the customer's product development and design processes. multiple contacts between economic entities. and future-oriented collaborative processes. characterized as it is by fragmentation. Lalonde (1998) identi"es "ve `building blocks of a solid supply chain relationshipa: sharing of information. E continuous development of supplier by the customer. SCM and construction The construction industry can learn and gain from the SCM principles and practices. and across cultural boundariesa. SCM should be considered as essential to the performance and competitiveness of the construction enterprise considering the variety of materials. Burgess (1998) highlights lessons for the application of SCM from the failure of the concept of business process re-engineering (BPR). and is facilitated by information technology. uncertainty. preparation for the unexpected and arrangement of contingency plans. 1994). complacency of suppliers. The traditional approach to business has several discernible elements: win}lose arrangements. products and components it requires on each project. This aspect is most relevant to construction.. Hindrances to SCM implementation include: barriers to communication and feedback. E commitment of the supplier to pursue continuous improvement by monitoring technological trends. Lambert et al. The objective of SCM is to maximize competitiveness and pro"tability for the company and the supply chain network including the end customer. 4. The integration of the supply chain should aim to boost e$ciency and e!ectiveness across all supply chain members. (1998) observe that the supply chain is not a chain of businesses with one-to-one business-tobusiness relationships but a network of multiple businesses and relationships. A key word in SCM is `integrationa.200 G. the range of subcontracting companies it normally engages. with suppliers taking full responsibility for the quality of their products. sharing of bene"ts and burdens. there were no examples of this. Vickery et al. These generally negative elements characterize current business relationships among construction "rms and their business partners. noting that SCM is relevant to small. Lambert et al. Ofori / European Journal of Purchasing & Supply Management 6 (2000) 195}206 Dale et al. as well as best practices among the parties. 44) suggest that `leading logistical practice can be generalized across industries. SCM is based on an alternative business relationship with the opposite of these features. p. and recognizing and addressing resistance among employees through e!ective communication.

are the main criteria. They note that on some projects involving partnering or alliancing. organized training programmes to inculcate a co-operative approach to problem solving. Can SCM help improve the environmental performance of Singapore construction enterprises? The next section discusses how companies in other sectors are using SCM to enhance their environmental performance. 177). 1987). At the same time. and strategic alliances among contractors and others within and outside the industry. The potential of SCM remains largely unexplored in Singapore construction. groups and individuals has inspired the development of procurement and purchasing policies incorporating environmental requirements which demonstrate their bargaining and buying power. Observing that SCM in construction has tended to focus on `the #ow of materials supply to site and the on-site work #ow. there was often mistrust and con#ict. Walton et al. companies must involve suppliers and purchasers to meet and even exceed the environmental expectations of their customers and their governments. The impact was many steps back up the supply chain. SCM in construction There have been attempts in many countries to integrate aspects of the construction process through procurement arrangements such as design-and-build. Pearson (1999) considers SCM as having replaced partnering as the latest buzzword of the UK construction industry. and onto strategic planning agendas. Ofori / European Journal of Purchasing & Supply Management 6 (2000) 195}206 201 4. It then considers current environmental supply management in construction. To put it simply * B&Q's environmental performance was seen to be only as good as that of its suppliers. the Ministry of Defence and Tesco) and contractors (Balfour Beatty and Tarmac) use SCM. Business relationships among construction enterprises in Singapore are still in the traditional mode highlighted above. Mainly. and possible future developments. The Japanese construction industry is well known for the `integrateda approach to projects which it adopts. 5. They are involving suppliers in projects at an early stage. . Bresnen and Marshall (1999) present case studies of client}contractor collaborations in the UK and explore `the interplay between economic and organizational factorsa and `the dynamics of power and controla (p. schedule. 1996. 2) note: In business today. governments. p.G. The contractor}supplier(s) link(s) is a small part of the construction supply chain. 99Environmental:: purchasing 5. with contractors and suppliers belonging to the same groups of "rms. Fragmentation is the norm. price. London and Kenley (1999) revisit an issue raised by some previous and later authors (see below). chainsaw in hand. communication is inadequate. 177). and managing them more e!ectively. (1998. organizing structured development programmes for them. The "rms hope to derive greater discounts from the smaller number of "rms. companies are integrating their supply chain processes to lower costs and better serve customers. for example. the incorporation of the client into construction supply chains. speed and price. and suppliers are able to respond and adapt to the company's shortand longer-term plans. 24). the parties adopt adversarial positions throughout the process. 100). it is clear that the current approach to SCM in the construction industry is limited. He reports that a few UK clients (BAA. p. established and nurtured relationships with suppliers. and long-term contractor}subcontractor relationships (Bennett et al. and sometimes. to the exclusion of the clienta (p. and so on. Development of **environmental++ purchasing The increasing environmental consciousness and commitment of businesses. From the discussion above.. These two trends are not independent. each with a greater volume of work. the "rms have: drastically reduced their supplier base (by over 75% in Balfour Beatty over two years). and B&Q was expected to do something about it (Jamison. The concept of partnering has also began to be applied in the industry. and developed systems for rating suppliers` performance on quality. Increasing government regulation and stronger public mandates for environmental accountability have brought these issues into the executive suite. The "rm can reduce projectsa contingency budgets. but the responsibility was B&Q's simply because they were purchasing the products which the timber was ultimately being made into.5. The consequences are catalogued in a recent comprehensive review of the in- dustry's practices and procedures (Construction 21 Steering Committee. companies cannot ignore environmental issues. 1999). with `the continued use of quasicompetitive mechanisms and the retention of systems of controla (p. Jamison (1996) gives an example: One in "ve of B&Q's [a UK home improvements chain] products is timber and concerns over the management of forest resources made B&Q the target of a high pro"le Friends of the Earth campaign in the late 1980s.1. London and Kenley (1999) note that the concept of SCM must be adapted to the special circumstances of the construction industry. B&Q was held directly responsible for destruction of the rainforests * yet it was not B&Q going out into the rainforests.

and non-renewable onesa. National eco-labelling schemes support environmental procurement. and creating an environmentally sensitive corporate culture. Lamming and Hampson (1996) expect environmental pressures to increase in the future. Holmes observes that `being bulk purchasers local authorities can take the lead in developing the market in many of [the] alternatives to materials with negative environmental impacts. Pepsico and Procter and Gamble. Walton et al. The development of supplier evaluation systems that place signi"cant weight on objective environmental criteria can play a major role in in#uencing supplier behaviour. research on it is only now beginning to emerge. They note that it is an increasingly common practice which is e!ectively greening the supply chain. They include Germany's Blue Angel started in 1978. Du Pont. To help enhance the environmental performance of its suppliers. the UK Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply launched voluntary guidelines for purchasers entitled `Buying into the Environmenta (Anonymous. They cite procurement practices of several corporations in Europe (such as Mercedes of Germany) and the US (such as General Mills and Dow Chemicals) and highlight signi"cant di!erences between European and US purchasing managers with regard to `environmental purchasinga. and establishment of agreed targets for further environmental performance improvements by suppliers. 1999) which `re#ects its strategic objectives of best value. 44). and recycling materialsa. `Green purchasinga or `environmental purchasinga is now well covered in the Logistics literature: Hamner and del Rosario (1998) present a useful review. He advocates a partnership between purchasing o$cers. reuse. 1996). reducing waste. Wu and Dunn (1995) point out that to minimize total environmental impact. recycling. 1996). 28) de"ne `environmental purchasinga as consisting of `purchasing's involvement in activities that include reduction. Japan's Eco-Mark in 1989 and Canada's Environmental Choice in 1990. An example is Canada's `Going Greena Building Programme which promotes the use of innovative technologies and processes for existing and new federal facilities (Bradet. understanding of environmental issues a!ecting the organization and its supply chain. B&Q introduced a purchasing programme entitled `supplier environmental audita (SEA) to monitor their environmental performance and identify key environmental issues for the business (Jamison. p. They observe that. It is becoming a key component of SCM. Min and Galle (1997) highlight the green purchasing programmes of Coca Cola. development of a purchasing policy which addresses environmental issues. among other things. Nokia. in 1991. Anonymous (1995) describes the work of the Centre for Research in Strategic Purchasing and Supply (CRiSPS) which develops and adapts environmental management concepts into practical applications for purchasing managers and strategists. Holmes (1994) highlights problems facing clients implementing `green purchasinga policies: availability. (1998) observe that other organizations such as IBM.202 G. conserving energy. environmentalists and suppliers to develop environmentally friendly products. and minimizing the depletion of nonrenewable resources. and suggest that an e!ective means of dealing with them must be implemented through the purchasing function. Stock (1992) suggests that life-cycle issues of the ultimate disposition of the materials. it must be evaluated from the total system perspective. 2) suggest that companies will thrive only when they act as whole systems including all stakeholders. In 1993. Many governments have `green purchasinga policies. must be considered as constituting an integral part of the purchasing and procurement process. and integrate total quality environmental management (TQEM) into their planning and operations. They concentrate on the supplier base of a company as the focus for supply chain environmental performance. By following the seven principles the guidelines enshrine. Holmes (1994) describes the `green purchasinga policy of the She$eld (UK) city council. using renewable resources. The Belfast city council has won several awards for its green purchasing practices (Anonymous. 1993) which are widely supported and applied. evolution of suitable methods for collecting relevant information. with recycling issues. Building materials are among its main purchases. companies should achieve: establishment of a business case to make environmental purchasing viable and part of day-to-day operations. p. The number of its suppliers with an environmental policy rose from 8% in January 1993 to 96% in January 1995. (1998. increased . BMW and Rank Xerox have focused on the opposite end of the supply chain. These include developing green products and packages. Carter et al. They note that companies must integrate other members of the supply chain into their environmental management processes which is tantamount to `greening the supply chaina. They note that many "rms are becoming environmentally proactive and are developing and implementing `greena strategies which preserve the environment while enhancing the "rm's e$ciency and e!ectiveness. Its Code for Environmental Stewardship commits it to practice green procurement. (1998. Ofori / European Journal of Purchasing & Supply Management 6 (2000) 195}206 This is true of2anyone who has made a commitment to improving their environmental performance2 . civic leadership and sustainable developmenta (p. conserving biodiversity. despite its importance. definitions of environmentally friendly products. The council's environmental policy includes: conserving the ecological process that sustains life. McIntyre et al. formulation of environmental criteria for ranking suppliers.

is studying whole-life costing as a better form of procurement. `the US is moving towards the concept of `greeninga products and processesa. 20%. both ISO 9000 and ISO 14000. review of international rules for public-sector procurement to enable them to stimulate further innovation in sustainability. quality and performance. Mills et al. including eco-labelling. The entries were evaluated as follows: architecture. and procuring contractors' services. The buildings were to be `at the cutting edge of `greeninga and were to demonstrate a range of state-of-the-art technologiesa (p. Require suppliers to disclose information about their environmental practices. 1996). of 30}50% over a short period. and contract rules especially warranties and long-term responsibilities. (1999. Westling (1998) describes programmes in Sweden. However. or certi"ed to. Institute training programmes for sup pliers to increase their knowledge of environmental implications of the company's. Ethics. and application of mechanisms other than procurement. 6. energy consumption. and lack of incentives for suppliers (Jamison. of products Table 2 Strategies in environmental purchasing Category Product standards Activity Purchase products with environmentally friendly attributes. Behaviour standards Collaboration with speci"ed performance criteria in the construction and energy areas.G. Some current strategies in environmental purchasing are presented in Table 2. CIRIA (1995. France and the US involving the collaborative purchasing by in#uential groups of buyers. preparation of international performance standards. p. 5 on quality and 5 on environmental issues. 33) note that in response to environmental pressure. and suppliers. the large UK client. pollution discharges. Safety and Treatment of a product before it gets into its business. Such competitions can form the basis of project procurement. He advocates: development of principles for formulating requirements and testing. These had led to reduction in resource use. Railtrack. . at the pre-quali"cation stage. and those with non-toxic ingredients Purchase products that disclose their environmental attributes. 6) advises clients to include past environmental track record in their criteria for selecting design consultants. Ciribini and Rigamonti (1998) urge clients to select. under which suppliers are assessed against 10 criteria. 30%. only contractors complying with. Walton et al. or increase in e$ciency. 114). including supplier resistance and constantly changing government regulations. 20%. and is planning to adopt sustainability indicators to assess bids from suppliers (Barrie. Eco-design competitions are increasingly common: an annual contest is held by the Singapore Institute of Architects. It integrated SEA with QUEST. such as those which have been eco-labelled. and Ofori (1999). QUEST aims to assess the Quality. The winning design in the eco-design competition on a condominium development in Singapore in 1996 was built as a demonstration project. (1998) note that companies will face many challenges when trying to make suppliers an integral part of their environmental programmes. studies show that this impact can be e!ectively reduced and businesses in other sectors have made progress in this regard. SCM has played a key role in the e!orts of the latter to improve theie environmental performance. 1999b). such as recycled materials. B&Q's main procurement problems were suppliers' lack of awareness and understanding of relevant environmental issues. p. p. and their own activities and Inform suppliers of technological developments relating to their operations. Development Sources: Hamner and del Rosario (1998). Discussion and recommendations The discussion so far shows that construction activity has an adverse impact on the environment. Ofori (1992) suggested that clients must adopt the environment as a project objective. ecological building techniques and considerations. 30%. They must proactively manage supply chain environmental initiatives and seek higher benchmarks rather than simple compliance with government regulations. marketing hype. Various authors urge or predict further movement towards environmental purchasing in construction. 5. and so on Audit suppliers to evaluate their environmental performance Require suppliers to implement and maintain environmental management systems Require suppliers to obtain certi"cation of their environmental management systems to a recognized standard such as ISO 14000 Work with suppliers to help them reduce environmental impacts through changes in product design and materials use Implement product stewardship programmes throughout all stages of a product's life cycle. Construction Research and Information Association (CIRIA) (1994. Ofori / European Journal of Purchasing & Supply Management 6 (2000) 195}206 203 prices. Stenberg and Kadefors (1999) outline a competition by a municipality in Sweden to procure ecological housing. Green purchasing in construction Ofori (1999) describes examples of green purchasing in construction. and economy. 139) urges clients' consultants to consider the extent to which the client wishes to restrict the short-list of tenderers to "rms which can demonstrate their commitment to environmentally responsible operations.2.

Potential of SCM The discussion above shows that SCM is of direct bene"t to construction enterprises. would be useful. 6. such as the annual `Clean and Green Weeka. `the customer'sa consultants and contractors. as a whole. their cost competitiveness and pro"t margin. and practices Generally promote environmental responsibility among all construction agencies. Distil and disseminate best practices in green procurement Institute an annual competition to recognize excellence in green procurement as an adjunct to the existing award in the broad area of the environment. Tan et al. 1993a). (1999) note that public clients. since July 1999. Greening the construction supply chain in Singapore Green procurement is likely to increase in importance in Singapore construction. such as the introduction of design-and-build (D&B). incremental implementation and development. Government should provide direct support through its procurement policies and procedures O!er incentives to support clean production processes. 6. Courses should be organized to generate the awareness of SCM among Singapore construction enterprises.2. In Singapore. The construction process is more complex than manufacturing as it has several linkages with other sectors of the economy (Hillebrandt. the public client has. owner}occupier industrial establishments will include environmental performance criteria in their choice of consultants and contractors. must consider several other stakeholders. the aspect of SCM which is most relevant is its ability to help integrate the supply chain. large and medium-sized contractors must be certi"ed to the ISO 9000 series before they can register to undertake public-sector projects * this should give a boost to SCM implementation in construction since ISO 9000 stresses company}supplier relationships. However. used its procurement practices to encourage enterprises to adopt techniques and procedures which it considers desirable (Ofori. Ofori (1999) argues that. Wider adoption of SCM in Singapore would require changes in the attitudes and business practices of construction practitioners. and pitfalls to avoid would also be useful. Ofori / European Journal of Purchasing & Supply Management 6 (2000) 195}206 In Singapore. It is a win}win business-based approach to the maintenance of relationships among enterprises which has proven potential to improve companies' overall performance including productivity. including generations yet unborn. in the early stages of wide SCM implementation in Singapore. Case studies Support and promotion Best practices and award Source: Author. SCM o!ers possible strategic advantages to individual construction enterprises and the industry.1. E!orts to integrate the Singapore construction industry. and the o!er of advisory services and "nancial incentives) (C21 Steering Committee. This implies gradual. SCM in Singapore construction should embrace the entire supply chain rather than being focused on client} contractor or contractor}supplier relationships. within and outside the country. a high level of environmental awareness in the construction industry has not been accompanied by appropriate corporate policies and procedures to address the environmental impact of construction activity. or the construction industry overseas. For example. and thus. SCM o!ers an alternative approach for integrating the construction process which is more likely to succeed. and developers may seek to engage only construction "rms with clearly evident sustainable construction policies and practices. Case studies and demonstration projects in other business sectors in Singapore. the customer extends beyond the initial client to include all users and subsequent owners over the life of the building. enterprises and practitioners. safety and environmental aspects. Implementing SCM in construction will pose challenges. Owing to public education campaigns. have not made much impact despite government support (including publicity. 1984). 1999).204 G. quality. case studies showing the rewards of SCM application. developers may soon "nd it vital for their corporate survival to demonstrate their commitment to sustainability. Given the features of construction. since the 1960s. given the long-term nature of constructed products. Indeed. or introduce contractual provisions which oblige construction companies to adopt sustainable approaches. determining the customer of the construction enterprise is not simple. To enable them to meet the increasingly stringent environmental control of their operations. and to provide them with expertise in the concept. . Moreover. Table 3 Suggestions of green procurement initiatives in Singapore construction Category Education Initiative Develop expertise in SCM within industry Train purchasing o$cers in key aspects of green procurement including performance evaluation and monitoring Increase knowledge of relevant environmental issues among construction practitioners Document successful local and overseas examples of green procurement in construction Disseminate case studies using appropriate media. and changes in educational curricula. From the environmental perspective.

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