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Building a Greener Future: The Role of Sustainable Procurement in Construction

It’s becoming critical for the construction industry to adopt more sustainable ways of working. Reports suggest that the UK won’t meet its net zero by 2050 target if it continues its current trajectory and with 40% of global carbon emissions generated by the built environment, our industry could make a huge difference.

Procurement is one area where significant improvements can be made. Up to 90% of a company’s carbon emissions can be attributed to their supply chain making it vital to adopt sustainable procurement practices.

What is sustainable procurement?

Sustainable procurement involves considering not only the cost and quality of materials and services but also their environmental, social, and ethical impact throughout the entire supply chain. This is crucial for driving environmentally responsible practices, social responsibility, and long-term economic viability within the construction industry.

Reducing the environmental impact of construction activities

Sustainable procurement encourages the usage of products, materials and equipment that have a lower environmental impact. This can include options with reduced carbon emissions, water usage and waste generation. Alternatively, you may look for items that utilise recycled or renewable materials. By choosing eco-friendly options, construction projects can contribute to reducing overall environmental damage.

Conserving resources

Promoting the use of renewable resources and materials with higher recyclability and lower depletion rates helps to conserve natural resources, mitigates the depletion of finite resources and promotes responsible consumption. This is key in the construction industry’s efforts to reduce the negative impact it has on the environment.

Generate long term cost savings

Sustainable materials are often associated with higher upfront costs but utilised well, they can lead to long-term savings through increased energy efficiency, reduced maintenance needs, and lower lifecycle costs. Because sustainable procurement considers the total cost of ownership rather than just the initial price, it will provide long-term benefits for the construction industry.

Ensure compliance

As the UK moves towards its target of producing net zero emissions by 2050, it is likely more and more legislation will be introduced to ensure businesses are operating in energy efficient, environmentally friendly ways. Introducing sustainable procurement practices to the construction industry as soon as possible increases the likelihood that companies will meet any new requirements, reducing the risk of penalties and legal issues related to non-compliance.

Develop resilience to market changes

The adoption of sustainable procurement practices can improve the construction industry’s resilience to changing market dynamics, resource availability, and consumer preferences. Companies that adapt to sustainable practices will be better positioned to thrive in a rapidly evolving market.

Enhance the construction industry’s reputation

Because such a large percentage of carbon emissions can be traced back to our industry, it’s important we demonstrate what we’re doing to reduce this. Widespread adoption of sustainable procurement initiatives within construction will show that the industry can be environmentally conscious and socially responsible, contributing to future growth and success.

Demonstrate social responsibility

Sustainable procurement doesn’t just look at environmental impact, it also considers the social impact of construction materials and services. It encourages the fair treatment of workers, safe working conditions and adherence to labour laws and ethical standards. Taken together with the environmental aspects of sustainable procurement, this represents a huge opportunity to ensure the continued success of the construction industry.


Sustainable procurement plays a vital role in the construction industry by promoting environmentally responsible practices, social accountability, and long-term economic viability. Embracing sustainability not only benefits the planet, but also enhances a company’s reputation, cost-effectiveness, and overall competitiveness in the industry.

Sustainable construction procurement with The Build Chain

We created The Build Chain to tackle the problems facing the construction industry, including sustainability. With over 500 branches nationwide, we make it easy to choose suppliers local to your site which improves efficiency and reduces emissions. Book a demo and take control of your procurement today.  

Read more: how The Build Chain utilises local supply chains for sustainable procurement

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