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The development of a sustainability strategy to meet future sustainability requirements

Eldik, G. van (2017) The development of a sustainability strategy to meet future sustainability requirements.

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Abstract:The building sector causes considerable impact on the environment, and reducing the environmental impact has become one of the most important goals within the building sector. The increasing environmental concerns, driven by regulations and market requirements, requires the building sector to reduce its impact on the environment. Although literature on sustainability in the building sector is flourishing, little attention has been paid to the relationships between sustainability performance and business competitiveness. BAM Infra bv acknowledges the relationship between sustainability performance and business competitiveness. However, BAM Infra bv is uncertain how sustainability requirements will develop in the future, and therefore, how BAM can align its business processes and products to improve its sustainability performance in order to gain a competitive advantage. The objective of this research is to develop a competitive strategy for BAM to meet the future sustainability requirements. This research aims to identify sustainability requirements used in building projects, and future sustainability requirements from analysing sustainability goals of influential actors in the building sector. The combination of these sustainability requirements provides useful insights for the development of a competitive sustainability strategy to meet future sustainability requirements. This research uses a combination of data collection and analysing techniques. For the identification of influential actors and their influence on sustainability in the building sector, several experts have been interviewed in order to select the most influential actors. The sustainability goals of the actors are identified and substantiated by conducting a desk research. Additionally, four cases have been selected and analysed to determine the sustainability requirements within BAM its projects. Two cases from the utility and infrastructural sector have been selected. In order to compare the in essence different infrastructural and utility projects with one another, a new “project sustainability assessment method” has been introduced. This assessment method is based on relevant project information, used sustainability assesment method, sustainability ambitions, sustainability offer, and drivers & barriers and enablers for sustainability. Lastly, the data from the cases and the sustainability goals of the actors have been analysed and discussed with experts within BAM, in order to identify possibilities for improvement. This research shows that governments have a significant influence on sustainability requirements in the building sector. Governments are not merely providing legislation and policies regarding sustainability, but are also frequently involved as a client in the infrastructural sector. In the utility sector clients are more often commercial parties and require sustainability requirements to improve their corporate image. Moreover, trade associations in the building sector are identified as influential actors, and aim to reduce the impact on the environment by providing platforms of collaboration and knowledge sharing. Additionally, this research has indicated that BAM its own organisation has a significant influence on sustainability requirements in the building sector. This research shows that the sustainability requirements of the most influential actors in the building sector are mainly concerned with energy efficiency, CO2 reduction, energy transition, a circular economy, managing waste streams and the preservation of building materials. Sustainability related competition is most intensive during the tender phase of the building cycle. Clients use many different methods to assess the building performance of a bid. In the infrastructural sector the sustainability plan, CO2 performance ladder, and the Environmental Cost Indicator (ECI) are predominant methods to assess the performance of a bid. Investment costs of projects within the utility sector are relatively lower compared to the infrastructural sector, which does not necessarily require clients to tender their project publicly. Sustainability is often included in the utility sector as a topic for collaboration rather than competition. Moreover, sustainability in the utility sector is often more assessed ex-post rather than ex-ante. The VI importance of sustainability themes also differs between the utility and infrastructural sector. Sustainability requirements of the infrastructural projects were mainly concerned with: energy, material, ground and accesability themes. Sustainability requirements in the utility projects were also concerned with energy and materials but additionaly focused on well-being, social relevance and business climate themes. The assessment of project sustainability performance has showed that a clients willingness and ability to incorpoarte sustainability requirements within a project is a major enabler and driver for sustainability performance. The analysis of sustainability goals of influential actors and sustainability requirements within BAM its projects have indicated some possibilities for improvement. Sustainability requirements within the building sector are predominantly concerned with materials and energy. Therefore, it is recommended to focus BAM its sustainability strategy on providing circular products and services, and contribute to the energy transition. Circular business models should be aimed to minimise waste during the construction process. A circular business model should focus on 1) using circular supplies, 2) recovering useful resources, 3) extending product life, 4) sharing platforms and 5) retaining ownership and provide products as services (Haara, et al., 2015). The energy transition focuses on increasing energy efficiency, upscaling renewable energy generation and energy autonomy of new projects. Indirectly, the energy transition aims to reduce GHG emission and reduce the environmental impact to the environment. Energy efficient products need to be developed and projects need to generate their own energy to become truly autonomous, and minimise the impact of a project on the environment. Many technologies are already available for the energy transition. However, the real challenge is to make these technologies as cost-efficient as possible to maximise their implementation rate and impact. Moreover, the digitisation of the building sector has been identified as a major enabler and driver for improving the sustainability performance. In addition, BAM its sustainability performance largely depends on its suppliers and sub-contractors. Therefore, improved supply chain collaboration with BAM its suppliers and sub-contractors has been identified as one of the most promising driver to improve its sustainability performance. When BAM anticipates early on the developments of sustainability requirements, and is able to perform highly on their future clients sustainability requirements, BAM can obtain a competitive advantage from its competitors. Early anticipation on developments of sustainability requirements does not necessarily provides a guarantee for successful future sustainability performance. However, it does provide BAM with an useful head-start.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
BAM Infraconsult BV
Faculty:ET: Engineering Technology
Subject:56 civil engineering
Programme:Civil Engineering and Management MSc (60026)
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