ARCOM (Sept 2012).pdf (105.35 kB)
Download file

Integrating responsible sourcing in the construction supply chain

Download (105.35 kB)
conference contribution
posted on 30.04.2015, 10:41 by James Upstill-Goddard, Jacqui Glass, Andrew Dainty, Ian Nicholson
Certification to industry standards is the most tangible means for a company to prove its commitment to sustainability issues. The construction sector is of particular interest, due to the huge impacts of its operations. Many companies operating within the sector have implemented environmental management systems in line with ISO 14001 although recently the industry has become focused on the concept of responsible sourcing (RS); the ethical management of sustainability issues associated with products and materials in the construction supply chain. An adoption of this concept can be evidenced by certification to BES 6001, the framework standard for responsible sourcing. Despite this, the number of accreditations is relatively low and knowledge and awareness of RS is still limited. This review paper explores the reasons behind the under-emphasis of RS within the industry, despite a continually increasing knowledge of the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) agenda. Currently, opinion is divided on whether CSR and RS represent a form of corporate philanthropy or a channel by which revenue can be increased. The issue is further complicated by the presence of engineered-to-order (ETO) products, which creates barriers to the enactment of RS and CSR principles. These are explored and possible explanations for their absence from supply chain management issues offered. Furthermore, the potential to extend the interpretation and application of the ISO 14001 framework to demonstrate the consideration of these principles is presented. Other certification schemes of particular significance to the industry and the problems for companies to achieve certification are also discussed; in particular, access to financial and other resources are identified as a key barrier to certification, especially for SMEs. Recommendations are made for future research that might enable SMEs to achieve sustainability certification more readily and to help the industry embrace the concept of RS more broadly.


This research forms part of an Engineering Doctorate (EngD) programme, sponsored by Responsible Solutions and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), which is managed through the Centre for Innovative and Collaborative Construction Engineering, based at the School of Civil and Building Engineering at Loughborough University.



  • Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering

Published in

Association of Researchers in Construction Management, ARCOM 2012 - Proceedings of the 28th Annual Conference




1311 - 1319


UPSTILL-GODDARD, J.D. ... et al, 2012. Integrating responsible sourcing in the construction supply chain. IN: Smith, S.D. (ed). Proceedings of the 28th Annual ARCOM Conference, 3rd-5th September 2012, Edinburgh. Association of Researchers in Construction Management, pp. 1311 - 1319.


Association of Researchers in Construction Management (ARCOM)


VoR (Version of Record)

Publisher statement

This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at:

Publication date



This conference paper was presented at the 28th Annual ARCOM Conference held on the 3rd-5th September 2012, in Edinburgh.