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Experts share tips about sustainable procurement

sustainable procurement
The Sustainable Procurement panel – from left: Mike Henderson, Michael Cross and Megan Adlen

Sustainability needs to be the biggest influence on purchasing decisions, according to experts at a recent CIOB Norwich Hub webinar, titled Sustainable Procurement.

Leading names in sustainability spoke about how it underpins procurement and how the products we buy have an impact through the life cycle of a building.

The panel represented suppliers, constructors and demolition. They were Megan Adlen, group sustainability director at Travis Perkins; Michael Cross, national head of sustainability at Willmott Dixon; and Mike Henderson, managing director at AR Demolition.

Each provided examples where changes have had a real impact on a building’s overall sustainability. They explained the complexities around sustainable procurement and suggested practical changes.

Norwich Hub member Chris Pegge FCIOB chaired the session. He commented: “Often sustainability objectives are viewed on a global level and it can be daunting to see how we
can play our part. The expert panel provided great insight and some useful takeaways.”

Top tips included:

  • Ask merchants and manufacturers about more sustainable product options, to share data.
  • Keep whole-building and whole-life thinking in mind.
  • Ask your supply chain to share how it is assessing manufacturers’ environmental claims.
  • Pick a key sustainability area to focus on and embed it in the project objectives.
  • Understand the risk you are buying.
  • Use published sustainability standards that already exist; don’t reinvent the wheel.
  • Look for ways of establishing consistency, reducing waste and providing certainty of outcomes.
  • Share the problem with your supply chain and benefit from its expertise
  • Early engagement with the demolition sector, manufacturers, architects and designers is key.
  • Understand innovation and techniques available for material recovery at the end of a building’s life.
  • Consider the end-of-life reusability or recyclability of products during the design stage
  • How much of your building/project can be reused/recycled?
  • Think of including the reuse/recycle of materials on existing sites into the plans for new ones and engage with your demolition contractor for advice.

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