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Integrating sustainability practices into the Irish construction supply chain: main contractors' perspective

Duga Ewuga (Department of Quantity Surveying, Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool, UK)
Michael Adesi (Department of Construction Technology and Management, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana)

Built Environment Project and Asset Management

ISSN: 2044-124X

Article publication date: 15 April 2022

Issue publication date: 17 January 2023




The low level of sustainable practices in the architectural, engineering and construction (AEC) sector continues to increase. In driving sustainability practice adoption and implementation, construction-contracting firms have introduced sustainability practices to their supply chain network. This study examines the strategies adopted by large construction-contracting firms in Ireland to integrate sustainability practices into their supply chain.


The study adopts the mixed-method approach using questionnaires and interviews to collect data. The relative importance index (RII) was used to analyse the data collected through the questionnaire survey. In terms of theoretical underpinning, the study was positioned in the resourced-based view (RBV) theory, which focusses on the link between a firm's internal characteristics and performance.


The results revealed that, in building a long-term relationship, trust, knowledge of the construction process, commitment, a common goal and mutual support were the key factors considered. While in developing their supply chain, suppliers' assessment and promoting competition in the supply chain were ranked high amongst the mechanisms utilised. Additional findings revealed that long-term relationships with a supply chain organisation have little impact on the project sustainability performance; instead, close collaboration and trust amongst the project team influenced the project sustainability performance.

Research limitations/implications

The study focusses only on the main contractor's organisation. Further study will require exploring the supply chain organisations to provide a deeper understanding.

Practical implications

The research demonstrates that for construction-contracting firms to contribute positively to sustainability objectives, they will have to collaborate closely with their supply chain.


The study provided practical and empirical evidence to guide construction-contracting firms to develop strategies to drive and implement sustainable construction practices.



Ewuga, D. and Adesi, M. (2023), "Integrating sustainability practices into the Irish construction supply chain: main contractors' perspective", Built Environment Project and Asset Management, Vol. 13 No. 1, pp. 105-122.



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