In EU, 50% of total energy consumption is due to activities related to the
construction industry. The number of employees in this industry is increasing. In
Denmark, for instance, 25% of the employees in the private sector are
employed in the construction industry. Due to this strong impact on both society
and environment, increasing sustainability in this sector is highly important.
However, despite models for Sustainable Supply Chain Management have
been proposed in literature (Seuring and Muller, 2008), still the application of
these models to construction industry is understudied (Adetunji, Price and
Fleming, 2008). Collaboration between all the players along the supply chain
(SC) is fundamental to reach sustainability performance (Rosas, MacEdo and
Camarinha-Matos, 2011; Vachon and Klassen, 2008), and the impact on
sustainability performance of a product is mainly defined by its design, thus
requiring also a strong integration within the company’s departments.
Therefore, the aim of this paper is to study the approach to sustainability used
by construction companies, and to investigate whether and how an integrated
approach to sustainability, both inside the company and along the SC, can be
leveraged to increase the effect of sustainability practices. With this purpose,
two in-depth exploratory case studies have been performed within the
construction industry in Italy. Based on the preliminary results, a research
framework has been developed. This serves as basis for further investigation
on the relationships between contingencies (e.g., firm size and ICT
implementation level), sustainability practices, both internal to the company and
along the SC, and sustainability performance.