Twelve years of environmental work in the Swedish construction industry
Paper i proceeding, 2011
Over the last two decades the Swedish construction sector has made much effort to develop green building practices. This paper is based on results from three questionnaire surveys, carried out in 2002, 2006 and 2010, that investigate environmental attitudes, management and performance in the Swedish construction industry. A comparison between the results makes it possible to identify
trends and institutionalizing processes that contribute as well as hinder sustainable development within the industry. The aim of this study is to empirically explore the development of environmental practice over time. The questionnaires are directed to environmental managers or alike at companies within construction, real estate, consulting engineering and architecture with at least 50
employees (20 for architects). The total number of companies included in the survey is 534 in 2002, 542 in 2006 and 458 in 2010. The response rate varies from 41% to 45%. Three general, positive trends can be identified. 1) Many, but still not all companies carry out environmental management activities especially related to an EMS. 2) Companies perceive a growing pressure, i.e. interests
and expectations, from different stakeholders. 3) The practical environmental activities of a technical nature in the companies are getting more intensive and of greater variety. The results show that the Swedish construction sector perceives the environmental work as a consequence of
self-regulation rather than as a green business opportunity. Green business seems to be a strange phenomenon in the sector, as it is difficult to establish a market without offering green products, innovations, technical development, cooperation with researchers, etc. To make a difference and change the attitude and to understand that environmental work can be much more than self-regulation,norms need to be changed.