Sustainable procurement plays a strategic role in safeguarding the environmental, economic and social impacts of the activities of an organization in a community. Over the years, Ghana has made significant progress with procurement management, infrastructure development and social development but sustainability issues remains one of the major drawbacks of current construction procurement practices and still not fully utilized in the Ghanaian construction industry. The aim of the current study was to investigate into the sustainable procurement practices by construction firms in the Ghanaian construction industry. The key drivers to the implementation of sustainable construction practices and the key challenges the firms encounter were among the issues addressed in the study. Using the Sekondi-Takoradi as a case study, a total of 60 questionnaires were administered to construction professionals who work with 30 construction firms. The data collected were analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 16 software package. The results revealed that the factors which drive or motivate construction firms in Ghana to embark on sustainable procurement are: the quest to promote corporate image, Government legislations and laws, corporate social responsibility considerations and value for money considerations. Moreover, the barriers to the implementation of sustainable procurement were: lack of basic education about sustainable procurement; lack of understanding of the sustainable procurement concept; low stakeholder education; lack of social drive; lack of client awareness and the absence of government interest in ensuring the promotion of sustainable procurement. From the study, it is recommended that public education on sustainability and enforcement of legislations should be intensified. Also, competitive bidding, e-procurement and information technologies should be encouraged to help achieve the aim of sustainable procurement among construction firms in Ghana.

1.1 Background of Study
Sustainable procurement according to Walker and Wendy (2006) is the process whereby the objectives of the supply chain involve not only sustainable development objectives but also attention is given to the social, environmental and economic impact of the process on the community. In other words, sustainable procurement (SP) considers the effect of procurement process on the community, environment, and the social effect on those delivering the product as well as the end users of the product or service. From the above definition, sustainable procurement in the construction industry can be explained as the process of ensuring that all activities of the construction industry do not have any negative impact on the ecosystem (the atmosphere, land, water bodies), the community within which the project is being constructed as well as the workers who are involved in the construction of the project. Thus sustainable procurement in the construction industry has a broad spectrum which include considering climate change issues, minimizing materials wastage, supporting communities, biodiversity and ecology considerations, ensuring the health, safety and wellbeing of workers on site, complying with labour standards (Carthy and Shaun 2011).

During the past few decades, researchers and professionals of the built environment have gained much interest in how the activities of construction firms and their suppliers can be controlled so that they do not have adverse effect on the society, the environment, and the economy of the country as a whole (Walker and Wendy 2006). Carter and Easton, (2011) noted that in many countries business organizations have been compelled to bid by environmental laws, controlling cost and managing all forms of risk. The researchers further noted that the need to gain good reputation in a community also drive most firms to embark on sustainability issues. Moreover, management of firms are more concern about sustainability issues since their customers, stakeholders, the government, a number of NGOs and even their own workers are progressively demanding that their firms address and manage the social and environmental impact of their activities (Carter and Easton 2011). Porter (2008) argued that during the award of contract, sustainability should be cardinal criteria in the selection of contractors. In the same way, procurement officers of construction firms can also impact the social and environmental performance, through the evaluation and selection of suppliers by using sustainability criteria to evaluate the suppliers.

From the above discussion, it has become progressively clear among all stakeholders that procurement can play a key role in fulfilling the sustainability development goals of a country. Through Sustainable Public Procurement (SPP), governments can demonstrate its commitment by formulating policies that will safeguard the social, environmental and economic impact of procurement activities. In the environmental sense, sustainable procurement can be useful to help the governments improve water and energy efficiency in the country. Moreover, recycling of materials will reduce the effect of wastage. Socially, pursuing sustainable development objectives will help to ensure poverty reduction, eradication of discrimination and respect for labour standards. In the economic perspective, Sustainable Public Procurement can help generate revenue, reduce cost and support technology transfer and skills development (Porter, 2008; Carter and Easton 2011).

In conclusion, sustaining procurement and achieving effective and sustainable outcomes require continuous engagement of all stakeholders especially the political class and civil society groups who understand the rules to mount pressure on the operators of the system to comply with the law.

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Item Type: Ghanaian Topic  |  Size: 54 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
Format: MS Word  |  Delivery: Within 30Mins.


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