What are the extent and opportunities of Sustainable Development in the Construction Industry?




Espindola, Suzana C N L
Froese, Thomas M.

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University of Victoria


Since the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment held in Stockholm in 1972, sustainability has been a significant focus across a broad range of human activities. In 1983, the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED) introduced the popular definition of sustainable development: to meet the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs [1]. Our understanding of sustainable development has expanded to engage further complex issues such as economic development models, world food supply, poverty reduction, justice, and nature conservation [2]. Furthermore, sustainability issues and the ways that organizations address them impact not just the environment, but also employees, nearby communities, and material sources. Sustainable development is defined as the combination of the three pillars of sustainability: social, environmental, and economical. Approaches that address just one or two of the sustainability pillars does not fit the definition as a sustainable development [3]. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted in 2015 by the United Nations and committed by more than 193 countries, contains 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) approaching the three pillars of sustainability [4]. For the purposes of this research, the definition of sustainable development consists of sustainable practices involved in achieving sustainability objectives approaching the three pillars defined as sustainably developed and detailed by the 17 United Nations SDGs. This research is reviewing several relevant sustainable development codes, certification systems, and frameworks to understand the extent and opportunities of Sustainable Development in the construction industry. This research presents a consolidated list of 100 Sustainable Development Indices (100 SDI), including the sustainability targets, indicators and assessment methodologies, giving a better understanding of where and how the construction industry can contribute to the sustainable development goals.




S. Espindola and T. M. Froese, “What are the extent and opportunities of Sustainable Development in the Construction Industry?” 2nd International Conference on New Horizons in Green Civil Engineering (NHICE-02) (Online), Paper 60, Victoria, Canada, Aug. 25, 2020.