Skip to content

Construction firm achieves sustainable procurement world-first

International infrastructure firm Balfour Beatty has become the first company to achieve the ISO20400 standard for sustainable procurement, with many more expected to follow.

International infrastructure firm Balfour Beatty has become the first company to achieve the ISO20400 standard for sustainable procurement, with more expected to follow.

The new standard, launched in April, aims to help organisations of any size to develop and implement sustainable purchasing practices and policies.

It feeds a growing trend for larger companies under pressure to show transparency and accountability in their efforts to improve sustainability, not just in their own operations but also in their supply chain.

‘Tipping point’

“Societal expectations for supply chains to minimise impact on the environment and respect human rights are at a tipping point”, said Shaun McCarthy OBE, chair of the Supply Chain School.

“Procurement professionals and their stakeholders need to step up to this sustainability challenge and the standard provides a global framework for doing so. We at the School are delighted Balfour Beatty, one of our UK Partners, is leading the way, worldwide.”

Aaron Reid, head of sustainable procurement at Balfour Beatty, said: “We are extremely proud to be the first company in the world assessed against ISO 20400. 

“The standard gives us a clear framework to determine ‘what good looks like’ in terms of sustainable procurement and how we compare against it. The assessment itself was robust, practical and coherent. It held a mirror up to us as a business, enabling us to uncover areas of existing good practice to be shared and areas for improvement to focus upon.”

Construction leadership

Balfour Beatty is not the only giant in the construction industry that is making progress in its supply chain.

UK firm Carillion has announced that almost half of its contracts have now been audited for an effective implementation of a ‘carbon reduction plan’ – well above its current target of 33 per cent.

The construction sector as a whole is estimated to be responsible for around a third of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.