Keeping up with the environment: A method for environmental scanning towards sustainability strategies for construction clients

Examensarbete för masterexamen
Design and construction project management (MPDCM), MSc
Andreasson, Erik
Bolvede, Nikolina
Construction clients have significant influence over the construction industry and can help drive the development of sustainability in the industry. One way for organisations to orient themselves and develop long-term strategy aligned with external development is to perform environmental scanning. Environmental scanning is a tool for organisations to identify trends in their external environment. Building on actual practices, this study investigates how construction clients can benefit from using environmental scanning in their strategic decision making today. The thesis aims to propose a sustainability-focused environmental scanning method tailored to construction clients by looking at currently available methods, and what clients request. To investigate existing methods of environmental scanning and the role of the construction client, a thorough literature review was performed. An empirical investigation, drawing on nine interviews, and one workshop with a focus group, was carried out to understand the current practices of environmental scanning in client organisations and their needs from an environmental scanning method. All participants in the empirical study are clients in the Swedish construction industry. The findings show that several methods for environmental scanning exist, but they are not specifically aimed at or suitable for the construction sector. Furthermore, all construction clients participating in this study perform environmental scanning to some extent, but most do it with a lack of structure and miss crucial parts of the process. The clients had not reflected on how a method aimed at sustainability should be structured, but several could see the potential benefits of one. Lastly, an environmental scanning method is proposed, consisting of four steps: Internal evaluation, Scanning for trends, Analysis, Decision making and follow-up. The method is tailored to the needs and the project-oriented context of construction clients, to support their long-term strategic sustainability work. However, each client organisation has different goals and purposes for their implementation, thus the model acts as guidelines and is adaptable to different levels of the organisation.
environmental scanning, construction client, sustainability strategy, SWOT, PEST, scenario analysis, strategic scanning, sustainable business model, sustainable construction, client role in construction
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