Incorporating environmental sustainability issues into construction procurement at the district level in Ghana
Public procurement accounts for 50-70 per cent of imports and about 80 per cent of government expenditure. Any improvement in the public procurement system may have a direct beneficial effect on the economy and the environment. This enormous purchasing power of government can be harnessed into promoting environmental sustainable practices in the construction sector at the district level by increasing the level of environmental requirements in public contracts. Environmental considerations in public procurement have been on the international agenda since the 1992 conference in Rio, and the World summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in 2002. In Ghana, the government established a task force on Sustainable Public Procurement in 2008. The function of the task force included among other things drawing an implementation plan, identifying procurements that have sustainability issues, establishing indicators to measure sustainable public procurement operations and impact and mobilising budgetary support for sustainable public procurement activities. But until now, there is little research on the impact of this initiative on construction procurement at the local government level. The aim of this study was to explore factors driving the incorporation of environmental sustainability issues into construction procurement at the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDA’s). Data collection method chosen was questionnaire, distributed to District Engineers, Quantity Surveyors, Procurement Officers and Environmental Officers purposely selected from the twenty-two (22) districts in the western region of Ghana, based on the experiences from other studies. Data collected from the survey was further analysed, using factor analysis technique, one-sample t-test and descriptive statistics. The results revealed that though the respondents were aware of the impact of construction procurement activities on the environment they do not pay attention to addressing these issues through the procurement process. Also, though each district had environmental bye laws and many other national environmental laws, these laws are rarely incorporated into the construction procurement process. It was identified that Public Influence, Personal Skills, Leadership Influence, and Environmental Culture were the major factors driving the incorporation of environmental sustainability into construction procurement at the district level currently. The major challenges to the incorporation of environmental sustainability issues into construction procurement were identified as: Lack of Awareness, Lack of Strategy, Poor Management Support, Poor Communication and Complex Documentation and Processes. This suggests that government must take the lead role in providing the legal guidance through the Public Procurement Authority. The findings of this study are important in working out a strategy to promote the incorporation of environmental sustainability issues into construction procurement at the district level and subsequently at the national level in the long term.
A thesis submitted to the Department of Building Technology, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the Degree of Master of Philosophy in Procurement Management, 2015