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Title: Lowering CO2 emissions : a framework for overcoming institutional pressures and diffusing low carbon strategy throughout the construction supply chain
Author: Jervis, Emily
ISNI:       0000 0004 6057 9851
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2015
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The construction industry is responsible for approximately 50 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions (Ramesh et al., 2010). With an increase in anthropogenic emissions linked to the rise in global temperatures and climate change, many of the most highly emitting industries have been coerced in to looking for ways to measure their emissions outputs in line with potential emissions legislation (Wang, Chang and Nunn, 2010; Ortiz et al., 2009). The response to the perceived pressure has been an industry movement towards the use of technological measurement systems. In recent times there has been an abundance of life cycle analysis (LCA) technology available, however, thus far none have achieved widespread uptake in the construction industry (Strategic Forum for Construction, 2010). The technological understanding of emissions measurement is apparent yet the industry has failed to implement it. The lack of uptake has led to a perception that the problem faced may not be entrenched in the technology but may be due to behavioural characteristics of the construction industry itself. The motivation for this research was the sponsoring company’s drive to redevelop LCA by understanding the associated behavioural barriers to its development and implementation. The purpose of this research was firstly to analyse the failures of technological life cycle analysis methods, with the prospect of formulating a novel supply chain perspective to LCA, capable of understanding behavioural barriers to sustainable construction. By addressing construction supply chain structures and institutional barriers to the diffusion of innovative strategy, an evaluation of the impact that institutional isomorphic pressure has on the diffusion of low carbon innovation was facilitated. Understanding the construction industry as an institution enables an understanding of how behavioural implications impact the introduction of novel practices. Due to the quantitative focus of previous research, empirical data was collected using qualitative methods consisting of a focus group and a series of expert interviews with construction industry professionals. The qualitative approach addressed the need for research which moves beyond the generalisation of quantitative findings in prior emissions studies. The results show that the most important factors in the construction industry which impact on the diffusion of low carbon strategy are centred on the supply chain, client power, collaboration, risk and cost. The noted themes were found to link to institutional pressures which inhibit the diffusion of low carbon innovation. The result of the data collection was the development of a networked supply chain model which could theoretically help the industry to transcend institutional pressure barriers though collaborative approaches to LCA. The key implication of the study is the acknowledgement of the criticality of collaborative approaches in LCA. The resultant networked supply chain model alongside the establishment of key institutional pressure barriers could have a positive effect on the future development of life cycle analysis systems. The hierarchical and linear structure of the current supply chain is not conducive to low carbon construction. The contribution of this research is the furthering of collaborative supply chain knowledge in the development of low carbon construction.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available