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A systematic review of responsible sourcing literature across the Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) sectors of the UK

Ball, Sophie; A.Booth, Colin; Prabhakaran, Abhinesh; Mahamadu, Abdul–Majeed; Glass, Jacqueline


Sophie Ball

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Colin Booth
Professor of Smart and Sustainable Infrastructures

Abdul–Majeed Mahamadu

Jacqueline Glass


The UK’s strategy for sustainable construction has raised concerns over the plethora of negative environmental impacts related to the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) sectors. The introduction of policy–documents (including the Construction Playbook) provide challenging targets for the AEC sectors in relation to climate change, carbon impact and social value. Thus, construction and its associated processes, in order to respond, must transform to meet with expectations. Several tools are proposed in support of this change, such as green supply chain management (GSCM) and responsible sourcing (RS). The aim of this study is to provide a systematic review of literature and research across the AEC sectors of the UK to identify the benefits and barriers to these practices and highlight opportunities for uptake. The PRISMA review process was used to identify, screen, and select (n = 50) articles. Comprehensive document analysis reveals the most frequently reported benefits relating to the uptake of RS were: (i) stakeholder value (44%); (ii) improved supply chain performance (42%); and (iii) competitive advantage (34%); whereas, the most frequently reported barriers were: (i) cost (46%); (ii) lack of awareness (28%); and (iii) industry constraints (22%). To surmise, RS clearly aligns with UK policies and AEC sectors targets. However, the barriers remain an issue that must be addressed to effectively convert construction towards a sustainable future. It is, therefore, recommended that further investigation into the adoption of sustainable behaviours is undertaken. It is also recommended that support be provided by frameworks and public spending to allow tangible case studies proving the relevance and effectiveness of RS and GSCM.


Ball, S., A.Booth, C., Prabhakaran, A., Mahamadu, A., & Glass, J. (2022, August). A systematic review of responsible sourcing literature across the Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) sectors of the UK. Paper presented at International SEEDS Conference 2022, University of the West of England

Presentation Conference Type Conference Paper (unpublished)
Conference Name International SEEDS Conference 2022
Conference Location University of the West of England
Start Date Aug 31, 2022
End Date Sep 2, 2022
Deposit Date Sep 20, 2022
Keywords Responsible Sourcing, BES6001, Green Supply Chain Management, Sustainable Construction
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