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News I published 15 November 2023 I Henri Busker

Who are the main influencers for sustainable construction?

Sustainability is a hot topic in the building construction sector. The business value chain of building construction consists of various stakeholders, however. For manufacturers of sustainable construction materials and products, it is imperative to know who of those stakeholders has the most influence when it comes to the sustainability of the construction process.  

So who drives sustainable construction? To provide an answer, we focused on the perspective of contractors, who are themselves a central part of the building construction value chain. For USP Marketing Consultancy’s Contractor Monitor, we asked contractors from eight countries which stakeholders they consider most influential in promoting sustainable construction. 

Architects drive sustainability the most, but not in every country   

From the perspective of contractors from all countries combined, architects are the most influential when it comes to driving sustainable building construction. Architects are mentioned as such by 28% of all contractors. In second place are national governments, which stimulate sustainability in construction through legislation and are mentioned by 23% of contractors. Third place goes to the contractors, of whom 16% mentioned themselves as the most influential.

Looking at specific countries, these top three vary somewhat, however. Architects are considered the most influential, especially in Germany, Spain, and Belgium, but in France, contractors consider themselves more influential. In the Netherlands, architects are not even in the top three influencers, as contractors consider themselves and especially national and local governments the most influential.  

Sustainable building construction is still very much government-driven, though 

On a European level, national governments take second place in the list of stakeholders that contractors find most influential in promoting sustainable construction. But again, there are major differences at the country level. In the Netherlands, Belgium, and the UK, national governments are deemed the most influential, whereas in Spain and especially France, the national government is not even in the top three of influencers. 

When looking at the general legislative push for sustainable construction, meaning the combination of the influence of national and local governments according to contractors, the picture changes somewhat. Not only would governmental influence be in the top three in all countries, but on a European level, it would be the most important driver for sustainable construction.  

But more stakeholders are getting involved in the promotion of sustainable construction 

So the classic picture of governmental pressure for and architects’ promotion of sustainability appears once again in the above graph, but that does not mean that the situation is not changing. The results also show that contractors see a variety of other stakeholders who may not be as influential as the government or architects but who are clearly looking at and pushing for sustainable solutions more often than before.  

Given the wide variety of stakeholders in the business value chain of building construction, and in light of the abovementioned country differences, it stands to reason that the influence of these stakeholders also varies widely from country to country. For a full overview of contractors’ perspectives on sustainability and circularity in eight countries, we refer you to USP Marketing Consultancy’s Contractor Monitor. 


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