Discerning policy and drivers for sustainable facilities management practice
Elmualim, A., Valle, R. and Kwawu, W. (2012) Discerning policy and drivers for sustainable facilities management practice. International Journal of Sustainable Built Environment, 1 (1). pp. 16-25. ISSN 2212-6090
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1016/j.ijsbe.2012.03.001
Due to the changing nature of the facilities management (FM) profession, facilities managers are increasingly engaged with the evolving sustainability agenda in the UK and the development or uptake of sustainability policies within their organisations. This study investigates how facilities managers are engaging with the sustainability agenda and the drivers, policy issues and information they use to improve their sustainability performance management. A web based self-administered questionnaire survey of facilities managers in the UK was conducted to identify drivers and issues that influence and support good sustainable practices. A total of 268 facilities managers responded. The results indicate that legislation is the most important driver for the implementation of sustainable practices. Corporate image and Organisational ethos are also recognised. However demand for efficient monitoring, management and reporting on environmental impact is not highly rated even though the top three issues of sustainability managed by facilities managers are energy management, waste and recycling management and carbon footprint. In addition, facilities managers are expected to take ownership of activities assigned to the reduction of carbon emission. Government industries and organisation with high turnover are more likely to have a sustainability policy. Financial constraints are the main barriers while legislations are the main driver for implementing sustainability. For non-profit organisations and the charitable sector, financial constraints are no hindrance to implementing a sustainability policy. The conclusion drawn is that sustainability agendas continue to be influenced by regulated environmental issues rather than a balanced approach which takes into consideration the wider social and economic aspects of sustainability. While this scenario is far from ideal, the expectation is that the organisation will trust FM to take a vital role in delivering a comprehensive sustainability policy due to the rising tide of legislation, public scrutiny, as well as the needed business case for genuinely embracing sustainability. However, as the integration of sustainability with core business strategies is continuously evolving the emphasis on different drivers will vary from organisation to organisation as well as the responsibilities of facilities managers.