Chain of Custody on Timber Products in the Construction Industry- A Case Study at Skanska Sweden

University essay from Lunds universitet/Företagsekonomiska institutionen

Abstract: Chain of Custody on timber refers to the chronological documentation throughout the value chain, from forest to consumer. For a construction company, who engages within Social Responsible Purchasing, it is important to know where purchased material origins from. Timber is especially important in this matter, since the problem with illegal logging is widespread and causes environmental damage, conflicts with indigenous populations and governmental loss in revenue. To be able to control that purchased timber origins from responsible managed forests is a desirable, yet difficult task for a construction company. The construction industry is characterized by decentralized structures, which make central procurement strategies difficult to implement. The implementation of CoC in procurement therefore needs to handle such challenges.The purpose of this thesis was to investigate the driving forces and challenges with Chain of Custody (CoC), as a procurement strategy for timber products in the construction industry. The thesis is based on literature studies and empirical research. The research method was qualitative and the study has been performed in two stages. In the first step, the Natural Resources Stakeholder Model was brought forward by the authors, to identify the stakeholders on CoC. By interviewing stakeholders, perceptions and driving forces for CoC could be analyzed. The aim with the second step was to analyze the challenges associated with CoC in a construction company. The research was performed as an interview study, where the handling of CoC in eco-certification projects was studied. By analyzing the research result with a theoretical framework, suggestions on how to handle CoC in a construction company could be brought forward. There are many stakeholders within the issue of CoC on timber, and there are almost as many perceptions on CoC in the business environment today. The conclusion is that the expression traceability is a better word to use in this context, since it covers what a construction company would like to achieve with a CoC strategy. Regarding the driving forces for CoC, CSR seem to be the most important driver for CoC in the construction industry today. Additionally, challenges with CoC include both external and internal organizational factors, such as immature market conditions, ignorance and organizational structure for implementing CoC within procurement. To be able to work with CoC, organizational change has to take place at both the strategic, tactical and operational purchasing level. Through eco-certifications, construction projects can work with CoC and gain experience and knowledge that can spread throughout the organization

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