Enabling Change: Developing a Sustainability Strategy for the Road Contracting Industry in New Zealand

By Grace Susanne Schäfer, John D. St. George, Philippa M. Black, Ljiljana Erakovic and Bryan Pidwerbesky.

Published by The Sustainability Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Roading New Zealand (RNZ) represents the interests of the road contracting industry in New Zealand. Road-contracting organisations are private, for-profit organisations which deliver construction services to local government clients around the country. In the New Zealand context, local government is tasked with the implementation of sustainable development, and this is reflected in the changing needs and demands of local government authorities as clients of the road contracting industry. Aside from compliance with various environmental and health and safety regulations, road contracting organisations have no direct legal responsibility with respect to sustainable development, but must respond to their clients changing needs and the evolving regulatory landscape. RNZ wishes to provide strategic and operational guidance to the industry through the development of an industry-wide sustainability strategy. The purpose of the research described in this paper is to support the development of RNZ’s strategy.

The research builds upon two core ideas: First, sustainable development and the associated concept of sustainability are social constructs, the meaning and interpretation of which varies legitimately between actors and contexts. Second, actors within local government and the road contracting industry are using the constructs of sustainable development and sustainability as lenses to identify and discuss problems and visions of the future. These ideas suggest that to achieve and sustain action on sustainability problems and visions requires the relevant expectations for change to be embedded within the institutional contexts and drivers to which different organisations respond. The research investigates the nature, alignment, and divergence of interpretations, constructs and visions of sustainability which exist inside and outside the road contracting industry, and to investigate where drivers and levers can be developed or strengthened to facilitate action. It is hoped that the research will act as a much-needed bridge between abstract concepts and theory about sustainability, and its implementation in practice.

Keywords: Practitioners, Road Contracting Industry, Social Construct, Organisational Drivers, Sustainability Strategy

The International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability, Volume 3, Issue 4, pp.115-124. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 571.581KB).

Grace Susanne Schäfer

Doctoral Candidate, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering,, The University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand

Grace (Susanne) Schafer is a doctoral candidate at the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Auckland, New Zealand. She has a Bachelor and Masters of Science in Geology from the Department of Geology, University of Auckland. Her project partner is Roading New Zealand and Fulton Hogan Ltd. Her research is funded by a Technology Industry Fellowship (TIF) grant from Technology New Zealand and the Foundation for Research in Science and Technology (FRST).

Dr. John D. St. George

Senior Lecturer, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, The University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand

Prof. Philippa M. Black

Senior Lecturer, Department of Geology, Associate Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research), Deputy Chair of The University of Auckland Research Committee, The University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand

Dr. Ljiljana Erakovic

Senior Lecturer, Department of Management and Employment Relations, The University of Auckland Business School, The University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand

Dr. Bryan Pidwerbesky

Group Technical Manager, Fulton Hogan Ltd., Christchurch, New Zealand


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