Environmental management system vs green specifications: How do they complement each other in the construction industry?

Tsun Ip Lam, Hon Wan Edwin Chan, Chi Kwan Chau, Chi Sun Poon, K. P. Chun

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

85 Citations (Scopus)


Environmental Management System (EMS) has been one of the important tools for sustainable construction for around two decades. However, many issues concerning sustainable development have not been properly addressed, and there is a need for the introduction of green specifications to advance green performance in construction through contract management. This paper defines green specifications, identifies the reasons for adopting green specifications and highlights the environmental issues that may not be addressed by solely adopting EMS. It also presents the results of a recent survey of practitioners concerning their opinions towards green specifications and possible impacts arising from their adoption. From the results of the survey, a framework for developing green specifications is deemed valuable for the cities striving for sustainability. Interestingly, the level of acceptable changes brought about by green specifications as perceived by different industry stakeholders is found to be unrelated to whether they were from organizations implementing EMS or not.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)788-795
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2011


  • Environmental Management Systems
  • Green specifications
  • ISO 14000
  • Sustainable construction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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