Sustainability in the Brazilian Heavy Construction Industry: An Analysis of Organizational Practices
2. Literature Review
2.1. Sustainability: Discourse and Practices
2.2. Sustainability in Construction
- In environmental quality, construction focuses on the following: renewable energy sources and use, efficient water usage, pollution with limits for CO2 emission and waste reduction during construction, improving the recycling process to reduce waste, protecting the environment and biodiversity such as fauna and flora, as well as using renewable and recyclable materials including salvaged materials from old buildings.
- In economic quality, companies can be efficient and competitive even if they promote the reduced use of the abovementioned items such as water, energy and adaptations in constructions while supporting local economic diversity. Companies should also promote quality for employees and all those directly and indirectly affected by the construction in addition to seeking a local workforce and sustainable planning for economic viability.
- In social quality, the ethical values should be highlighted such as providing a healthy work environment, adequate services, goods in accordance with rules and regulations and respect for the local community during construction activities. All types of information, training and equipment affecting workers and local residents should be provided.
3. Research Methods
4. Characterizing the Heavy Construction Companies Studied
|Company A||Company B||Company C|
|Gross revenue of the company (in billions)||R$40.6||R$19.0||R$18.2|
|Gross revenue in the engineering sector (in billions)||R$18.7||R$6.1||R$6.0|
|Number of employees||87,662||47,297||18,293|
4.1. Study Items
4.2. Temporal and Geographic Boundaries of the Study
|Dimension||Category||Actors and References|
|Management Concepts||Characteristics of the political, social and competitive environment in the historical context of sustainability; Political-philosophical trends; Debate on sustainable development and sustainability.||[3,5,6,34,35,36,37]|
|Business Models||Economic models and environmental impacts; Approach to sustainability; International certification; Management indicators; Socio-environmental practices.||[2,38,39,40]|
Sustainability reports disclosed by the companies studied.
|Human Resources||Economic knowledge; Intellectual capital; Lower- and higher-order leaning; Skill development.||[41,42,43,44,45,46,47]|
5.1. Business Models
|Study subjects||Business Practices (reported in the Sustainability Report)||Munilla and Miles (2005):|
Motivators for Sustainability
|COMPANY A||The report cites the existence of a board of directors.||There is no evidence regarding the composition of the board or the decisions inspired by sustainability.
According to Munilla and Miles , their motivation for sustainability is by “mere compliance” or “social pressure”. Barin  evaluates the reports and evidence of the motivation for corporate sustainability according to two types of propositions: conceptual and operational.
|COMPANY B||Board of directors is composed of a president and three vice-presidents. Company B manages the business divisions by four advisory committees: Corporate, HR, Executive and Financial Audit. There is a Sustainability Committee composed of the same members of the board’s Executive Committee that discusses strategies, goals and assessment indicators for sustainability.||The Board of Directors is detailed in its structure and there is a report of the Sustainability Committee’s existence. According to Munilla and Miles , Company B’s motivation for sustainability can be classified as strategic.|
|COMPANY C||The board of directors is composed of three representatives from each partner company. All shareholders have a position on the council. No member of the board of directors performs executive functions.||The board is detailed regarding its composition. However, no mention is made regarding actions or decisions for organizational sustainability. According to Munilla and Miles , the motivation for sustainability for Company C is by “mere compliance” or “social pressure”.|
5.2. Conceptual Matrices Dimension
- Economic development, as the company generates results for clients, shareholders and the communities where they operate
- Social development, as the company creates job opportunities and income for the population
- Environmental preservation, as the company makes rational use of natural resources utilizing clean technologies and seeking to reduce waste and mitigate the impacts caused by its operations
- Cultual diversity, as the organization encourages the integration of people from diverse backgrounds, ethnicities, sexual and religious orientations while respecting various customs
- Political participation, as the company actively contributes to the formulation of public policies aimed at promoting sustainable development
Human Resource Management
- Using interviews, key employees at the operating level of construction jobs (field managers, supervisors and technicians) are identified, and with the support of superintendents and managers, a customized training plan is developed. Tutors are chosen that will be responsible for their development.
- The company invested in training new generations arriving into the labor market. Through the internship program, the company is training young people to take on challenges with the necessary skills to work for the company in the future. In turn, the managers are trained to manage and train these interns.
7. Conclusions and Suggestions for Future Studies
Conflict of Interest
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Arruda, L.R.; De Jesus Lameira, V.; Quelhas, O.L.G.; Pereira, F.N. Sustainability in the Brazilian Heavy Construction Industry: An Analysis of Organizational Practices. Sustainability 2013, 5, 4312-4328. https://doi.org/10.3390/su5104312
Arruda LR, De Jesus Lameira V, Quelhas OLG, Pereira FN. Sustainability in the Brazilian Heavy Construction Industry: An Analysis of Organizational Practices. Sustainability. 2013; 5(10):4312-4328. https://doi.org/10.3390/su5104312Chicago/Turabian Style
Arruda, Luis Roberto, Valdir De Jesus Lameira, Osvaldo Luiz Gonçalves Quelhas, and Fernando Neves Pereira. 2013. "Sustainability in the Brazilian Heavy Construction Industry: An Analysis of Organizational Practices" Sustainability 5, no. 10: 4312-4328. https://doi.org/10.3390/su5104312