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The Australian construction and infrastructure industry uses a vast amount of natural resources and accounts for approximately 70% of all material use. As an industry, there is a necessity to reduce the impact of material used, consider embodied and lifecycle impacts of materials used, and explore the advantages of using low impact products including reclaimed, recovered or recycled materials.

Responsible sourcing in Australia for the construction and infrastructure sectors is a means to manage sustainability and traceability issues throughout the supply chain, often considering social and ethical perspectives in detail. It is demonstrated through an ethos of supply chain management and product stewardship which includes social, economic and environmental dimensions. It also addresses aspects such as labour practices, health and safety, and the management of supply chains serving materials sectors upstream of the manufacturer.

Sustainability certifications from reputable industry organisations including environmental product declarations (EPDs) and eco-labels can assist you when selecting environmentally preferred products. Many contractors and clients are including responsible sourcing requirements in tender documents. As a result, an increasing number of material suppliers are providing certified responsible sourcing and product stewardship schemes (e.g. Forest Stewardship Council).

Responsible sourcing of construction and infrastructure products provides a holistic approach to managing a product from the extraction of materials through to manufacturing, processing, re-use and recycling, until its final disposal as waste with no further value.