The idea that environmental sustainability should be integral to the future success and profitability of business has now become firmly entrenched. Nowhere is this more true than in the construction industry - a sector which makes an enormous contribution to employment and the national GDP, yet has only recently begun to address the sustainability agenda.
The national strategy for sustainable construction has set the framework within which the industry can make a real contribution to a better quality of life, and I am pleased that the response to date has been very positive.
I am particularly pleased to see that BAA has decided to publish details of its innovative Environmental Construction Awards scheme. The construction projects that have been shortlisted for an award in the first year of the scheme are testament to what can be achieved when major construction clients encourage environmental best practice.
The awards are also further evidence of BAA's successful pioneering partnering approach to its relationships with framework suppliers. Judging by the high number of entries submitted, I am sure that BAA's Environmental Construction Awards will act as a model for similar schemes in the industry.
As the Egan Report made clear, the key to progress in the industry is to learn from innovations and best practices that are being introduced by our leading companies.
Another notable aspect of the scheme is the involvement of CIRIA and Forum for the Future. I know that CIRIA's independence and awareness of best practice, coupled with Forum for the Future's practical approach to working with organisations to ensure progress towards sustainable development, have been major contributors to the success of BAA's scheme. The results have been very impressive and show a real commitment to sustainable construction.