Sustainable Construction

What must be included in sustainable contractual clauses



By Céleste Gonnon

SKEMA Business School

Paris, France



Because of the public pressure and the increase of social and environmental awareness, companies that are creating new projects must include sustainability-related clauses in their contracts. This is true for the construction field that has to respect the Corporate Social Responsibility during the construction process as well as deal with the impact the building will have on the future.

There are several elements that need to be considered in construction contracts in order to respect sustainable principles and be accredited as a green building. We will conduct a study on construction standards contracts (AIA, CSI, FIDIC, EJCDC and Consensus Docs) to determine which one suits the best for sustainability.

We will use the Multi-Attribute Decision Making method to analyze these standards contracts through the scoring attributes of the LEED Certification, which is a green building rating system. The method will show us that in the construction field, the Consensus Docs are the most complete about sustainability, as some clauses in these standards contracts are linked with the LEED.

Keywords: Contracts, sustainability, sustainable contractual clauses, project, project management, construction, Multi-Attribute Decision Making.


“In 2011, Apple has been incriminated because of terrible working conditions in one of its factories in China. Indeed, from to 2010, many assembly-line workers began committing suicides, sometimes throwing themselves off the dorm building in daylight.”[1]  This phenomenon caused great scandal worldwide, the international media spread the information and Apple had to respond to its working conditions. The public wanted to know about the causes of such stress and depression at work and also what the multinational company was willing to do to redress the situation and what measures would be applied.  This example shows how the access to information has a huge impact on what companies do in the “privacy” of their business. Ethics, social and environment are now topics companies must be concerned about because citizens can hear about a scandal in seconds. “Private commercial contracts now cover public dimensions that can’t be ignored, for example, a wood exploitation exists to make profit but also has an impact on biodiversity”[2]. Because of this indirect pressure and the increase of social and environmental awareness, companies that are creating new projects must include these topics in their contracts.

The following fishbone diagram shows why it is now necessary to include sustainability as clear and systematic information in contracts:


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Editor’s note: Student papers are authored by graduate or undergraduate students based on coursework at accredited universities or training programs.  This paper was prepared as a deliverable for the course “International Contract Management” facilitated by Dr Paul D. Giammalvo of PT Mitratata Citragraha, Jakarta, Indonesia as an Adjunct Professor under contract to SKEMA Business School for the program Master of Science in Project and Programme Management and Business Development.  http://www.skema.edu/programmes/masters-of-science. For more information on this global program (Lille and Paris in France; Belo Horizonte in Brazil), contact Dr Paul Gardiner, Global Programme Director [email protected].

How to cite this paper: Gonnon, C. (2019). Sustainable Construction: What must be included in sustainable contractual clauses, PM World Journal, Vol. VIII, Issue II (February).  Available online at https://pmworldjournal.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/pmwj79-Feb2019-Gonnon-sustainable-construction-student-paper.pdf


About the Author

Céleste Gonnon

Paris, France




Céleste Gonnon is a French student at SKEMA Business School. She studied one year and a half in Lille before doing an academic semester in Raleigh, North Carolina (United States of America). This is where she discovered the power of Project Management through efficient teamwork with international students.

Coming back to France, Céleste specialized in Project and Programme Management and Business Development. In 2019, she will write a Master’s thesis about Project Management in order to graduate with an MSc in that branch. She is also certified Prince2 and Agile PM.

Passionate about Project Management, she had several experiences in companies such as the bank ING Luxembourg, where she did a 6-month internship. She was in charge of launching new campaigns and dealing with the entire production process from brainstorming concept to implementing it with internal communication to all branches.

With the increasing awareness about climate issues, she has a keen interest in sustainability and wants to dedicate the rest of her carrier to green and social projects.

Céleste can be contacted at [email protected].


[1] Merchant, B. (2017, June 18). Life and death in Apple’s forbidden city. The Guardian.

[2] Mitkidis, K. P. (2014, January). Sustainability clauses in international supply chain contracts: regulation, enforceability and effects on ethical requirements. Nordic Journal of Commercial Law.