Challenges for implementing the sustainable development goals in the danish construction industry: building owners' perspective

Anne Nørkjær Gade, Alex Opoku

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


The construction sector holds great potential and responsibility in achieving the United Nation's 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The aim of this study is to investigate how the SDGs can be implemented in construction projects in a Danish context, and which challenges building owners face working with the SDGs. A focus group workshop was held with 22 professional building owners to investigate which challenges they encounter and what is needed to support successful implementation, along with a survey focusing on their current implementation of the SDGs. The results showed that the five SDGs with the highest prioritization among the building owners were Goal 7 (affordable and clean energy), Goal 11 (sustainable cities and communities), Goal 13 (climate action), Goal 8 (decent work and economic growth), and Goal 12 (responsible consumption and production). 94% of the building owners had implemented, or wished to implement, the SDGs in various degrees. The main challenges experienced by the building owners were a lack of local indicators, tools and methods to support the implementation of the SDGs in construction, knowledge regarding the SDGs among the building owners, and extra costs related to the implementation of the SDGs. The main solutions suggested to overcome the challenges were the development of new tools and methods supporting the practical application of the SDGs in construction, e.g., dialogue tools for goal setting and prioritisation and for measuring performance regarding the SDG in construction, along with practical examples and knowledge aimed towards the actors within the construction industry. This study provides valuable insights of the challenges experienced by professional building owners regarding the implementation of the SDGs, as a point of departure for future research and developing practical solutions to support the implementation of the SDGs.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAssociation of Researchers in Construction Management (ARCOM) Annual Conference
Pages (from-to)615-624
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2020
EventARCOM conference 2020 - Online
Duration: 7 Sept 20209 Sept 2020


ConferenceARCOM conference 2020
Internet address


  • construction, environment and energy


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  • ARCOM conference 2020

    Anne Nørkjær Gade (Paricipant)

    7 Sept 2020

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesConference

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