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Construction and the triple bottom line

Sustainability is commonly broken down into a trifecta of considerations – economic, social and environmental.

New Zealand's property and construction industry has an impact on all three. While it is a significant consumer of natural resources, it is also a significant contributor to the economy. It affects our wellbeing, and the quality of our homes, our workplaces and our natural environment.

Economic, Social, Environmental focus

Economic focus


  • The New Zealand construction industry contributed 4% to GDP in 2010
  • Every dollar spent on construction translates to three dollars of economic activity in New Zealand
  • The industry employs approximately 8% of the New Zealand workforce

Social focus


  • People spend an estimated 90% of their lives in and around buildings
  • Quality of life is directly related to the built environment in which people live, work and play
  • At work, performance, productivity and staff retention are strongly linked to the quality of the working environment

Environmental focus


  • Globally, 40% of all energy and material resources are used to build and operate buildings
  • 40% of greenhouse gas emissions come from building construction and operation
  • Construction and demolition activities are responsible for 40% of total waste generated worldwide


(Source UNEP, 2007)