Hackathon: Manifesto for Ethical Sourcing

Sustainable? Responsible? Accountable? 

UPDATE: For the full Cohort Report from the Hackathon, please see here.

What can we do to ensure Construction is open, transparent and fair?

Isn’t it time the industry took a stand on Ethical Sourcing?

As Facilitator, I was delighted to support Loughborough University in a groundbreaking UK project: a Hackathon to create a Manifesto for Ethical Sourcing in Construction.

This APRES/AESOP project brings together a broad mix of representatives from leading commercial organisations and academic institutions, both from within Construction and beyond, selected for their expertise and insight.

The Manifesto carries the potential to make a profound and thought-provoking statement on behalf of Construction, challenging perceptions and energising the wider debate around business values and purpose.

What is a ‘Hackathon’ and how did it work?

The term ‘Hackathon’ comes from the world of computer software and is used to describe an intensive collaborative event where developers, programmers, designers and engineers come together in a spirit of co-creation to write and re-write software and applications, with their teamworking approach speeding and optimising development.

We adopted this innovation model for Construction to co-create a sector-wide Manifesto for Ethical Sourcing:

Firstly, we assembled a Construction Cohort of experts from industry and academia to contribute to the authoring of a provisional draft manifesto;

 Secondly, this initial draft was then opened up to team of specialists from across the built environment and the wider business world, to act as ‘Critical Friends’, whose job it was to question, amend and augment the original, performing a re-write;

 Finally, the process culminated with both the original Cohort and the Critical Friends getting together to pool knowledge and ideas, plus debate points of difference, in a collaborative ‘Hackathon’, in which an agreed, definitive version was produced – the official Manifesto for Ethical Sourcing.

The Ethical Sourcing Hackathon took place on Monday 15 June 2015, at the Royal Academy of Engineering, 3 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1Y 5DG.


The Action Programme for Responsible & Ethical Sourcing (APRES) was founded by Loughborough University and headed there by Professor Jacqui Glass. For 2015, the programme was extended (with EPSRC funding) to develop AESOP: An Ethical and Social responsibility Portfolio for construction professionals. The APRES and AESOP programmes are now owned and managed by BRE, lead by Dr Shamir Ghumra.

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