Landmark international partnership to unlock power of sustainable finance on a global scale

06 Mar 2024

Alliance of BRE, GBCA and USGBC’s green building rating systems – BREEAM, Green Star and LEED.

The UK-based Building Research Establishment (BRE), Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) and the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) have announced an industry-first, international alliance to unlock the sustainable finance needed for the built environment to play its role in meeting global climate goals.

The alliance will see the three organisations work together to ensure investors, property owners, developers and governments have the information they need to enact transformational change in the built environment.

A major part of this will be demonstrating the critical role that verification and certification schemes play in supporting ESG reporting. This will involve raising awareness of the world’s top green building rating systems – BREEAM*, Green Star** and LEED*** – in the real estate and finance sectors, communities which will play a key role in driving the change required to tackle the climate emergency head-on.

Currently the three rating systems collectively help hundreds of thousands of buildings and projects drive towards net zero and ESG goals worldwide.

This alliance comes against the backdrop of last year’s UN Global Stocktake report, which found that the international community is not on track to reach the goals of the 2015 Paris Accord. Even if all nations achieve their current Paris targets, the UN forecasts warming of 2.5 to 2.9 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial levels by the end of the century, far beyond what scientists consider safe levels.

The first in a series of milestones in the alliance will be the publication of a practical guide at London Climate Action Week in June 2024, exploring the sustainable finance instruments currently available to the real estate market, such as green loans and green bonds.

The sustainable finance guide will build on an initial document developed by GBCA and launched to the Australian market in 2023. The upcoming version is set to drive awareness of sustainable finance mechanisms among the real estate sector and demonstrate how rating systems like BREEAM, Green Star and LEED ensure compliance with multiple sustainable classification frameworks used globally, such as the EU and UK green taxonomies.

Gillian Charlesworth, Chief Executive Officer of the Building Research Establishment, said:

“In an era where environmental sustainability is not just a responsibility but a necessity, we fully recognise the need to drive a deeper understanding of the role of sustainable finance in addressing global challenges – most notably climate change.

With our new alliance with the GBCA and USGBC, BRE hopes to strengthen global cooperation between the finance and real estate industries, and in doing so increase the uptake of sustainable finance mechanisms and deliver a decarbonised built environment not just in the UK, but across the world as well.”

Davina Rooney, Chief Executive Officer of the Green Building Council of Australia, said:

“This global alliance shows that the world’s major sustainability rating systems are aligned – not just on climate science – but on how we can ensure that all buildings are able to transition to a decarbonised future.

As we move through a global sustainable finance revolution, together, we have the potential to unlock significant benefits for buildings, the environment and for people. Green Building Council of Australia looks forward to taking this first important step with the USGBC and BREEAM.”

Peter Templeton, Chief Executive Officer of the U.S. Green Building Council, said:

“The green building community has proven that buildings can accelerate global decarbonization while advancing critical human health, climate resilience, and social equity imperatives.

“Increasing the flow of capital to buildings and portfolios delivering these outcomes is essential to expanding the scale and impact of this work. I’m thrilled to partner with BRE and GBCA to strengthen alignment and coordination with the financial sector and to create a model of global collaboration to transform the built environment.”

The GBCA was established in 2002 with the support of BRE and USGBC. The two most widely used green building systems, BREEAM and LEED, were developed and are delivered by the BRE and USGBC respectively.