A strategy for speed and scale

22 Feb 2023

A message from the CEO, Davina Rooney

We’ve hit the ground running in 2023, and there’s no clearer sign of the times than the raft of policy submissions we’ve pumped out in a matter of weeks.

The Australian Government is feverishly building the framework to meet its 43% emissions reduction target by 2030 and net zero by 2050. For our advocacy team, that means preparing more government submissions in three months than we did over the course of 2022, as we champion policies that will drive down emissions at speed and scale.

Economy-wide transformations are ahead, whether that is through reforms to the Safeguard Mechanism that will ensure Australia’s biggest polluters drive down emissions or a new National Energy Performance Strategy to finally capture the ‘first fuel’ of energy efficiency.

It’s not the first time I’ve observed that the world is like a teenager who has left their homework until the night before it is due. After two decades spent forgoing the opportunity to prepare and plan, we are now in a mad scramble at a minute to midnight.

A disorderly transition comes with clear risks. When we don’t know where we are going, any road will lead us there. But the GBCA has a clear roadmap and knows exactly which roads to take – which is why every activity this year will align with one of five priorities outlined in our 2022-2025 strategy.

For instance, we are working with governments to embrace best practice benchmarks and embed Green Star into social infrastructure. We’ve laid out clear business cases for green healthcare and schools, and have the Brisbane Olympics squarely in our sights. But the emerging opportunity of 2023 is social and public housing. The federal government has promised $10 billion for 30,000 new social and affordable housing units over the next five years through the Housing Australia Future Fund. The Victorian Government is investing $5.3 billion into the Big Housing Build and Queensland is spending $2 billion. These combined commitments represent an unmissable opportunity to set a new standard for energy efficient, healthy and resilient homes.

Meanwhile, with residential buildings responsible for 13% of our emissions, we will continue to work with industry, builders, banks, insurers to drive the uptake of Green Star Homes. Our Green Star Homes partners point to the possibilities in this issue of Green Building Voice.

Carbon is now on the national policy agenda and we will continue to advocate for all buildings to align with our Climate Positive Roadmap. From 1 January 2023, all 5 Star Green Star buildings must demonstrate they are fossil fuel free, highly efficient, powered by renewables and constructed with lower upfront emissions – something required of 6 Star buildings since 2020. The bar for 6 Star Green Star buildings has been raised higher, as all emissions that can’t be eliminated through design or technology must now be compensated with nature-based offsets.

With the circular economy another of our five priorities, we have warmly welcomed the new national Circular Economy Ministerial Advisory Group. We will continue to develop our Responsible Products Framework and product directory this year as we drive healthy, zero carbon, low impact materials through Green Star. (Check out my interview with Interface's Aiden Mullen for one inspiring example of circular economy leadership this month).

Finally, Green Star’s evolution will continue to drive best practice benchmarks and beyond. As we put the finishing touches on Green Star Performance v2 we have released a swag of resources, including a credit substitution matrix and a gap analysis tool, to help industry plan, prepare and step up.

Green Star turns 20 this year and its impact has been far reaching. But now we must go further, faster. We must drive change at speed and scale. We must whistle while we walk – and this requires a roadmap that everyone can follow.

The roadmap is set and our priorities for the year are clear. But from time to time we must lift our eyes to the horizon to see what’s possible – and that’s what we’ll be doing as we bring together politicians and policy makers, technical specialists and big picture thinkers for TRANSFORM 2023. If you haven’t booked your ticket yet, there’s still time to join us.