Connecting the dots

25 Nov 2021

A word from Davina Rooney, CEO, Green Building Council of Australia

“The money is here but that money needs net zero-aligned projects,” said Mark Carney, the UN Special Envoy on Climate Action and Finance, during COP26.

Perhaps the best pieces of news coming out of COP26 have been the elevated commitments from banks and other financial institutions. As just one example, the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero, 450-financial firms with $130 trillion in assets, promised to broaden, deepen and raise net zero ambitions across the financial system.

At one end we have trillions of dollars ready to invest in climate projects. On the other we have the knowledge, skills and technology to deliver green buildings. In the middle, there are a lot of dots to connect.

At the GBCA, we spend a lot of time connecting those dots – whether it’s the dots between finance and projects, between design and operations or between targets and real-world outcomes.

It’s partly cartography – mapping out the existing terrain and marking the easiest routes. But it’s also part construction. We are building these pathways as we walk together towards net zero.

As the WorldGBC's latest report Beyond the Business Case points out, the value proposition for sustainable building is far more than financial. But we still need to connect the dots to help the money move.

This is why I’m so excited that Green Star Buildings and Green Star Homes are now aligned with the Climate Bonds Initiative. As CBI mobilises the $100 trillion bond market, Green Star’s recognition as an international pathway to net zero underpins sustainable investment. Some GBCA members are already looking to secure finance for new projects on the back of their Green Star ratings. By tying green finance to Green Star – and to highly efficient, fossil free buildings that are powered by renewables – we are helping to carve out a clear pathway to net zero.

This year we joined a few more dots by demonstrating that Green Star design ambitions translate into real-world NABERS Energy ratings in 88.1% of projects. This provides an extra layer of assurance that building owners are getting what they pay for.

There’s an art to alignment but it is something we are obsessed with at the GBCA. As Mark Carney says, the financial sector will not wait to adjust. “It will start to adjust now” – and that means giving “money, investments and loans” to businesses with “plans to prosper” in a net zero world.

As we work together on those “plans to prosper”, the GBCA will continue to work hard to connect the dots as the money moves – because we want you to spend less time writing alignment reports and more time delivering projects for a net zero world.