Leaning in during the lean times

25 Jun 2020

How do we lean in during the lean times to do more, not less?

Last week, more than 400 of us leaned in to Green Building Day Online to explore how we can work together and snatch the opportunities in these challenging times.

The challenges are complex and deeply interconnected. Our keynote speaker Judy Slatyer, CEO Australian Red Cross, emphasised the complex interconnection between climate, community resilience and new challenges, like Covid-19, in a way that really resonated.

The financial cost of natural disasters is predicted to rise to $49 billion a year by 2050. But it is not enough to “only speak about the physical, homes and infrastructure,” Judy said. There is also the social impact, loss of life and livelihoods, stress, mental illness, debt, family breakdown and unemployment. “The impact on all that adds up to our lived environment.”

If Judy’s message was the rallying cry, our new Green Star Champions are ready to answer the call. It was an absolute privilege to acknowledge a group of extraordinary people who have done the heavy lifting on Green Star projects, many of them since our earliest days. It was a beautiful celebration of our collective progress and determination, sometimes in difficult times.

Green Building Day profiled our work on Future Homes, provided an update on Future Focus, and revealed the results of our Green Star satisfaction survey. I’m so proud of our team’s work, which is reflected in our highest Green Star satisfaction score of all time – up 11 percentage points higher in just a year, to 80%.

Green Building Day is famous for its case studies and we didn’t disappoint. The standout project was Burwood Brickworks. Frasers Property Australia’s Stephen Choi – who won the Australian Institute of Architects 2020 Leadership in Sustainability Prize – says he loves this “ordinary building” because “sustainability is not just for the most affluent members of society”.

Stephen is right. We are determined to broaden our sustainability conversation, which is why we are soon launching a new brand and visual identity that is more community-focused, accessible and digital as we lean into the future. We’ll share more in next month’s Green Building Voice.

As we launch our new brand we also bid farewell to our Head of Public Affairs & Membership, Jonathan Cartledge, who will join Infrastructure Australia as Director of Policy and Research on 13 July.

Our new brand is just part of Jonathan’s long-term legacy, which also includes our clearest advocacy position and membership value proposition (read on for further detail on how our membership has evolved in this issue of Green Building Voice).

While we will miss Jonathan’s day-to-day contributions at the GBCA, we are excited to have another strong connection in Infrastructure Australia at this critical time for built environment sustainability.

If I could distil Green Building Day Online down to one message, I would say “keep leaning in during these lean times”. Let’s continue to remain socially connected, even when physically distant, and true to our collective mission: healthy, resilient and positive places.