Let's double down

29 Oct 2019

Davina Rooney | CEO, Green Building Council of Australia

Australia’s green building champions have been busy. Over the last month, the GBCA and our members have grown the cohort of companies committed to net zero, joined a coordinated call to action on embodied carbon and released a practical plan for emissions reduction.

Just this week, we proudly launched Every Building Counts – A practical plan for emissions reduction in the built environment in collaboration with the Property Council. This policy toolkit, which owes much to our talented Head of Public Affairs Jonathan Cartledge, outlines 75 recommendations for all governments as we push forward to net zero.

This work follows a series of achievements for the Green Building Council of Australia and our members. Last month, while representing our members at Climate Week NYC, I witnessed inspiring leadership, ambitious action and Australian companies often standing centre stage.

Observing our international counterparts at close quarters reconfirmed what we already know – Australia’s leaders are truly ahead of the global game. (And check out our fantastic podcast with just one of Australia's inspiring leaders, Amanda Visser from The Star).

It also reconfirmed to me that we must double down on the GBCA’s mission to accelerate the sustainable transformation of Australia’s built environment. And that means bringing everyone along with us.

I’m extremely proud that Australia has the largest cohort of companies and partners signed up to the WorldGBC’s Advancing Net Zero commitment. Among our newest signatories are Multiplex, the Commonwealth Bank and Monash University.

But as we eliminate operational energy, the embodied carbon challenge looms large.

Last month, the WorldGBC launched a coordinated call to action on embodied carbon, or more accurately, ‘upfront carbon’ because 11 per cent of global emissions are created before anyone ever sets foot in a building.

Twenty GBCA members – a quarter of all the international companies involved – signed on to support the report and a bold vision for a net zero embodied carbon built environment by 2050. Our Head of Market Transformation, Jorge Chapa, drills down on the detail of this ambition in this issue of Green Building Voice.

Many product manufacturers have taken great strides forward, and I applaud the work of our members. Kingspan is on its way to net zero by 2020. Interface is a global leader in circular economy thinking. Boral has slashed its emissions by nearly a third over the last seven years. These are just three examples.

But we are on a long journey that demands deeper engagement and more joined-up thinking along every link in the value chain: construction companies and building owners, financiers and city networks, materials manufacturers, tenants and more.

We are also addressing embodied carbon through Green Star Future Focus, updating our Carbon Positive Roadmap and calling for industry feedback on the new Green Star for Communities rating tool. You can read more about our consultation paper and plans to elevate net zero commitments in Green Star for Communities below.

My experience at Climate Week also made clear the need for joined-up thinking from Australia’s political leaders. And to that end, stay tuned this week as the GBCA and the Property Council continue our long-standing collaboration with the launch of our landmark plan for governments Every building counts. Providing a practical plan for emissions reduction, our top priority is a long-term vision for net zero buildings.

There’s a lot happening and a lot of work ahead. But we know what to do, so let’s double down.