Striving for sustainable success

The dawn of a new fiscal year gives us pause for reflection - an opportunity to celebrate the achievements we’ve made in 2018 to date. It also prompts us to look forward to the future, and ask ourselves the question: How do we strive for greater success?

The answer comes down to collaboration, innovation and commitment to achieving our vision. Our members share this vision.

This was evident recently when Green Building Day was hosted in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane. Our Members came out in force to participate in the conversation. Taking place just after the delivery of the Federal and state budgets across the country, it was timely to look at developments in each locality through the lens of the theme ‘the Future State.’

One of the key takeaways I had was that business confidence is growing across the property industry. And with infrastructure investment, and delivery, a focus outlined within many state budgets, it is more important than ever that we continue to leverage this nation-building agenda to deliver more liveable, resilient and healthy places for people and the natural environment.

Our work through Green Star is a testament to the possibilities for better communities and cities, backed by the commitment of our members, and supported by government.

To that end, the industry continues to demonstrate world leadership in delivering better places. The Royal Adelaide Hospital achieved Australia’s first 4 Star Green Star – Healthcare As Built Rating, for a large-scale hospital complex. Multiple awards were achieved by Green Star projects at the recent Property Council of Australia Awards, notably the ongoing plaudits for Barangaroo South, winning the RLB Development of the Year Award.

We know we must continue to innovate to maintain this leadership. Your active participation around Australia in our Green Star Future Focus workshops highlights industry’s shared commitment to the critical role of Green Star and the GBCA.

Over the past 12 months we’ve delivered this by shining a spotlight on social sustainability issues including modern slavery, resilience and reconciliation. In February we launched the GBCA’s first Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan, leading the way for industry. We advanced our focus on the importance of health and wellness in the built environment through our partnership with the International WELL Building Institute. We’re shaking up the Green Cities brand by introducing new activities to replace the annual conference, with our partner, the Property Council of Australia.

The GBCA is preparing for the future.  Critical to this is our ongoing thought leadership in collaboration with you, our Members. Our launch of Building with Nature, catalyses a fresh discussion on the opportunities and benefits of positively working to improve ecology and biodiversity. This is a critical issue with expanding cities, and an increasing awareness of the importance of nature in mitigation, resilience, and in delivering healthier places for people.

This week the GBCA marks another milestone on our journey.  On the 29 June, at a Ministerial breakfast event in NSW, the full Carbon Positive Roadmap discussion paper will be launched. Flagged at Green Cities, the roadmap represents a turning point for our industry as we understand the steps necessary to lead the delivery of a low-emissions future. Our additional support for the World Green Building Council’s Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment, and the launch of our own Carbon Positive Partners program alongside the Roadmap, further substantiates our commitment to collaborate globally, and with our members to deliver the commitments made in Paris in 2015.

None of this would be possible without the support of our members. As we wrap up for FY2017-18, the GBCA more than ever looks to our over 650 members, who combined, have over 50,000 staff, many of whom have been with us since the beginning of our journey in 2002, to work with us in the delivery of our vision. During this time we have certified over 30 million square metres of building space across 1900+ projects. 37 per cent of office space is Green Star certified. 6 per cent of the workforce head to a green office each day. 48,000 people live in Green Star-rated apartments. 1.3 million people visit a Green Star-rated shopping centre each day. 

Sixteen years later, times are changing rapidly.

In the words of Green Building Day keynote speaker, CSIRO Senior Principal Scientist, Dr Stefan Hajkowicz: “the building industry needs to facilitate growth, adapt to new technologies and design with the challenges of climate change in mind.”

As I return from the World Green Building Council Congress in Toronto, and more recently from New Zealand where Green Star – Communities is leading the delivery of urban sustainability through Panuku, I am excited about these changes and the future for our industry.

So as we move into a new financial year, let’s be open to the new, the unknown.  Let’s embrace change. It will work with us, not against us.