Cities, CEOs and collaboration within certification

Image of Cities, CEOs and collaboration within certification

From Kate:

What do cities, CEOs and collaboration have in common?

These were all events in October and November this year where industries and business came together to look at moving Australia towards an even better sustainable future.

The “What makes a city great?” event hosted by GBCA looked at the challenges and opportunities of our urban cities and Sydney in particular. It is predicted that there will 53 billion dollars’ worth of loss of productivity by 2030 due to traffic congestion in our cities - a good reason for business and the bottom line to be engaged. The Honorable Anthony Albanese had a call to action for our industry, and the message was loud and clear: engage outwards, not just inwards. We need to communicate and connect with Government.

It is not just cities and infrastructure that need to act. CEOs came together as part of the Sustainable Business in Action (SBiA) conference to hear what Australian CEOs are doing in business to move towards a low carbon economy, and towards the goal of sustainable development.

CEOs from Unilever, AGL and City of Sydney confirmed that environmental drivers are already happening despite previous political barriers and variability. Big drivers are the risks associated with:

  • your company’s reputation
  • the credibility of your entire supply chain
  • the cost of future proofing against increasing disaster mitigation
  • relevant and competitive offering to an international market

Andy Vesey from AGL was truly inspiring and upfront about being Australia’s biggest emitter and committing to transitioning to being a leading, sustainable organisation. Vesey agreed that there is a sense of inevitability of end dates on all coal use for energy production.

Monica Barone from City of Sydney spoke of the need to move capital in order to move the market, stating that “if you make the rules, capital will go the right way.”

It was clear that what business doesn't like is not knowing the rules - we need predictability, and if not predictability, than we at least need stability. Albanese’s call to action here about engaging politically is more important now than ever.

The panel of CEOs also encouraged allowing standards to take into account social inclusion metrics, rather than just focussing on environmental outcomes. It is important to highlight that our GECA standards do consider ethical considerations and GBCA are also rewarding positive social and ethical decisions within their Green Star rating system.

Social and environmental standards and certification bodies also agree and are collaborating on how to make sustainable production and consumption business as usual. Collaboration and certification was the key theme at the Demanding Change by Changing Demand conference, hosted by FSC in Melbourne.

We all recognise that certification is a viable and important vehicle and not the end result, but it can create simplicity from complexity and credibility amongst uncertainty. We need to link labels to credibility and cut through the complexity for procurers and consumers. With the rise of industry-set benchmarking and organisational reporting, one needs to be aware that this does not provide independent transparency and therefore lends itself to supply chain issues.

At GECA, we know that we want environmental, ethical AND economic benefits for our manufacturers and consumers. Statistics show that 14% of Australian consumers use certification to influence their purchasing decisions. Green products are worth between 12 and 27 billion to our economy. Together, how can we grow this market even more?

December saw a big push for change at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris. We are now living in a monumental time in history where it is not only CEO’s and cities, but all global citizens, who are committing to collaboration on an international scale. December has shown that business, civil society, and governments are demanding change and commitment.

What does this mean for you?

Demand for sustainable production and consumption is growing and GECA is committed to supporting your transition to a transformed future. Our licensees can feel confident knowing that they are certified with one of the most trusted, transparent companies, with GECA being voted in at 41st place in the 2015 Architecture and Design ‘Trusted Brands’ survey.

Our question is, how can we best support all of you - manufacturers, industry professionals, governments and consumers - and help you to succeed?

For those who are yet to connect with us, make the most of the opportunity that comes with certification. Highlight the risks to your potential and existing clients in NOT procuring sustainable products.

To our valued licensees, congratulations - you are already ahead of the game. You are leading the way in committing to a better business, better Australia and a better future for all. Generations will thank you for it.