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Notes from the Network: GBCs in Asia Pacific Galvanise Green Building Action

The influence, ambition and momentum of WorldGBC’s Asia Pacific Network has grown significantly over the last two years. Through our Green Building Councils (GBCs), the Asia Pacific Network covers more than 90% of the population in the region, and has the potential to impact more than 40% of the world’s city dwellers! Our GBCs are growing in strength and maturity, with Indonesia joining the ranks of Established Green Building Councils earlier this year and Pakistan soon to follow.

Amongst its members, Asia Pacific has the highest percentage of Established GBCs and is poised for global leadership in this space, particularly since it is in Asia Pacific that we own much of the problem, and will hopefully deliver most of the solution. We’re also pleased to see rising awareness of the need for green buildings in the region as more than 25% of WorldGBC’s global media coverage comes from our region.

Although WorldGBC is a small organisation, we have an outsized ambition for global leadership, and through our GBCs, we have the collective ability to take local action. This is evident from the progress we have made in the adoption of our global projects in Asia Pacific. 50% of business signatories of WorldGBC’s Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment, launched at the recent Global Climate Action Summit are from Australia – AMP Capital, Frasers Property Australia, GPT, Stockland, Cundall and City of Sydney. Furthermore, GBCA has net zero carbon principles integrated in their 6 Star Green Star rating – the highest level in both design & performance. In addition, we will be signing on the first corporate activity partner in Asia, who will be supporting us in a regional dialogue on Advancing Net Zero. We’ll be announcing their name during the India Green Building Congress at the end of October, where this company is headquartered. Finally, in addition to Australia’s NZC certification, IndiaGBC and China GBC will both launch net zero carbon certifications by the end of the year.

We believe that net zero carbon buildings are also inherently great for the health and wellbeing for their occupants, and we see the ambition for different GBCs to take the lead in the health and wellbeing conversation. IndiaGBC and China GBC – with cities among the world’s most populated and the most polluted, are also launching healthy building certification this year. In addition, Singapore GBC has been named a delivery partner for the Building and Construction Authority, part of the Singapore government, to administer the Green Mark for Healthier Workplace. Besides our GBCs, our partners share our ambition: Mann + Hummel, our global sponsor for Better Places for People, has partnered with China GBC and the China Industry Technology Innovation Strategic Alliance for Healthy Building to raise awareness for the co-benefits of health & wellbeing from the adoption of green buildings.

The increasing influence and outsized ambitions have rallied the markets and the momentum is visible. We see countries stepping forward in their ambition: Australia is the first globally to have a Carbon Neutral Standard at the national level. At the recently concluded International Green Building Conference, Singapore announced their Super Low Energy rating system, which demonstrates a practical and realistic pathway for many high-rise, high-density Asian cities, focusing on increasing energy efficiency (60% improvement from Green Mark Platinum, the highest level of Green Mark today). At the city level, Cities like Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Tokyo are committing to our global Net Zero Buildings Commitment through our partner C40. In addition, China has a nearly net zero energy code of practice being established in many cities, even tier two cities like Shandong; and due to their manufacturing base, they are focusing on embodied carbon as well.

Lastly, at the recent WorldGBC Asia Pacific Leadership Awards, we received more than 30 final entries (which were selected from more than 150 entries in their respective countries). Ar Mary Chan of DLN Architects won our first ever Women in Green Building Leadership Award and for the first time we gave special recognition to projects such as Naandi, by Organo for their net zero achievements and Swire Properties Limited from their dedication to Health and Wellbeing, who also won our Business Leadership in Sustainability award. For all the winners, click here.

The next few years will be marked by further growing ambition and leadership – leading companies in the region setting ambitious targets for decarbonization supported by cities prepared to back those targets with ambitious policies! To deliver, we’ll need smart technologies for tracking and optimization of resources, and new valuation and financial instruments suited to reflect the true value and costs of both enhanced environmental performance as well as health & wellbeing of occupants.

Work with us and be the first to know! Join us as a Regional Partner and be part of the Leadership Network of green building leaders in the Asia Pacific.

Joelle Chen is Head of WorldGBC’s Asia Pacific Network.