Green buildings firmly on the election agenda

07 October 2020

Photo by Jesse Collins on Unsplash

Thanks to all of you who tuned in to our World Green Building Week events. It was a massive week of online discussions, with a great lineup of speakers tackling key issues, ranging from social procurement, wellbeing, and climate change to the effectiveness of a shovel ready approach, and the role of the financial services industry in delivering a healthy, green Aotearoa.

All of the events are available to enjoy again on our website, so please do have a watch if you missed any, and feel free to share with your colleagues too.

This year, more people than ever before attended our World Green Building Week events, which shows the large and growing momentum behind our movement. This momentum for green buildings and healthy homes is being reflected in the policy announcements of our political parties in the runup to the election, in a way we haven’t seen in previous elections.

Thanks to people like you, green buildings are firmly on the political agenda like never before in Aotearoa. Recent days have seen political proclamations on energy performance certificates, net zero energy buildings, energy efficient public sector buildings, government building to at least 5 Green Star standards, and overhauling the Building Code. We love hearing your feedback about our work, and one message you’ve been telling us over the last couple of years is to up our advocacy for green buildings and healthy homes.

We’ve listened, and it seems our efforts are gaining traction. We’ve met with officials, ministers, other advocacy groups, held endless zoom calls at all hours, crafted letters, written policy proposals, promoted ideas at events and in the media over recent years. Working with you, we have kept fighting for better homes and buildings. And whatever the make-up of the next government, we’ll be continuing to get the advocacy tool out of the shed and to hammer home the many benefits of sustainable buildings to key politicians.

Recent weeks also saw a major government announcement on climate change. In a world first, New Zealand listed companies will be made to report on climate change risk.

The policy will force about 200 large financial organisations in New Zealand to disclose how exposed their business and investments are to climate-change related risk. Any bank, credit union, building society, investment scheme, insurer, or Crown Financial Institution with more than $1billion in assets will be required to either disclose this risk or explain why it has not. These 200 or so institutions will cover 90 per cent of the assets controlled in New Zealand, and includes large crown investors such as ACC and the NZ Super Fund.

This is important because, as the Climate Change Minister said when announcing this significant step, “what gets measured, gets managed”. A thorough knowledge of the climate impacts being faced will encourage businesses to change and switch to low carbon strategies.

As always, thank you for all you do to make our buildings healthier, greener places for New Zealanders. Do please get in touch with me or anyone else at the Green Building Council with any feedback, questions or suggestions about our work.

And, if you haven’t done so already: vote!