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    Products, proof and provenance

    Romilly Madew, Chief Executive, GBCA

    Now, more than ever, people want to know where their ‘stuff’ comes from. 

    Increasingly, we want assurance that our beauty products aren’t tested on animals, our shoes and clothes aren’t made in sweatshops, our food isn’t genetically modified, our coffee is organic or Fairtrade, and our meat has the Heart Foundation’s tick of approval.

    This demand for transparency is having a profound impact across entire supply chains. Selling a product is no longer about ‘biggest, fastest, cheapest’, but about what is best for people and best for the planet. ‘Impact’ is taking its place alongside ‘finance’ as a decision-making factor, whether in choices about food and products or superannuation and ‘impact investments’.

    A study from late last year, Re:Thinking Consumption: Consumers and the Future of Sustainability, found that 86 per cent of consumers believe “ingredient transparency is extremely important or very important” for companies to address as part of their products, services or operations.

    Deloitte says the rise of transparency has been driven by new technology that has accelerated real-time access to information, sharing and analysis. Customers are able to interact and influence each other’s decisions about products and services like never before. 

    It’s hardly surprising, then, that demand for sustainable products is accelerating across the property and construction industry. People want to know that their timber isn’t sourced from rainforests, that the paint they choose isn’t dripping with VOCs, that their furniture is certified with GECA or GreenTag and that their buildings are Green Star-certified and not just ‘built according to green principles’. 

    GBCA's headquarters in Sydney, The GreenHouse, meeting hub2 by BVN. Image: Emma Cross Gollings Photography

    The new Green Star- Design & As Built rating tool taps into this trend. The new ‘Life Cycle Impacts’ credit encourages project teams to undertake full life cycle assessments of building materials, while the ‘Responsible Building Materials’ credit rewards projects that source projects with Chain of Custody certification. The ‘Sustainable Products’ credit awards points when projects specify building products that can demonstrate sustainability credentials through environmental product declarations or third-party certification.

    While full product transparency might seem radical today, expect it to be as commonplace as corporate sustainability reporting and nutrition information in the future.

    Find out more about Green Star – Design & As Built: www.gbca.org.au/green-star/green-star-design-as-built/

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