Commonwealth Bank (CBA) has registered seven of their bank branches to achieve Green Star ratings in a bid to stake their claim as an industry-leader in sustainability commitment.

Earlier this year, CBA was the first Australian financial institution to achieve a 5 Star Green Star assessment from the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) for the standardised branch fitout design, which could be replicated across their entire network.

The seven CBA branches registered to achieve Green Star ratings are 200 George Street in Sydney’s CBD, Narellan, Warriewood and Picton in New South Wales, Burpengary in Queensland, and Tuggeranong and Manuka in the ACT. CBA has set a target of 10 Green Star branch ratings over the current financial year.

Other banks have shown similar commitment. Westpac recently took out the 2016 Sustainability Awards - Office and Retail Fitout prize for their 6 Star Green Star St.George Barangaroo project and made $500 million worth of green bond investments in 2016. 

GBCA’s Chief Executive Officer, Romilly Madew describes CBA’s commitment to sustainability as a ‘game-changer’ for the financial services sector. She explains that many banks have been operating from Green Star-rated offices for some time, but CBA is the first to embrace a strategic, large-scale approach to sustainability, taking Australia one step closer to a zero-carbon future in a commercially viable way.

According to Ms Madew, Commonwealth Bank has the framework to roll out Green Star bank branches, and the next step is for CBA’s team to test the approach with scientific and business-like precision across a diverse range of branches to help refine their process.

The first CBA branch to achieve certification is 200 George Street, which has been awarded a 6 Star Green Star rating representing ‘world leadership’ in sustainable interiors. Assessed across nine Green Star impact categories, the 200 George Street branch incorporates low chemical paints, Forestry Standard certified timber and water-efficient fixtures and fittings, and also achieves energy savings of around 40 per cent when compared with existing branches.