Recent events brought industry and business leaders together on the same platform to discuss Australia’s journey towards an even better sustainable future.

‘What makes a city great?’, an event hosted by GBCA looked at the challenges and opportunities of Australia’s urban cities and Sydney in particular. It has been predicted that there will 53 billion dollars’ worth of loss of productivity by 2030 due to traffic congestion in cities across Australia. The Honourable Anthony Albanese issued a call to action for Australian industry asking them to ‘engage outwards, not just inwards’.

Delegates to the Sustainable Business in Action (SBiA) conference heard what Australian CEOs were 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 were already happening despite previous political barriers and variability. Big drivers include the risks associated with the company’s reputation; the credibility of the company’s entire supply chain; the cost of future proofing against increasing disaster mitigation; and relevant and competitive offering to an international market.

The panel of CEOs also encouraged allowing standards to take into account social inclusion metrics, rather than just focussing on environmental outcomes. GECA standards, for instance, give importance to ethical considerations and GBCA also rewards positive social and ethical decisions within their Green Star rating system.

Collaboration and certification was the key theme at the Demanding Change by Changing Demand conference, hosted by FSC in Melbourne. A viable and important vehicle, certification is not the end result, but can create simplicity from complexity and credibility amongst uncertainty.

GECA seeks environmental, ethical and economic benefits for their 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 dollars to the economy and the market can be grown even more.

Verification is one method that small businesses can use as a stepping stone towards full certification. Already successful in Brazil, this is something GECA is keen to introduce in 2016 to support SMEs who may not have the resources for certification in the early stages of business.

Good Environmental Choice Australia (GECA) licensees can feel confident, knowing that they are certified by one of the most trusted, transparent companies, voted in at 41st place in the 2015 Architecture and Design ‘Trusted Brands’ survey.

The demand for sustainable production and consumption is increasing but GECA licensees are already ahead of the game. GECA advises their licensees to make the most of the situation by highlighting the advantages that come with certification and the risks to potential and existing clients in not procuring their products.