Reducing the Complexity of Sustainable Certification

Investors, governments and private companies are demanding transparency and leadership in addressing environmental, social, governance and economic risks for major investments across the built environment.

Industry groups have responded to this need through the formation of peak industry bodies and certification frameworks.

 

As a result, sustainability success has been achieved through the suite of Green Star Rating Tools from the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA), and the suite of Infrastructure Sustainability (IS) Rating tools from the Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia (ISCA).

 

“Along with the need to deliver projects beyond traditional singular asset classes, both peak industry bodies have acknowledged the need to certify projects of mixed asset types,” says Tim Parker, Director of Sustainability for WSP. “In response, they have worked with industry to co-design the recently released Guide for Projects Seeking Dual Certification.”

 

WSP has been actively involved in the development of the Guide, which represents an important collaboration delivering efficiency and transparency in certification and assurance. This included providing an assessment of both rating tools and identifying commonalities; a technical assessment of each credit to determine the level alignment, ranging from equivalent to no alignment and drafting the final document for public presentation.

 

Tim adds, “We were engaged to undertake this role due to the multi-disciplinary capability of our in-house sustainability team – which allows us to deliver firm-wide responses to current and future challenges as our cities grow. Our people work in a cross-sector, collaborative capacity with clients across both tools and different asset types.”

 

Rarely do we see a project which is a transport-only project, a property-only project, or a utility-only project. With an increasing focus on large scale infrastructure delivery, supported by integrated built form and urban renewal, an integrated approach to sustainability has never been more important.
Sean Holmes Associate, Sustainability

 

The resulting Guide reduces the complexity of navigating two certification tools, with similar aims and aspirations, but differing asset class focus. Industry can now use the tool to assist with reducing the administrative burden of multiple forms of documentation, streamline certification and assurance and improve delivery clarity and efficiently, making complex project certification easier to navigate.

 

Sean Holmes, Associate – Sustainability at WSP says, “This is a big signal to industry. It acknowledges that today’s projects are complex, but sustainability outcomes are broad, ambitious and span asset boundaries. The Guide enables project teams to deliver outcomes seamlessly across a project, avoiding the need of rigid project segregation for certification purposes.”

 

“Rarely do we see a project which is a transport-only project, a property-only project, or a utility-only project. With an increasing focus on large scale infrastructure delivery, supported by integrated built form and urban renewal, an integrated approach to sustainability has never been more important.”

 

Technology and resources are responding to our urban needs, reshaping what is needed to meet our liveability requirements. As a result, projects have stepped beyond traditional asset classes and are blended to suit the way that we live. This integration delivers economic benefits and social value, while protecting the environment.

 

The Guide for Projects Seeking Dual Certification supports this integrated approach and delivers on the common goals of certification bodies and industry,” adds Mr Parker. “It provides a shared understanding of how Green Star – Design & As Built and IS Design & As Built rating tools can work together to deliver an integrated response to sustainability goals.”

 

This shared approach to driving transformation through the Green Star and IS rating tools, reflects increasing government, industry, investor and community demand for independent assurance that sustainable outcomes are delivered on the ground for communities.

 

“While there is no change to the urgency in which we address global sustainability issues, the Guide allows project teams to work more efficiently and effectively,” said Jorge Chapa, Head of Market Transformation for GBCA. “It is a huge boost for transport agencies, developers, designers and the certification bodies themselves.”

 

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