CEO's Better Buildings Partnership

(6.30pm, Wednesday 28 November 2012, Reception Room, Sydney Town Hall)

Hello, everyone and welcome. I'd like firstly to acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora nation, the traditional custodians of our land, and to pay my respects to their Elders. I also acknowledge the people of 200 nations who live in our city.

I want to thank you for the fantastic efforts and leadership shown by your staff in working with us to make Sydney a leading sustainable city. The partnership has been up and running for almost 18 months now, and you've engaged with us at both the strategic and practical levels, tackling the big issues in helping develop our Master Plan and in scoping for tri-generation. You've also helped in our development of systems and networks to promote change, such as the best practice leasing symposium. Together, we've laid some great foundations for this program, and I thank you all for your contribution.

The work has begun but we still have a long way to go towards meeting our 2030 targets. Next year will bring new challenges as we move from planning and benchmarking on to action. and we can't afford to slacken off or get complacent now.

As our 2030 consultations showed, there is a definite community and city-worker expectation that Sydney becomes a green and sustainable city.

There is also the knowledge that our competitor cities in Asia are making huge investments in sustainable buildings and transport, and we cannot afford to fall behind now. So your continued involvement and support is vital for Sydney.

Monica and I were pleased on our recent site tours of some of your buildings to see the breadth of energy efficiencies that have been introduced into your buildings and I am pleased the partnership will use the lessons learned to inform the development of the City's Demand Management Master Plan.

But as you know, a large number of city buildings - owners, tenants, and others in the wider sector - still need to improve their sustainability. I'm keen to hear from you how you and your members can help bring those into the fold, and alert them to the benefits you're accruing from greater sustainability.

I would also like your help in promoting active transport options for your tenants and the wider community. Our cycling strategy is one element in improving sustainability, worker health and fitness, and also easing congestion. Reports from leasing agents tell us that end-of-trip facilities rank as a major incentive to prospective tenants.

The commercial office sector is a key partner for the city if we are to meet our target of a 70 per cent reduction in emissions by 2030.

Commercial office buildings are responsible for fully half the city's emissions. Of that amount, 25 per cent is tenant controlled and 25 per cent is owner controlled. While Sydney's commercial office sector has been recognised as a global leader, there is still a considerable amount of work to do to engage others in the property industry involved and to stimulate demand for sustainability from tenants.

The partnership is working closely with CitySwitch to help this happen, and I would hope to encourage your tenants to take part in the program, so that their sustainability skills can evolve in line with your own. The partnership is also working closely with leasing agents - and I note that Jones Lang LasSalle, Knight Frank and CBRE all recently joined the partnership as associate members. So a special welcome to you.

And once again, thank you to all of you for your committed and proactive work.

I also want to acknowledge the technical working group chairs for their leadership:

  • The Energy group will be collaborating with us on the Demand Management Master Plan
  • The Water group is finalising guidelines for connecting cooling towers to a recycled water network
  • The Waste group just held a symposium on minimising waste from tenant fit-out and is looking at those results
  • The Tenant group is still working on a very successful engagement with the leasing sector. After the March symposium, it developed a leasing life-cycle tool which is at www.sydneybetterbuildings.com.au/leasing. And it's now working on other documents to cover existing gaps, such as training for tenant reps
  • And finally for the Metrics group, we've commissioned a database to hold their data so that we can track progress towards targets.

I am really encouraged by the progress far, and it's largely thanks to your work and commitment. As just one example, Investa has recently announced that it has made a 47 per cent reduction in the energy use of their portfolio since 2004. That's a fantastic achievement - and of course, it's good business, too. It sets a great target for all of us.

Thank you.