Sydney Indesign was a resounding success that saw the display of an assortment of innovative and exciting designs. The main hub of the event — the Galleria — presented a number of discussions; one of which was led by GECA. The discussion explained the benefits and importance of GECA as well as the demand for it from the perspective of licensees and specifiers to an audience largely made up of specifiers.
Rupert Posner CEO of GECA was joined by Michelle Kearney Owner and Director at Interstudio, Billi Hayes Sustainability Manager at KE-ZU, Donna McMullen Director at Direct Ergonomics and Matt Williams Lend Lease’s Sustainability Manager – NSW and ACT.
The panel covered the topics of environmental sustainability and product specification and it explored the role played by third-party certification and how it helps architects and specifiers meet the Green Building Council of Australia’s (GBCA’s) Green Star requirements as well as other sustainability objectives. Each panellist gave insight into sustainability as well as their own experiences working with GECA.
Feedback showed that businesses and specifiers have a responsibility to protect the environment and that GECA helps them do this.
“If I’m going into business, I need to take responsibility for the product I am selling to my specifiers and to the end clients. It is about us taking a moral responsibility for what we’re doing out there and I believe as specifiers, that’s what your clients want you to do as well,” said Kearney.
“When specifying, designers should be aware of what is going into the product. Make sure you look at Australian manufacturing over the overseas product because we do have more control,” said McMullen.
“We generally find with companies that are seeking third-party accreditation; we can use this as a bit of a proxy to their performance. They are usually the companies that are doing the right thing already,” said Williams.
The growing demand for third party certified products is supported by the increase in buildings that are getting Green Star certification. “In 2012 there were 145 projects across Australia that were certified under Green Star and that’s an increase in 43 per cent on the previous year,” said Posner.
GECA benefits licensees as it not only provides a robust and credible ecolabelling scheme but it also enables recognition under the GBCA’s Green Star program.
Williams said: “We’ve been very supportive of the GBCA and have done over 60 projects that are Green Star rated, we’ve done fitouts for organisations such as ANZ and Commonwealth Bank and they do respect third-party certification like GECA.”
It is important for consumers to take responsibility for making sustainably preferable choices, too. Hayes said: “The process of certifying is very rigorous in its audit and it’s very important for designers to be considerate about what they are using but I think also as consumers we should be more responsible and do a lot more research into what we’re actually buying.”