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GBCA to Tackle Aussie Timber Supply Chains in Nature Roadmap

The Green Building Council of Australia is now inviting industry stakeholders to respond to the new Discussion Paper.


Mon 03 Jun 24

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The Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) is developing a new nature roadmap for the built environment. Which, if approved, could feed into the GBCA’s Green Star Buildings, Communities, Performance, and Interiors rating tools.

A key part of the new Roadmap is centred around halting, reversing and restoring biodiversity as part of a greater aim to achieve nature-positivity in new and existing building assets by 2030. It comes amid “increased investor reporting on the environmental impact of materials like concrete, steel, and timber,” with “a special focus on avoiding native forest timber or timber that hosts endangered species.”

According to Jorge Chapa, GBCA’s Chief Impact Officer – Market Transformation, the roadmap discussion paper, currently open for comment, has been in development for more than 12 months and comes amid a push by global governments, financial institutions, and organisations that have addressed nature in the built environment.

“We have seen a number of reports and frameworks that have come through, outlining the importance,” Mr Chapa told a webinar introducing the Roadmap, including the Taskforce for Nature-related Financial disclosures, the COP15 pledge leading to the 30 x 30 Conservation Plan and the Australian State of the Environment Report, published in 2021.

The GBCA’s webinar launching the Nature roadmap for the build environment discussion paper included Jorge Chapa, Elham Monavari, Philip Martin, and Rebecca Pettit. Footage courtesy of @gbcamarketing.
Impact on the Supply Chain for Australian Native Forestry Products

According to Elham Monavari, Head of Green Star Strategic Delivery, the new Roadmap will focus heavily on timber supply chains. “We have already seen some native timber logging bans in Victoria,” Ms Monavari told the webinar. With the EU providing directives around types of logging, timber will become critically in focus.”

The GBCA discussion paper states that “the EU’s Regulation on Deforestation-Free Supply Chains, aims to eliminate from the supply chain products sourced from high-risk areas and native forests,” adding that “others will likely follow, for example, with the state of Victoria banning the logging of old-growth forest.” As a result, “native timber is likely to be seen as a high-risk material in nature-related assessments.”

Impact on Greenfield Precinct Development

In addition to timber supply chains, the new Roadmap is expected to have a major impact on greenfield construction—especially in estate developments located close to areas with high ecology. The push comes just weeks after NSW’s Biodiversity Report showed that land clearing for estate development is one of the major drivers of habitat loss.

“The roadmap will advocate for net biodiversity gain on all sites and the protection of ecologically sensitive areas in and outside the site,” the discussion paper said. “Furthermore, the Roadmap will encourage development on previously developed land and infill redevelopment.”

Consequently, “the criteria for defining these sensitive areas will become more stringent, affecting a wider range of projects,” with the GBCA anticipating that “the Roadmap will recommend stricter requirements around greenfield sites seeking Green Star certification, particularly in precincts.”

The GBCA is now inviting industry stakeholders to read the discussion paper and provide input by July 31st, 2024. Once expressions close, the new Roadmap is expected to be rolled out in 2025.

Author

  • Jason Ross

    Jason Ross, publisher, is a 15-year professional in building and construction, connecting with more than 400 specifiers. A Gottstein Fellowship recipient, he is passionate about growing the market for wood-based information. Jason is Wood Central's in-house emcee and is available for corporate host and MC services.

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