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Wood You Like To Know: ESG and Sustainability take centre stage

Architects, Designers, Engineers and Building Professionals gather in Brisbane to share love of timber.


Mon 03 Apr 23

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More than 200 professionals attended Wood You Like to Know conference in-person or through live-stream in what was one of the largest face-to-face conferences staged in Brisbane since the Covid-10 pandemic.

Weathertex and Wattyl Australia were co-partners with support from sponsors and exhbitors including:

Delegates were eligible for six informal points which are recognised by the Building Design Association of Australia and Building Design Queensland.

Billed as one of the most impressive panel of presenters ever assembled, the event did not disappoint.

Kicking off the conference, delegates were treated to a presentation by Yvonne Pengilly, former QBCC deputy commissioner and board member about non-confirming and non-compliant building products.

Yvonne, director of Cairns-based Myown Constructions, provided examples of how timber has been successfully integrated into her own developments, which include many projects across southeast Queensland and Far North Queensland.

In the coming weeks, Wood Central will have an exclusive opinion piece from Yvonne, who is also a non-executive director of FWPA, covering her experiences from the event.

Second speaker was Steve Gibson, Australia and New Zealand manager of Wattyl Australia, Australia’s largest paint company, who spoke about Monterey, one of Australia’s biggest apartment complexes constructed from cross-laminated timber.

The project was constructed by XLam and was recently showcased by the FWPA’s Wood Solutions.

In addition, Steve spoke about Tessa Development’s Orchard development, which combined Weathertex cladding with Wattyl paint and was recognised by the UDIA for its commitment to sustainability.

Footage courtesy of @Weathetexcladding

Third speaker David Baggs, CEO and founder of Global Green Tag, and Nicole Sullivan, head of Impact for think-step ANZ, both spoke of the importance of embodied carbon and stronger environmental transparency.

In 2016, Weathertex became the first manufactured product to achieve platinum certification and Global Green Tag will be lifting the bar with its new ‘Nature Positive’ certification which could provide a benchmark for the 2032 Olympic Games – the first carbon positive games in history.

In the coming weeks, Wood Central will have an exclusive opinion piece from Nicole, who was instrumental in developing the new Green Building Council of Australia’s new Responsible Products Framework, outlining the importance of embodied carbon for the timber industry in meeting Environmental, Social and Governmental (ESG) requirements. 

The topic of ESG is topical; two days prior to the conference the federal government passed the National Reconstruction Fund which provides up to $500 million in co-funded support for Australian forest and fibre businesses transitioning to a circular economy.

In the after-lunch session, David Rowlinson, the Make It Wood campaign manager, kicked off proceedings with an important conversation around the circular economy and timber’s role in the carbon solution.

Announced at the Planet Ark ACE conference in Sydney in November last year, the federal government committed to a fully circular economy by 2030 – with timber playing an important role in reaching that ambitious target.

David also spoke about Atlassian’s proposed new headquarters will operate on 100 per cent renewable energy. Atlassian is one of a number of Mass Timber buildings proposed Australia-wide. Wood Central recently covered the push by Australia to become a leader in mass timber construction.
David also spoke about Atlassian’s proposed new headquarters will operate on 100 per cent renewable energy. Atlassian is one of a number of Mass Timber buildings proposed Australia-wide. Wood Central recently covered the push by Australia to become a leader in mass timber construction.

Simon Dorries, CEO of Responsible Wood, and Dr Michael Berger, CEO of PEFC International, addressed the importance of standards, certification, and accreditation.

Dr Berger, who took over the PEFC role from Ben Gunneberg, is visiting Australia and New Zealand for the first time and spoke of the challenges of meeting escalating demand for certified timber.

Dr Berger noted that global demand for timber is expected to quadruple over the next 30 years. However, the amount of certified forest area (PEFC and FSC) is not meeting demand.

Simon Dorries, who is also chair of the TM11 standards committee, spoke of the importance of ensuring that specifiers conduct proper due diligence on timber products to make sure that non-conforming and non-compliant products don’t slip through the cracks.

TM11 manages all Australian standards for plywood and engineered wood products.

Closing sessions with a passionate and entertaining presentation was James Treble, noted interior designer and TV personality, who explored a plethora of colourful trends in design.

James, who is using Weathertex cladding on a new house he will feature in an upcoming show for Channel 9 (‘James Bought A House’) stole the show with his passion for timber.

“You can have a steel frame, or a concrete floor or benchtop, but timber is the only building material which can be utilised throughout a home,” he said.

As a Planet Ark ambassador, James is passionate about sustainability and was thrilled to learn from the other presenters.

Coming to Channel 9 soon. Footage courtesy of @DesginerJamesTreble

Weathertex Managing Director Jason O’Hagan claimed the event a resounding success.

“It was fantastic to see how timber products can be used in combination, to meet strong environmental and sustainable credentials.”

“Following the success of the Wood You Liked to Know events in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, we look forward to hosting more of these in the future.”

Given the response from the after-conference cocktail function at Gambaro Restaurant, it’s hard to disagree.

  • Wood Central Publisher Jason Ross was the MC of “Wood You Like To Know – the Sustainability Sprint and the Great Tree Change”.

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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