Think Beyond! Victoria Property Council’s Sustainability Outlook

There was plenty to discuss at Victoria Property Council’s Sustainability Outlook breakfast held at Zinc at Fed Square in February 2023.

Northrop was proud to be a co-sponsor of this event, which brought together leaders across the industry to share their ‘what next’ for Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) principles.

John Thwaites, Chair of Climate Works Centre was the keynote speaker and presented on the big shifts in sustainability facing the property industry. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) should be considered a “to do list for a better world” and guide for companies stepping up on their ESG responsibilities.

Biodiversity is looming large as a key challenge, highlighted by the recent COP15 and the work on Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures. Biodiversity Inclusive Planning isn’t yet a legal obligation but it will be soon. Companies need to have short, medium and long-term net zero commitments in place, consistent with the 1.5C target.

With construction and demolition waste representing 44% of national waste and the fastest growing waste stream, the circular economy is highly important. Refurbishing existing buildings is emerging as a key strategy for reducing construction waste.

John was joined in the panel discussion by Caitlen Uren, JLL Australia, Tiffany Crawford, City of Melbourne, Annie Beaulieu, Urbis and Kaz Chau, Gamuda Land, with facilitation by Francesca Muskovic, Property Council of Australia.

We heard about the ‘brown discount’ for buildings as tenants start seeking more sustainable, lower carbon buildings and fitouts. There was discussion about how climate and nature are linked, with green infrastructure playing a critical role in urban cooling, which can also reduce energy use.

One of the messages was to ‘soften up’ our urban landscape, to allow infiltration of stormwater, one of the biggest environmental threats in urban areas.

Finally, we were encouraged to be bold, get around the table, co-create the solutions, zoom out, think beyond, be courageous and lead. Many challenges ahead but we certainly came away inspired to continue our own sustainability journey at Northrop.

Thank you to all those that attended and for the Property Council for hosting this important event.


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