The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) announced that it will issue a green bond of AUD202m to support the Charter Hall’s 480 Swan Street development in Richmond, Victoria, according to the CBA’s newsletter on September 14. Charter Hall plans to design the commercial office for Australia Post’s new Melbourne headquarters and will deliver 32,000 square metres (sqm) of office space with over 12 levels and 1,000 sqm of retail space on the ground floor. The project will also follow a carbon-natural framework and targets a six-star Green Star reward certificated by the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA), becoming the first green construction facility in Australia. Meanwhile, the CBA’s five-year bond will be the first Climate Bond Initiative certificated development loan in Australia. Both parties view this collaboration as a milestone in the Australian green loan market and domestic real estate industry.
The six-star certification mentioned above is the best-practice level of the Green Star rating system, which was launched by GBCA in 2003. In Australia, it is the largest domestic voluntary rating system for buildings, fitouts, and communities. GBCA aims at transforming the construction facility market towards a low-carbon economy and encourage greener operations by certificating those active performers in sustainable buildings. Up to now, around 40% of domestic commercial and retail space are Green Star certificated. This system includes six levels, scaling from the minimum practice of one star to the global leader of six stars. The six-star level is an ambitious but challenging target as it requires developers to strictly comply with the ISO 9001:2015 standard and their projects are fully powered by renewable energy. The system also expects the best performers to reduce energy consumption and GHG emissions, promote the living environment for people, protect the ecosystem, and drive resilient outcomes during the entire lifecycle of the project.