Harnessing the Power of Collaboration for Sustainability

Greenbuild 2019 is poised to launch an exciting new wave of public and private partnerships

In less than a month, approximately 20,000 green building professionals from more than 150 countries – including architects, interior designers, builders, product manufacturers and standard setters – will gather in Atlanta for Greenbuild 2019, hosted by the U.S. Green Building Council. But it isn’t the sheer number of international attendees that is notable, it’s the increasing collaboration between attendees at Greenbuild and other industry stakeholders to drive sustainable impacts.

It’s in this spirit of collaboration that the American Chemistry Council and the International Well Building Institute are coming together to sponsor the first Global Health & Wellness Summit at Greenbuild. This important summit will bring together stakeholders from throughout the building sector to help advance holistic approaches to health and wellness, positioning materials science as a lens through which building design and operations decisions are made.

Health and wellness doesn’t just mean materials though, and this year, Greenbuild is focused on engaging the industry to help make sustainable buildings and communities accessible to everyone. That means working to raise the international standard of living by developing resilient buildings, communities, and cities that help conserve resources, combat climate change, and build and grow social equity. This builds on the Living Standard campaign launched at Greenbuild last year, which, through real-world case studies, illustrates how green buildings and communities can enhance quality of life.

These sorts of collaborations among industry, communities and other stakeholders to enhance human health and wellness aren’t new. In fact, three years ago, former President (and Greenbuild 2019 keynote speaker) Barack Obama signed the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act into law, overhauling federal chemicals management and establishing a more effective way to regulate chemicals in commerce. With support from a variety of stakeholders, including legislators, scientists, manufacturers and NGOs, this landmark legislation demonstrates what is possible when all sides of the public and private sectors come together for the common good.

There are many more examples of the power of collaboration. Here are several recent ones that underscore the opportunities:

  • Nature Conservancy and Dow. Through effective and thoughtful collaboration, Dow and The Nature Conservancy worked to integrate ecosystem services into Dow’s business decision-making process, generating business value while valuing nature. Dow is now on track to identify $1 billion in business value by 2025 in partnership with the Nature Conservancy
  • WTS and Seven Chemical Manufacturers. Through implementation of management systems that use technologies and chemistry to minimize or eliminate waste and recover value from by-product and waste materials, WTS, Inc. collaboration with BASF, Covestro, LANXESS, Lubrizol, PPG, Praxair, and VanDeMark helped divert nearly 68 million pounds of manufacturing by-product material from disposal in 2017 alone.
  • 40-Plus Global Companies. An alliance of global leaders from the plastics industry, consumer brands, and waste management formed a new nonprofit organization that will work with local and regional stakeholders in Asia and around the world to advance solutions to eliminate plastic waste in the environment, especially the ocean. It’s expected the Alliance to End Plastic Waste will generate $1.5 billion over the next five years to halt the flow of plastic waste into the environment.

This is just the beginning. ACC, working in cooperation with USGBC, looks forward to fostering many more conversations around collaboration during the four days in Atlanta. As Mahesh Ramanujam, USGBC president and CEO, recently observed, “Greenbuild is the hub for the creation of the standards, policies, and partnerships that will enable us to relentlessly build toward a future where all citizens can thrive – regardless of their background.”

Let’s partner together to build that future throughout Greenbuild 2019 and beyond.