“Climate strike” may have been picked by Collins Dictionary as its word of the year. But I think another contender –“hopepunk” – best captures the spirit of CitySwitch and our achievements in 2019.
The need for hopepunk – a movement that celebrates the pursuit of positive aims in the face of adversity – has never been more real.
This year has been characterised by bushfires and crippling drought, fish kills and cities smothered in smoke. Despite this series of signposts, many of our national and international political leaders are unable to read the signals and unwilling to act.
But we’ve also seen millions of people around the world gather in protest. Sixty countries have set net zero targets by 2050. Australia’s renewable energy generation tipped over the 50% mark for the first time in November. And 70 local governments in Australia, representing close to seven million citizens, declared a climate emergency.
CitySwitch, which now represents 900 offices around Australia, continues to demonstrate the power of collective action. We chalked up a massive 923,671 tonnes of carbon abatement while also working to eliminate single use plastics, embrace the circular economy and find ‘beyond the bin’ solutions. Very hopepunk!
Meanwhile, our collection of best practice case studies grows. CitySwitch National New Signatory of the Year, Finder, transformed its business in just one year by focusing on “quick wins, simple fixes and a lot of low-lying fruit”. Commonwealth Bank of Australia, National Signatory of the Year (more than 2,000 sqm) shows how sustained effort over several years pays off.
Tenancies can account for 50% of energy use in large office buildings, so what you do matters. As businesses respond to policy and regulatory changes – notably the expected introduction of mandatory disclosure for tenancies in the Commercial Building Disclosure Program – they are turning to CitySwitch for inspiration.
As agents of change, your leadership – buoyed by the relentless optimism of hopepunk – will be increasingly important as we encourage a whole new wave of businesses to walk with us towards net zero.
While I head off on maternity leave for a year, Chris Fitzpatrick will hold the fort, supported by Emma Baird and our team of City Switch program managers.
As we look ahead to 2020, we are asking Better Buildings Cup participants and all our CitySwitch Signatories to set happy, healthy new year’s resolutions. It’s a very hopepunk thing to do. So, let’s keep taking those positive steps towards the world we want together.