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The campaign theme for International Women’s Day 2019 is #BalanceforBetter – and it is backed by the women leading the global green building movement.

The World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) has named Er. Yvonne Soh, Executive Director of the Singapore Green Building Council (SGBC), a climate champion for using her expertise and passion to build a better place for everyone.

 

Ms. Cristina Gamboa, Chief Executive Officer, of WorldGBC said: “This year’s theme resonates on so many levels for women who are leading the drive towards sustainability. For us, better outcomes for women mean a better future for our planet. Balance for Better recognises that diversity and equality are inextricably linked to our mission to create green buildings for everyone, everywhere.”

The WorldGBC is a global network of around 70 green building councils – of which SGBC is an Established Member – who are transforming the building and construction sector, aiming to eliminate carbon emissions by 2050. Despite construction still being a traditionally male-dominated industry, more than 50 percent of the CEOs running established Green Building Councils are women.

Ms. Gamboa said: “To prevent further devastating climate change, we need these passionate and dynamic women to inspire people around the world to take action. They are the catalysts for change we need to cut greenhouse gases and limit the planet’s rising temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius.”

Despite being a young country, in Singapore, the old boys clubs still have power.

Er. Yvonne Soh has gotten used to being outnumbered by men – the gender balance has not changed much since she was an engineering student. She said: “I have got to the stage now where I am valued for my input. I have been championing alternative and recycled materials for many years now – and in Singapore there is no choice, we simply have no natural resources.”

Not only is Er. Soh’s input highly valued, but she has put sustainability at the core of new buildings in her city state. She has made it her mission to bring the green message to the masses – and has contributed to making Singapore one of the greenest urban areas in the world.

She said: “We have a small land mass so development has to be well planned and ecological with an appreciation for both the urban and the natural.”

Her passion for sustainability grew during the 10 years Yvonne spent at the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) and eventually led her to current role. It is the collaborative nature of her position, working with other leaders within the WorldGBC that continues to inspire her.

Er. Soh said: “We face different challenges in our different parts of the world but there is so much scope to learn from each other. It is common sense to take a global approach to solving the global challenges of sustainable development.”

“This is exciting because it is an opportunity to tackle social problems including poverty and inequality. When we think about buildings, we must think about the people in them. It is about better places for people.”

Er. Soh fully endorses the theme for International Women’s Day 2019 – believing women are more than qualified to lead the fight against climate change.

She added: “We have a great propensity to think beyond ourselves, to think of others and our environment. Women tend to be the ones to nurture the natural world.”