Figurehead Construction have achieved the Australian Government’s certification as a Climate Active Organisation.

“Our business employs 70 people and is responsible for circa $100million of construction projects each year including residential, commercial, industrial and government; but our entire team is motivated to help our community beyond those buildings,” said Joe Grasso, Figurehead Group Founder & Managing Director.

Acknowledging the construction industry’s impact on the environment and wanting to do better – Figurehead have spent the last 24 months undergoing emissions testing and assessment and investing in adequate offsets to achieve Climate Active Carbon Neutral Organisation status.

“We believe it’s the right thing to do, and hope that the rest of our industry follow suit,” Joe continues.


What is Climate Active?

Certification under Climate Active is made by the Australian Government against best practice carbon accounting standards and remains the most robust measure to publicly disclose carbon neutrality in Australia.

“We engaged Energy Consultants ARUP to provide advice on how to start this process – and Climate Active was the most reputable way to understand our impact and ultimately do better,” he says.



From offsetting to reductions: calls for major change in construction

Reducing emissions in the construction industry is complex, with supply and manufacturing of materials a key contributor.

Building and construction are responsible for 39% of all carbon emissions in the world[1], (including manufacturing of materials); emphasising incredible opportunity in this sector.

Construction industry volatility, “particularly around increasing costs to our supply chain, which has been shaken by international events creates real risk for builders,” Grasso says, “you only have to Google Australian Construction Industry to see the challenges we are facing today,” he continues.

“Addressing climate change can seem far less urgent than pure survival, so you can see why builders might be resistant. Our team are passionate that we need to do something about this right now, from junior to senior staff.”

“We need to start somewhere. Offsetting our impact and encouraging subcontractors to use materials more efficiently, reusing and recycling products as well as minimising waste is within our direct control right now, and that’s what is important to Figurehead,” he said.

Limiting climate change will require major transitions, critically analysing the way we build, and having Government support to assist with supply chain issues and encourage production of sustainable materials that are economically viable.

For basic materials, including steel, building materials and chemicals, low- to zero-greenhouse gas production processes are at pilot stage, so it will take some time to become viable and economical for the industry to utilise, given the importance of Australian building and safety standards.



Achieving Sustainable Development Goals


 Accelerated and equitable climate action in mitigating and adapting to climate change impacts is critical to sustainable development.

116 Rokeby is a symbol of Figurehead’s recognition of the urgency and ongoing requirements for a more sustainable future, and its enduring commitment to deliver high-quality architecture that minimises its environmental impact.   

Inspired by the Traditional Owners of the land, the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung, and their prevailing commitment to sustainability, this benchmark project harnesses Wurundjeri Elder, Uncle Bill Nicholson’s powerful mantra, “not harming so much”. 

From the outset, Figurehead has worked closely with ARUP — experts in sustainable development — to define a building concept that has the capability to meet and exceed the latest building design and performance standards for a mixed-mode building.  

“This has been one of my favourite projects in recent years, with a beautiful outcome that delivers an all-electric, double skinned, mixed-mode, zero carbon in operation boutique office building.”– Richard Stokes, Sustainable Buildings Leader, ARUP

In addition to environmental impact and sustainability, impact on the traditional owners of the land has been a consideration Figurehead, who commenced cultural awareness training for staff and will proudly display an Aboriginal art commission in consultation with the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation.

“Representing the traditional owners of the land we are developing at 116 Rokeby reinforces our purpose to consider all aspects of the building,” says Figurehead Property Investments Manager Joe Allman, “involving Elders and making a permanent statement of respect and inclusion for future generations of First Nations people is another way to create a positive impact at our future office,” he said.

The art commission will be a collaboration between Lowell Hunter and Gerard Black in consultation with Uncle Bill Nicholson of the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation.

116 Rokeby has commenced construction by Figurehead Construction in Collingwood with completion targeted for early 2024.