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The consortium of SGS-thinkstep will serve as the sole provider of certification services for the International Finance Corporation’s (IFC’s) EDGE (Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies) green building program in Ghana.

The agreement was signed on May 11 and celebrated at an event hosted by the Embassy of Switzerland in Accra. Switzerland, through its State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), supports the EDGE program in Ghana and other selected countries. The event was attended by the Ghana Green Building Council (GHGBC), which will play an instrumental role in bringing its network on board to help leverage and sustain EDGE in Ghana.

EDGE was created to respond to the need for a measurable way to prove the financial case for building green and help jumpstart the proliferation of green buildings. EDGE includes free software to empower building professionals to quickly and easily determine the most cost-effective ways to build green based on occupant behavior, building type and the local climate. Building projects must earn a minimum of 20 percent reduction in energy and water consumption and embodied energy in materials to achieve certification. EDGE is an innovation of IFC, a member of the World Bank Group. In addition to providing certification services for Ghana, the consortium of SGS-thinkstep plays a larger role by serving as a certification services provider for EDGE across the world.

With EDGE,  IFC aims  to ensure,  with the support of industry leaders, governments and financial institutions, that 20 percent of the construction market in rapidly industrializing countries is devoted to the development of resource efficient buildings. These provide tangible value that can be passed from property developers to their customers through utility savings. Green buildings also have a less negative impact on the environment and increase confidence in the corporate brand.

“We are delighted to work in Ghana to support the drive for green buildings,” said Thomas Saunders, thinkstep’s EDGE Program Manager. “EDGE is crucial for providing assurance to investors with green building credentials  and can lead to greater returns for all.”

Harry Fernau, Global Product Manager for Energy and Green Buildings for SGS said, “The environmental market in West Africa is emerging quickly, so we are very happy to be part of this strategic drive in Ghana, pushing green buildings to a more sustainable future.”

“Promoting more efficient and climate-friendly use of productive resources is an important element of SECO’s economic cooperation work,” said Daniel Lauchenauer, Deputy Head of Cooperation/Counselor, Embassy of Switzerland in Ghana. “Therefore, the EDGE green building standard fits very well into our portfolio. We believe in its success, as we see a true win-win model for both the building owners as well as the environment.”

Foster Osae-Akonnor, CEO of the Ghana Green Building Council, stated, “As leaders championing the sustainability of the built environment in Ghana, the board, management and the entire membership of GHGBC are excited to partner with IFC and SGS-thinkstep to promote EDGE. The decision comes at a time when the country’s building industry has embraced the need to transform the built environment. It is our view that the deployment of EDGE as supported by the GHGBC will create a path for Ghana to achieve its sustainable development goals.”

“Expanding the capacity for EDGE in Ghana is an important step towards capturing the opportunity for green building investments in Africa,” said Marcene Broadwater, Global Head of Climate Strategy and Business Development for IFC. “IFC’s Climate Investment Opportunity Report identifies more than USD 150 billion in potential green building financing by 2030 in four African countries alone. SGS-thinkstep and the Ghana Green Building Council can help us to communicate the understanding that everyone wins financially by building green.”

SGS-thinkstep will conduct a training session for EDGE experts on June 16 at SGS Academy in Accra. EDGE experts will serve as experienced advisors on developing EDGE projects, bringing their skills, insights and thorough understanding of the EDGE software to instill confidence that a project is certifiably green.

About thinkstep

thinkstep is a leading global sustainability services and software business. thinkstep enables organizations worldwide to succeed sustainably. Its industry-leading sustainability software, data and consulting services help businesses drive operational excellence, product innovation, brand value and regulatory compliance. With a global presence in 19 countries, thinkstep serves more than 2,000 companies, including 40 percent of the Fortune 500. Sustainable construction and real estate is one of its most important sectors, and thinkstep has extensive experience in supporting and developing green building certification standards including BREEAM, LEED and DGNB. For more information visit thinkstep.

About GHGBC

GHGBC is a non-governmental organization committed to helping create sustainable buildings and communities in Ghana using energy savings, water conservation, resource management and cost-efficient techniques. For more information, visit GHGBC.

About SECO

SECO is the Swiss government's center of expertise for all core issues relating to economic policy. SECO’s Economic Cooperation and Development Division is responsible for the planning and implementation of economic cooperation and development activities in middle income developing countries, transition countries and new Member States of the European Union. It coordinates Switzerland's relations with the World Bank Group, the regional development banks and the economic organizations of the United Nations. In Ghana, SECO’s development cooperation program focuses on accountable institutions that deliver effective public services as well as on improved competitiveness and diversification of the economy. For more information, visit SECO Economic Cooperation and Development.

About IFC

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. Working with 2,000 businesses worldwide, IFC uses its six decades of experience to create opportunity where it’s needed most. In FY16, IFC’s long term investments in developing countries rose to nearly USD 19 billion. IFC leverages its capital, expertise and influence to help the private sector end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit IFC.

About EDGE

An innovation of IFC, EDGE helps property developers to build and brand green in a fast, easy and affordable way. EDGE is supported by free software that encourages solutions for reducing energy, water and the energy used to make building materials by at least 20 percent, the standard for EDGE certification. The program has been generously supported by the following donors: Austria, Canada, Denmark, the EU, Finland, Hungary, Japan and Switzerland, the Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF). For more information, visit EDGE Buildings.

For further information, please contact:

Harry Fernau
SGS Global Product Manager - Energy & Green Building
t: +43 644 255 71 05

About SGS

SGS is the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company. SGS is recognized as the global benchmark for quality and integrity. With more than 90,000 employees, SGS operates a network of over 2,000 offices and laboratories around the world.