OCBC Bank Hires Benjamin Towell as Vice President of Sustainability | News | Eco-Enterprise
Benjamin Towell is leaving after a long stint with the Building & Construction Authority of Singapore to join OCBC Bank.
The Briton has been appointed vice president of sustainability for the bank’s global commercial banking team. His role will be to develop a climate action strategy and roadmap for the bank, and to work with the bank’s partners to help accelerate the decarbonisation of the sector.
In his previous role at the Building & Construction Authority (BCA), Towell worked on Singapore’s Green Mark building certification program. He led the development of Green Mark 2015 and the latest iteration, Green Mark 2021, which promotes construction aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
While at BCA, Towell also led the development of the Ultra-Low Energy Building Program, a national policy to reduce carbon emissions in the built environment, and authored the Green Paper for the Institute of Singapore architects, a guide to sustainable building design.
Towell said he wanted to apply his experience thinking about sustainability in the building and construction industry to finance.
“Companies are more concerned with cost than value. We need an economic system that takes into account externalities, to change the way businesses operate. Sustainable finance will help guide this,” he told Eco-Business. “Going forward, companies will only be able to access certain financial products if they have a strong climate transition plan in place.”
Towell began his career as an architect, working in the UK on a range of projects including heritage conservation programs and the design of aged care centres.
He is one of the founding committee members of a newly launched group in Singapore, The Circle for Human Sustainability. The group brings together built environment professionals, sociologists and economists, and aims to work for an economy that is not based on growth, and allows “ecologically responsible behavior”.