On November 21, 2012 the BCSI presented fifteen (15) local construction professionals with their Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certificates in a presentation at their Pine Plantation Road Headquarters. The presentation ceremony was attended by senior officials from the development agencies GIZ and the Caribbean Export Development Agency who funded the project, as well as officials from the Ministries responsible for energy, and building standards.

The Executive Director of the BCSI Ms. Lisa Cummins stated that, “the successful completion of this first cohort of trainees is an indication that Barbados is moving closer still to its goal of both diversifying its services sector and stimulating growth in new areas as well as making new strides in equipping its professionals with the tools to effect the transformation into a Green Economy. The BCSI is committed to leading the charge to diversify our services sector resource base and place the sector on strong footing to enable increased competitive exporting of services. This training is in a new area that is trending globally and is a part of that overall thrust and we are pleased to have made this investment. We will be working now with these professionals to promote and explore the markets available for their services.”

The project was launched on August 28th, 2012 in collaboration with development partners GIZ and the Caribbean Export Development Agency.  This initiative which was conceptualized and led by the BCSI allowed for a total of thirty-five (35) local and regional construction professionals from the architecture, engineering, interior design, construction and project management service sectors the opportunity to be certified in this environmentally sustainable and industry driven accreditation.

The LEED online training and examination support program is one of the first national and regional initiatives of its kind and it provided both technical assistance and financial support to participants. A total of nineteen (19) Barbadian (16) regional construction professionals participated in this programme and to date a total of twenty-five (25) professionals have successfully obtained their LEED Green Associate credential with the remaining participants scheduled to complete their accreditation by early January 2013.

Armed with this new credential, which is being required more and more in large global and even domestic construction contracts, local and regional professionals can now enter markets such as the United States, Canada and Europe where such international environmental standards are becoming the tool by which market entry is regulated.

Mr. Robert Glass, Project Manager of GIZ said that the initiative “could potentially facilitate the transformation of the domestic and regional market place as it relates to the construction sector by opening up new service sector niches as part of the global green building and green economy trends.” He further commented that “the LEED accreditation allows these professionals a greater opportunity to seize benefits under trade agreements such as the Economic Partnership Agreement which facilitates access into European markets.”

The second phase of the programme slated for February 2013 will focus on the accreditation of professionals in the specialized areas of the LEED accreditation which includes Building Design & Construction, Interior Design & Construction, and Operations & Maintenance as well as in the credential maintenance component. It will also ensure that our professionals have the best opportunity to penetrate new markets and capture increase business opportunities through the marketing of their accreditation on key market sites such as the World Green Build Council and the Green Step web portal. Here professionals will have the opportunity to capture more business opportunities and increase business clients as these web portals provide the opportunity for local and regional professionals to be connected with international clients from around the world.

This initiative marks one of the first regional initiatives where there has been a measureable output to draw the services economy into the Green Economy and create tangible market and commercial opportunities for the business community in that process. Ultimately, the Green economy has to be made practical and commercially attractive to the business community. This is an important step in that process. The BCSI will continue to work with services professionals to identify new services and methodologies which can create opportunities for them while advancing our developmental interests.