OCBC Bank hires Benjamin Towell as sustainability VP

After a long stint with Singapore's Building & Construction Authority, the Briton is joining OCBC to advise the bank and its partners on climate action strategies.

Ben Towell BCA
Benjamin Towell takes on the role of vice president of sustainability for OCBC Bank's global commercial banking team. Image: rics.org

Benjamin Towell is moving on after a long stint with Singapore’s Building & Construction Authority to join OCBC Bank.

The Briton has been appointed vice president of sustainability for the bank’s global commercial banking team. His role will involve developing a climate action strategy and roadmap for the bank, and working 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 scheme. 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.

During his time at BCA, Towell also led the development of the Super Low Energy Building Programme, a national policy for carbon abatement in the built environment, and authored the Singapore Institute of Architects’ Green Book, 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. 

“Business is more concerned with cost than value. We need an economic system that factors in externalities, to change how businesses operate. Sustainable finance will help steer that,” he told Eco-Business. “In the future, businesses will only be able to access some financial products if they have a robust climate transition plan in place.” 

Towell started his career as an architect, working in the United Kingdom on a range of projects, including conservation heritage schemes and senior care centres design.

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 towards an economy that is not based on growth, and enables “ecologically responsible behaviour”. 

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