L to R: Brendan Crotty, former chair of the GBCA; Peter Verwer; Michael Cameron, CEO and MD GPT; Tarun Gupta, CEO,  property, Aust, Lend Lease

30 April 2014 — The Green Building Council of Australia held a small ceremony after its board meeting on Tuesday to bid farewell to a founding director and life member of the GBCA and long serving chief executive of the Property Council Peter Verwer, who is heading to Singapore to head the Asian Pacific Real Estate Association.

Mr Verwer said he was attracted to Asia because “the Asian century is an urban century which is also a real estate wealth creation century”.

“The question is would it be a sustainable century as well? I think there is a lot Australians can contribute there.

“As Daniel [Grollo, chair, of the GBCA] has said it’s a very simple calculus – do they want to lead less polluted lives?”

Mr Verwer thanked directors and staff who helped take an organisation that was “very much hand to mouth” in its early years under first chair Brendan Crotty (who also attended) and propelled it to be one the strongest green building councils in the world.

Kirsty Kelly, chief executive of the Planning Institute of Australia (left) and Tanya Cox, chief operating officer of Dexus

This was because Australians knew how to “cut through and do things quickly”.

GBCA chief executive Romilly Madew said Mr Verwer had been with the organisation since it was “nothing more than a big idea on a white board” and had made an “extraordinary contribution”.

“The Australian property and construction industry is acknowledged the world over for its collaborative style – something that can be attributed, in no small measure, to Peter,” she said.

The event also farewelled two other outgoing board members: Rowan Griffin, head of sustainability, Colonial First State Global Asset Management; and Fred Chaney, director, Cox Howlett and Bailey Woodland.

“Rowan joined the Board in November 2008, and made an active contribution to a range of GBCA committees and activities,” Ms Madew said. “His calm and considered approach made him an essential sounding board as we formulated policy.

“His influence has helped Colonial First State to kick many Green Star goals – the latest of which is registering the first shopping centre for Green Star – Performance.

“Fred Chaney was appointed to the Board in November 2010. His expertise and experience with Green Star made him an invaluable addition to our Technical Steering Committee, and his legacy will be a more robust, rigorous set of Green Star rating tools.

“Fred has also been an active contributor to our WA State Industry group, and his vocal support for Green Star has helped to accelerate the uptake of the rating tools in his state.”

Peter Barda and Jill Mason, founding luminaries of the Property Council
Peter Verwer addressing the group, flanked on left by Daniel Grollo, chair of GBCA, Romilly Madew, chief executive of GBCA and on right Margaret Khursigara, executive director commercial business GBCA; Rupert Posner, chief executive Good Environmental Choice Australia