By Tina Perinotto
4 August 2010 – Global property giant Lend Lease yesterday signalled green property leadership was back on the strategic business agenda with its appointment of two founders of the world-wide green building movement – Australian Ché Wall and Canadian Joe Van Belleghem.
The two will join the global sustainability team headed by Maria Atkinson who was a joint founder of the Green Building Council of Australia with Mr Wall and has since worked with him in a number of projects to push forward a sustainable property in Australia and globally.
Mr Wall recently stepped down as managing director at WSP Lincolne Scott after a career which included putting some of Australia’s important first green buildings on the map – such as 30 The Bond and CH2 In Melbourne.
Mr Van Belleghem, who moves to Australia with his family in mid-August to take up the position, founded the Canadian Green Building Council and is renowned for his Dockside Green development in Vancouver that smashed through conventional property hurdles to create better environmental and social outcomes.
The three will form a new force in Australia’s sustainability credentials and will re-invigorate the positioning of Lend Lease as a sustainability leader.
Group chief executive officer and managing director Steve McCann said the move was about leadership – and making good business sense.
“Lend Lease is proud of its leadership in sustainability and we believe it is a key driver of growth opportunities and we will continue to build sustainable service capabilities to improve the group’s product offerings,” Mr McCann said.
The three would also provide “internationally recognised expertise, industry experience and networks that will further support our sustainability credentials.”
Heading up Lend Lease’s development pipeline are projects that have the potential to be the world’s most important major development sites in terms of sustainability: Barangaroo, on the edge of Sydney’s CBD; Victoria Harbour in Melbourne’s Docklands; and the Elephant and Castle project in the London.
Mr Wall said the opportunities were particularly at the precinct level.
“Projects such as Barangaroo “can really start to demonstrate good approaches to the precinct scale,” Mr Wall.
The GBC had done its job to popularise green buildings, but sustainability at the precinct level was the next major focus for action.
Mr Wall said that he feel very positive about the new move. He had had extensive experience in the consulting field of engineering as well as the opportunity to influence the management of the WSP Lincolne Scott business, including issues of corporate structure, right down to transactional elements.
“But what I haven’t done is given it a go as a property player involved in delivery rather than advising.”
Mr Wall said he was looking forward to working with Mr Van Belleghem whom he met in 2002 and whose broad skills – including a background as a qualified accountant would also bring a “complementary way of looking at things which I find really valuable.”
“Joe did Dockside Green development in Vancouver and that’s a real trail blazer in terms of how you put together the environmental and the social agendas.”
Mr Wall’s background also includes initiating the Green Star rating tool, chair of the World GBC and pursuit of a vigorous policy agenda both in Australia with the Efficient Building Scheme and internationally, with the common carbon metric project, an alliance between the United Nations and global green building leaders, and the Climate Positive Advisory Council, for the Clinton Climate Initiative.
Specific roles and reporting lines have still not been finalised.