Siobhan Toohill

7 March 2013 – Leading sustainability champion Siobhan Toohill has been snapped up by Westpac, barely nine months after leaving Stockland to pursue a personal business.

The move was nicely timed with the release of the bank’s stunning new doubling of its commitment to $8 billion of sustainability related investments in the next five years, albeit with “other people’s money”.

See our article, Westpac: We’re back! …with an $8 billion commitment to sustainability

The appointment of Toohill as head of sustainability and communities for Westpac, starting on the 18th this month, makes sense. There is a huge portfolio of strategic sustainability investments to manage. Included is $2 billion to affordable and social housing, which is an intriguing move, one that has stirred the industry’s imagination, judging by comments from observers this week.

The speed of appointment also makes sense, because someone of Toohill’s calibre was never going to stay unattached to the big corporates for long, if they could help it.

Toohill told The Fifth Estate on Wednesday it was a tough decision to leave the company that she had formed with her partner Adrian Wiggins, which was already thriving.

“It was a hard decision,” she said.

So the offer must have been good.

It had to be. There is growing consensus that the pendulum is again swinging sustainability’s way and the string of departures of sustainability managers from the property corporates last year has left a vacuum. And no-one believes it can yet be filled by the “embedded in our DNA” argument.

As Green Cities 2013 heard on Wednesday, this industry needs champions.

Peter Verwer, chief executive of The Property Council of Australia,  said the property industry would never have achievements its leadership in the space without the “sustainability Rottweilers” pushing the agenda. It still needs them, he said. The phrase caught on with delegates.

Toohill is such a champion/Rottweiler, helping to propel Stockland to a lead position in sustainability. See below for a glance at her achievements to date.

The move comes on the back of the strong signal from Mirvac’s new boss Susan Lloyd-Hurwitz that sustainability is back on the agenda, perhaps stronger than previously, with the appointment of another sustainability Rottweiler Paul Edwards, ex Hammersons and Lend Lease.

See Mirvac appoints Paul Edwards

Another signal came from Lend Lease with its appointment of Dan Labbad who has impeccable sustainability credentials, to its number 2 global position, as global chief operating officer. What it’s saying in this (almost) post-GFC constrained world is that sustainability is part of the mix in of a strong balance sheet. In time, perhaps Labbad and his peers can prove it’s the most powerful component.

See Interview: Dan Labbad on generational change and non-negotiable green

There are other Toohills and Labbads.

Time to let loose the Rottweilers.

See below for a glance of Toohill’s professional profile. And here for mentions in The Fifth Estate

Principal – Sustainability and Placemaking Lead

Pure and Applied

July 2012 – Present (9 months) Sydney Area, Australia

A people-centred design studio working with organisations and communities to create better, more sustainable places, services and experiences.??Projects include co-creation of sustainability strategy and digital strategy – as well as stakeholder engagement and leadership coaching. Current clients include government agencies, listed property groups, membership organisations and SMEs.

Deputy Chair, Green Building Council of Australia

2008 – Present (5 years)

Chair, Integration Committee – Green Star Communities Tool?Member, Technical Steering Committee, Board Sub-Committee?Chair, Board IT/Digital Working Group?Chair, Green Cities Conference Advisory Panel


Australian Building Codes Board

February 2011 – Present (2 years 2 months)

Chair, National Sustainability Roundtable

Property Council

2008 – Present (5 years)

Independent Member

Capital City Design Review Panel – Adelaide

2012 – Present (1 year)


Built Environment Industry Innovation Council

2008 – Present (5 years)

General Manager, Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability


February 2005 – June 2012 (7 years 5 months)

National Urban Design Manager


October 2003 – February 2005 (1 year 5 months)

Lecturer and Tutor – Urban Design, Planning and Architecture

University of New South Wales

2001 – 2004 (3 years) Sydney Area, Australia

Senior Urban Designer/Masterplanner

Lend Lease

July 2001 – October 2003 (2 years 4 months).

Senior Urban Designer

Urban Design Advisory Service (UDAS), NSW Department of Planning

February 1998 – July 2001 (3 years 6 months)

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