Simone Concha

Simone Concha, recently appointed sustainability director Australia for Jones Lang LaSalle, has hit the ground running at her new gig.

In one of her first tasks for her new employer, Ms Concha hosted an event to celebrate the latest Global Sustainability Real Estate Benchmark survey results, which deals with the commitment of the top tier of property companies to sustainable outcomes.

But as a Green Star assessor and engineer Ms Concha is also well versed in how to construct the structures that can satisfy the growing appetite in the investment community for buildings that can prove their green credentials.

At Hansen Yuncken, where she worked for four years through her consultancy Build It Green (after roles at Advanced Environmental and Multiplex Constructions), Ms Concha managed the Green Star certification for a number of buildings in NSW. These included a large distribution facility for Metcash at Eastern Creek, west of Sydney; an industrial project for a technology company Ingram Micro at the same estate; GPT’s new shopping centre at Wollongong; and a LEED-rated pet food facility for Mars at Bathurst.

In a conversation with The Fifth Estate on Tuesday Ms Concha said what she found most exciting about this industry was the ability of sustainable buildings to produce positive environmental outcomes, almost regardless of the performance of the tenants.

“The holy grail is to change human behaviour – to have optimum sustainable behaviour in a really sustainable building. But I believe not everyone is passionate about sustainability and not everyone has it at the forefront of their minds every day so designing a building better than others will still have an environmental benefit regardless of what the people inside it are doing.”

Ms Concha said she was also interested in climate change and the transition to a low carbon economy.

On that front, she’s keen to help develop JLL’s new venture around renewable energy and how to enable clients to source and manage this.

The new business will aim to do “almost everything” in terms of renewable energy – site selection, sizing of the system, project management of the company to do the installation and managing the process.

It will also be able to set up monitoring and reporting services and perhaps help aggregate customers.

Ms Concha has a double degree in civil and environmental engineering and Japanese language and culture from UTS and has spent time working and studying in Japan.

She replaces Chris Nunn, who has moved to AMP Capital in a role as sustainability manager.