Top Sustainability Speakers for South Africa Green Building Convention 2017

GBCSA CEO, Dorah Modise (GBCSA)

South Africa - Five of the top sustainability minds will headline this year’s Green Building Convention, South Africa’s leading sustainability event, which will take place in Cape Town from 9 – 11 October.

The Green Building Council South Africa (GBCSA) hosts the event – now in its tenth year – in conjunction with this year’s lead sponsors: Standard Bank, Growthpoint, Lafarge, Rabie Property Group and the Century City Conference Centre and Hotel.

GBCSA CEO, Dorah Modise, says the keynote speakers – Lance Hosey, Vivian Loftness, Fred Kent, Professor Mark Swilling and Jason Drew – will shift the focus beyond just buildings onto how buildings interact with each other and the public space around them.

Modise says: “The green building movement has made great strides in the past 10 years and deeper greening is required going forward. Green buildings are only one part of a connected system and attention needs to be paid to the likes of land use, technology, transport, materials and wellness. The convention programme reflects this and we are encouraging delegates to make the connections and dare to lead in transforming the future.”

All five headline speakers are passionate about sustainability possess impressive credentials. Each will speak on a different aspect of sustainability.

Lance Hosey will explore the art of redesigning design. He is an architect and author who believes that beauty is not a superficial concern, but an environmental imperative. He oversees design for the San Diego office of Harley Ellis Devereaux and chairs the firm’s nationwide design excellence programme. Hosey also currently serves on the AIA Committee on the environment advisory group and previously served on the USGBC social equity working group.

Vivian Loftness will speak on Design for Sustainability, delving into the latest global research and thinking on the topic. She is a key member of Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Mellon University’s leadership in sustainability research and education and contributes to the on-going development of the ‘Intelligent Workplace’. Her work has influenced national policy and building projects and she has been recognised as a LEED fellow, a senior fellow of the Design Futures Council and one of 13 Stars of Building Science by the Building Research Establishment in the UK.

Founder and president of the Project for Public Spaces (PPS) in New York, Fred Kent is an authority on revitalizing city spaces and one of the foremost thinkers in livability, smart growth and the future of cities. Kent will explore the importance of public space in creating equal cities. He has worked on hundreds of projects including the Rockefeller Center and Times Square in New York and most recently led some of the largest PPS projects at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town and at Crystal City in Alexandria. He is passionate about transitioning places from inadequate to extraordinary.

Professor Mark Swilling will share his knowledge with delegates on city-wide urban infrastructure and metabolism. He is a Professor of Sustainable Development in the School of Public Leadership at Stellenbosch University, Academic Director of the Sustainability Institute and co-director of the Centre for Complex Systems in Transition. He has always focused on the dynamics of urban change, and has been recognised for introducing sustainability into leadership education. In 2012 he co-authored the internationally acclaimed book entitled Just Transitions: Explorations of Sustainability in an Unfair World, and in 2017 he convened the State Capacity Research Project on the dynamics of state capture in South Africa.  

Serial entrepreneur and business leader turned environmentalist and author, Jason Drew, chairs numerous organisations including his latest waste nutrient recycling venture AgriProtein in Philippi, Cape Town. He has held leadership roles in a number of international businesses including General Electric and BUPA, whereafter he led the start-up of Africa’s leading outsourced services provider with over 3 000 staff. Jason’s presentation will investigate the business of fixing our future in his presentation: From industrial revolution to sustainability revolution.

This year, there are just 600 seats available for green building enthusiasts at the spanking-new Century City Conference Centre in Cape Town, where delegates will share knowledge and be inspired by more than 50 local and international thought leaders. As in previous years, the convention will feature keynote, plenary and brainwave sessions, but this year the convention includes sector-specific tracks which are designed for the residential, commercial and public sectors.  This will give delegates the opportunity to deeply explore and share knowledge on their relevant areas of expertise.

This year’s convention will feature a revitalised sponsored networking area, as opposed to a standard convention exhibition space, which will offer an engaging space for delegates to network and make the connections to lead the industry forward. Cross-disciplinary collaboration is vital to promoting sustainable development and the renewed emphasis on networking and relationship building at the convention is an important way of facilitating this.

Modise adds that the programme has been designed to minimise time away from home, allowing delegates to fly in for the first session on Monday afternoon and fly out after the closing ceremony on Wednesday lunchtime. “However, we encourage delegates to make a week of it and register to attend for exciting tours and workshops that will take place on the Thursday and Friday.”

The convention will also celebrate the first ten years of the existence of the GBCSA and the many milestones it has achieved in conjunction with its members. Several awards will be presented at the Convention including a Lifetime Achievement Award, which will recognise members who have shown outstanding commitment to the green building agenda over the past 10 years.