Green Sky Thinking Week 2012 Launch (12 Sept)

Launch debate calls for more concerted action and leadership in making sustainability ‘the norm’

Richard Blakeway, Deputy MayorRichard Blakeway, Deputy Mayor for Housing, Land and Property:
"Sustainability is now becoming a key part of people's thinking - for refurb as well as new build. The London Plan includes a commitment to reduce emissions by 60% by 2025, and in particular greening our public buildings will not only contribute significantly to this target but, as part of wider measures, create 14,000 new jobs a year in London as part of a £23bn green economy. Initiatives such as Green Sky Thinking Week can only but help to highlight leadership and vision for the green agenda."

Open-City’s Green Sky Thinking Week (17–21 Sept) was launched on Weds 12 Sept at a breakfast session with heated debate about the way forward for embedding sustainability in the built environment. Hosted and chaired by Gardiner & Theobald, and opened with a keynote speech by Richard Blakeway, Deputy Mayor for Housing, Land and Property, the launch discussion involved more than 100 private and public sector professionals arguing the case for more concerted action and leadership from both the property industry and government.

The panel debate, chaired by Richard Francis, Director of Environment & Sustainability, Gardiner & Theobald, challenged speakers Claudine Blamey (The Crown Estate), Celeste Giusti (GLA) and Jenny Pidgeon (Henderson Global Investors) and the audience to identify how we can ‘cut through greenwash to deliver real results’.

‘Sustainability is a simple concept’, stated Richard, ‘it’s about achieving better outcomes and real world results. At the moment green building is a beauty pageant, yet needs in the future to be a talent show’. Key points raised were that:

  • the private sector should not wait for government to set targets – it needs to lead the way
  • sustainability needs to sell itself, not just be ‘rebranded obsolescence on the balance sheet’
  • government needs to provide a more coherent framework
  • occupiers say sustainability matters when they fill out  survey but do they really mean it?

The debate concluded with a call for charismatic leadership, a visionary response, and a step-change from the current focus on ‘value’ and whether works can pay for themselves. It provided a suitably challenging introduction to Open-City’s Green Sky Thinking Week, which starts on Monday.


The Green Sky Thinking Week 2012 breakfast launch hosted and chaired by:

Gardiner & Theobald