GBCSA / Member story / Meet the members: In conversation with Phil Barttram

Meet the members: In conversation with Phil Barttram

June 25, 2021

Phil Barttram is an independent consultant and the owner of Philbar Consulting. He is a Director on our GBCSA Board and he answered our questions to give us a better idea of his work, the environment and what inspires him.

1.   Where do you go for inspiration?

While many people may argue that I spend a lot of time wrapped up in my own head, I really do find that my soul settles when I’m close to the sea. It’s difficult to beat a weekend in Arniston, no matter the weather.

2.  What is the best part of your work day?

I’m not sure I have a favourite part of the work day, although if pushed I’d probably say the start, as it’s full of promise and potential. But I most definitely have enjoyable parts of work – the joy I get from interacting with others and building collaborative solutions; moments of epiphany that leapfrog you forward when grappling with a particular problem; and the sense of accomplishment that comes with completing something I’m proud of.

3.  What achievement are you most proud of?

Maintaining a work-family balance and settling back in South Africa after a stint overseas …. Some tough decisions along the way but every one has been proven right … so far.

4.  What do you think is the most urgent global environmental challenge facing us?

“Urgent environmental challenge” … now that’s a tough one as they are all so interlinked. Its also great you aren’t asking for the solution! To steer away from the obvious and answer with a catch-all, I’d say it’s population growth. The root of global environmental imbalance lies at the feet of our species … the more of us there are, the more we need, the greater the inequality and the less likely we are to balance the eco-system.

5.  What do you feel is the biggest issue in the green building industry that we have to overcome, and any ideas on where to start in tackling it?

Given my background, I’d have to say it’s tackling the mispricing that exists between sustainable and unsustainable assets. The historic pricing models have always struggled to include the cost of externalities and as a result, investors aren’t rewarded for investing in sustainable assets. We can start tackling it by taking a more sophisticated approach to how we assess and value risk, whether that’s transitional, physical, long-term or short-term risk – we must get better at valuing real assets, which includes property and infrastructure.

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