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Welcoming André Theys, new Chair of the GBCSA Board

August 29, 2023

A big round of applause and congratulations to André Theys on his well-deserved appointment as the new Chair of the GBCSA Board! Following the AGM at the end of July, André has taken the helm, bringing his expertise and passion to this prestigious role.
André Theys, the Executive Manager for Operations at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town, has always been a driving force for sustainable initiatives. His dedication to creating a greener and more sustainable future is truly inspiring.

We also extend a heartfelt thank you to Brian Unsted for his incredible leadership as the past Chair of the GBCSA Board. Brian’s contributions have been invaluable, and we’re thrilled that he will continue to serve on the Board, lending his wisdom and experience.

Here’s to a new chapter of sustainable progress under André Theys’ guidance and to the continued collaboration of these visionary leaders.

Read Andre’s Foreword to the GBCSA 2022 Annual Integrated Report below.

My tenure as Chair begins in the wake of considerable change and growth for the GBCSA, and I am humbled having been given the chance to build upon the foundation laid by my predecessor, Brian Unsted. Through Brian’s strong leadership over the past few challenging years, the GBCSA has emerged stronger, more resilient, agile and adaptable, and ready to seize the opportunities laid before us.

As an organisation that seeks to transform the built environment sector, we are cognizant of the many challenges property owners currently face in the macroeconomic context – depressed markets, unreliable power supply from Eskom, the global energy crisis, and broader socio-economic challenges within South Africa (to name but a few). I am cautiously optimistic that these challenges will also create new opportunities for the GBCSA within the sector. As energy costs rise and the push for efficiency grows, landlords and tenants will look to us for solutions that make financial and environmental sense.

A significant part of our 2022 endeavours were dedicated to refining the Green Star New Building Version 2 tool, but equally noteworthy was our substantial engagement with existing building stock – an area teeming with untapped potential. Although our Existing Building Performance (EBP) tool might lack the sparkle of new build rating tools, it is a linchpin in driving energy efficiency and charting our path towards decarbonisation. Furthermore, the EBP tool equips building owners with the requisite data for an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).

So, as we get ready to pilot our New Build tool, our focus will be intensified towards enhancing the uptake of the EBP tools – an endeavour we believe will move the needle in a substantial way. Complementing this focus, we’ll be driving greater uptake of the Net Zero tools, particularly Net Zero Carbon accelerated by the current load shedding. We’ll also be ensuring our training is up- to-date and remains relevant for our audience.

The strength of the GBCSA lies not in physical infrastructure but in the intellectual capital of our people. I am deeply grateful to the staff, board, and the AP community, who stayed the course with us through challenging times. You have been the driving force that has helped us right the ship, and we are committed to investing in and nurturing this invaluable asset. My appreciation also extends to our members, who play a significant role in shaping our identity.

Our African continent faces numerous challenges which, while daunting, also foster resilience and ingenuity. We’ve braved water crises, power shortages, and more, emerging stronger each time. This indomitable spirit, I am confident, will carry us forward, enabling GBCSA to sail against the winds and chart our course into a sustainable future.

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