New head of UKGBC promises ‘climate action’

Sunand Prasad, incoming chair of the UK Green Building Council, said he plans to use the position to champion climate action in the property and construction industry and inspire the industry to adopt practical solutions to making buildings truly sustainable and regenerative by design.

He is also passionate about the social value delivered by both the places we create and the industry itself and has pledged to use his position to bring more diverse voices into the conversation around sustainability.

Born in India in 1950, Prasad grew up in a rural community deeply connected with nature. Fast forward to 2020 and he’s made a name for himself in British architecture, having studied first at Cambridge and then the RCA, before co-founding award-winning architecture practice, Penoyre & Prasad (now part of Perkins + Will). He has risen through the profession to become a president of the Royal Institute to British Architects (2007 -2009) and is recognised as a prominent voice on sustainability across the built environment.

Through his practice he has been involved in many notable developments across the UK – specialising in public projects including cultural, healthcare, residential and educational buildings.

Julie Hirigoyen, chief executive of UKGBC, said: “I am thrilled that Sunand has been elected by the board of trustees as chairman. Having already served as a trustee for several years, his strategic counsel has been invaluable in helping us to keep the conversation around sustainability moving forward.

“We are now at a critical point in our journey. As we focus on overcoming the pandemic, we must not lose sight of the urgent need to build back better. We must greatly accelerate action on the ground, driving widespread adoption of sustainable solutions. Sunand is the person to help us do just that and I look forward to working closely with him.”

Sunand Prasad said: “I’m excited to be taking the helm at UKGBC at such an extraordinary moment. As we struggle through the pandemic, we are showing the ability to embrace change at a speed and scale not previously thought possible. It is vital that we now show that our industry can step up to the climate emergency. UKGBC will support the industry to do this through championing solutions in the widest possible sense: scaling existing solutions, profiling new delivery models, supporting independent innovators, spotlighting new finance mechanisms, and pushing past financial, regulatory or cultural barriers to progress.

“The business case for sustainability has been made. If you don’t act on the climate crisis you’ll be outpaced by your competitors, abandoned by your investors and unprepared for the physical impacts of climate change.

“I’m also making it my personal mission to increase the diversity of individuals at the table for conversations around sustainability and the built environment. The climate crisis affects everyone, and we will only succeed in overcoming it if we listen to everyone and all work together.”

Sunand takes over the role from David Partridge of Argent, following his three-year tenure as chair. Partridge will remain on the board of trustees.

To ensure that the industry leaders of the future are represented at the highest level of the organisation’s governance structure, each autumn, the Board of Trustees invites an alumnus of UKGBC’s Future Leaders programme to join the Board for a two-year term. The board welcomed Derek Wilson, senior sustainable development manager at Transport for London. Willmott Dixon’s Michael Cross steps down having completed his two-year tenure.

The full membership of UKGBC’s board of trustees is now as follows:

  • Judith Everett, chief operating officer, the Crown Estate
  • Jerome Frost, global cities leader, Arup
  • Mina Hasman, associate, SOM
  • Bill Hughes, head of real assets, Legal & General Investment Management
  • David Partridge, senior partner, Argent
  • Sunand Prasad, principal, Penoyre & Prasad
  • Victoria Quinlan, managing director for investment management, Lendlease Europe
  • Lorna Walker, chief operating officer, Modomo
  • Rick Willmott, group chief executive, Willmott Dixon
  • Derek Wilson, senior sustainable development manager, Transport for London

This article originally appeared on PlaceTech – 7 October 2020.

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