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Cape Town will turn green for annual sustainability summit in November

Sustainability buffs will turn Cape Town a deeper shade of green when they converge in November for the Green Building Convention 2015, with the theme for this year “Inspiring Better Buildings”.

“Sustainability draws interest from a diverse range of professions and sectors,” says Brian Wilkinson, chief executive of the Green Building Council of SA (GBCSA).

The convention, sponsored by Property Finance at Nedbank Corporate and Investment Banking, will take place from November 2 to 6, led by broadcast personality Kura Chihota.

Opening with three days of master classes and insider property tours, the emphasis for delegates is on sustainability initiatives in action.

Keynotes and round tables kick off on November 4 with a keynote address by award-winning businessman, author and environmental advocate Jochen Zeitz, who will tackle the economic and business angle on sustainability. The chairman of the Kering board’s sustainable development committee, former chief executive of PUMA, and founder of the Zeitz Foundation for Intercultural Ecosphere Safety, Zeitz is also widely lauded for developing the environmental profit and loss account, a model for addressing sustainability goals as part of the corporate bottom-line.

On November 5, Chris Smith, a member of The Naked Scientists, will deliver the opening keynote address. Founded in 2001, The Naked Scientists are based at Cambridge University in the UK and make up a team of scientists, doctors and communicators who engage the general public more closely with the worlds of science, technology and medicine. Smith hosts radio shows on science around the world, and in South Africa he can be heard on Friday mornings on Primedia’s Talk Radio 702 and 567 CapeTalk.

“The Naked Scientists have reached audiences across the world and podcasts by the group have been downloaded more than 40 million times over the past five years,” says Wilkinson.

The radio shows cover scientific, business and social perspectives on sustainability. Smith is well-known for explaining complicated scientific phenomenon in simple, easy to understand ways, with topics ranging from the science of climate change to why and how your productivity would be affected by natural light.

Former Greenpeace activist and chemist Prof Michael Braungart will talk about how society can re-think industrial production in a way that is positive instead of negative in terms of sustainability.

The founder and scientific chief executive of the Hamburg-based consulting firm Environmental Protection and Encouragement Agency (EPEA) Internationale Umweltforschung will go a step further and talk about achieving sustainable abundance in production. He has authored books on his pioneering concepts, including, Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the way we make things; and, Beyond Sustainability: Designing for Abundance.

Another speaker in the line-up for the GBCSA convention is Donald Thompson, an architect and founder of The Center for Regenerative Design and Collaboration (CRDC).

Thompson is noted for his commitment to changing the face of construction in Costa Rica and his contribution to conservation. He is the designer of the patented AGUA “Bottle to Tile” Out Cycling project, and consults to the Costa Rican Government and various multinational corporations. Thompson’s talk at the convention is titled “Outcycling: Turning vicious cycles into virtuous ones”.

The convention programme ensures ample opportunity for delegates to network, formally and informally, with an opening cocktail and wine tasting on November 4, a conference party at The Shed at the V&A Waterfront on November 5; and the Green Star SA Leadership Awards reception


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