A number of high profile industry leaders were recognised in the 2019 Australia Day Honours List including former Refrigerants Australia executive director, Steve Anderson.
His Medal in the Order of Australia recognises his outstanding contribution and service to the air conditioning and refrigeration industry through the development of environmental policy.
Anderson was joined by outgoing Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) Chief Executive Officer Romilly Madew who was awarded an Order of Australia award in honour of her distinguished service to the construction sector as a change agent and advocate for sustainable building practices.
Another champion of sustainability in the built environment and inaugural GBCA Board Member, Peter Verwer was recognised for distinguished service to the property sector, to sustainable development and construction, and to professional bodies.
Refrigerants Australia was quick to issue a formal statement congratulating Anderson who formally retired in 2014. “Steve's recognition is well deserved," the statement said.
Anderson positioned industry to work collaboratively with government and to take necessary steps – typically at significant cost and risk – to deliver improved environmental outcomes.
In its statement Refrigerants Australia said the results of Anderson's efforts are both astonishing and substantive and include:
Effective transition away from ozone depleting substances resulting in the ozone hole beginning to close with it expected to be healthy by 2050.
Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from the early 1990s to today of over 90%, and with further reform he initiated a further reduction of another 90% between 2018 and 2036. This represents a reduction of 99% over 45 years.
Improvements in energy efficiency by 60% over the past 20 years.
“Steve achieved these outcomes in two ways. Firstly he worked closely with the Commonwealth to agree on phase out schedules that pushed industry to move away from substances that had negative impacts on ozone or climate change.
“He also worked with the industry he represented to be flexible and to push themselves to accept change. These efforts can be seen in the initial passage of the Ozone Protection Act in 1989 and its major revisions in 2004 and in 2017.
“The second element of Steve’s genius was to convince the industry to develop and invest in innovative programs that deliver substantive environmental benefits. This includes Refrigerant Reclaim Australia, which is an industry funded program that collects and destroys used refrigerants,” the statement said.
“RRA was the first of these types of programs globally and remains among the most effective anywhere. Its operations have prevented the equivalent of 10 million tonnes of carbon dioxide entering the atmosphere and has saved over 10 million tonnes of stratospheric ozone.
“The second program Steve helped initiate was ARCtick. This initiative certified those tradespeople who could demonstrate that they were suitably trained. ARCtick clearly demonstrated environmental benefit and the Commonwealth made it a mandatory license program in 2004,” the statement said.
Another industry leader deserving of recognition on the weekend was Madew who has just been appointed Infrastructure Australia CEO.
“I feel privileged in my work across industry and with government to support Australian excellence and international leadership, and an enduring commitment to deliver more sustainable, productive and liveable cities and communities across the country,” Madew said.
“With over 2250 buildings across Australia now Green Star certified, we can now all experience the benefits of more sustainable buildings every day.”
Peter Verwer was also recognised for his commitment to sustainable development. Verwer was Chief Executive of the Property Council of Australia from 1992 to 2014, then Chief Executive Officer of the Asia Pacific Real Estate Association.
The Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council (ASBEC) issued a statement congratulating both Madew and Verwer.
ASBEC president, Ken Maher, said Verwer has made a remarkable contribution to the property industry and built environment sector with his relentless dedication to bringing a focus on sustainability, through cross sector collaboration.
“In his longstanding role as former head of the Property Council of Australia, as well as co-founder of ASBEC and the GBCA, Peter lead the delivery of policy initiatives that have spurred a steep change in the environmental performance of commercial buildings within our cities,” Maher said.