Dr. Christine Lemaitre
Chief Executive Officer
Enhancing the Industry
The construction industry is sluggish. When Dr. Christine Lemaitre joined the DGNB thirteen years ago as a civil engineer with a doctorate, the non-profit organization was still small. The industry was confused about what the DGNB was up to: to create demonstrably better buildings in terms of holistic sustainability quality with the help of the DGNB certification system. Christine came along at just the right time. With her determined personality, she always manages to shake up the industry. She does not tolerate a look-away mentality. Instead, she puts her finger in open wounds around the topic of sustainable construction. She values self-reflection, an open culture of error and an honest look. These are essential qualities she brought to the DGNB and still cultivates today.
"We can't keep reinventing the wheel, the knowledge is there, we just have to get started!" is one of Christine’s most said phrases. And she never tires of repeating her point of view. Her staying power is strong. Christine is about the cause, about working together in terms of content to achieve the common goal. She does not know the principle of waiting. While others have been shocked by Corona, the association has increased its activity level. For example, Christine launched the creation of the “Klimapositive Städte und Gemeinden” initiative, which promotes exchange among cities that want to act more sustainably. Before that, at her instigation, the Phase Sustainability initiative was founded, which brings architects and professional planners to the table to honestly reflect on their own planning and gradually change it. Another of her heartfelt projects is the “Wissensstiftung .”This non-profit organization aims to provide quick and easy access to directly applicable knowledge. Because building well is not rocket science, she is convinced. It also wants to encourage the industry to take action. And to learn from each other. She also advocates this conviction of learning from one another in an international context. She denounces the fact that buildings look the same all over the world, regardless of climatic and cultural conditions. To change this, she has launched the Building Sense Now initiative with partners from continents across the globe.
“There are not yet that many female managers in the construction industry. But as soon as the opportunity arises, I naturally support them wherever I can, regardless of whether they are men or women, young or old. Because the topic of sustainability in the construction industry can and should be worked on by everyone,” says Christine. “I think the most important advise we can impart is to remain flexible and agile in terms of your goals and how you measure success. Furthermore, critical self-reflection and the search for the best possibilities without being dogged helps.”
With this honest and convincing attitude, Christine has played her part in ensuring that the DGNB today has more than 1,600 member organizations and has grown to over 70 employees in the office. First as head of the department for the DGNB certification system and since 2010 as Executive Director of the DGNB. A mixture of persistence, persuasiveness, and modesty characterizes her. And for which she has also received several awards. In 2019, she received the ECO Innovator Award from the Global Green Economic Forum. In the same year, she received the Woman in Real Estate Award. She was honored twice in a row by the trade magazine immobilienmanager as one of the essential female influencers in the German real estate industry.
The emphasis on gender is alien to her in the male-dominated industry. Even the fact that she is the mother of three sons never puts her first. She is all about expertise and commitment. About saving the world. Because nothing less is what drives her and still motivates her in her tasks, even after thirteen years at DGNB. As Christine says, “I think it is very important to learn from each other, to network and to cooperate. This is the only way we can achieve the climate protection and sustainability goals, the only way we can save the world. Not everyone should reinvent the wheel, we lose too much time that way. And most of the knowledge is already there, we just have to apply it.” WL
Dr. Christine Lemaitre
Chief Executive Officer
DGNB – the abbreviation (in German) for the German Sustainable Building Council. A non-profit organisation based in Stuttgart. Ever since it was founded in 2007 the DGNB has been committed to demonstrably good buildings and urban districts that are worth living in.