MAY/JUNE 2014 • ISSUE 12
SUSTAINABILITY WEEK REVIEW CIRCULAR ECONOMY A NECESSARY REVOLUTION
FACILITIES MANAGEMENT BETTER GREENER BUILDINGS
FOOD SECURITY IN AFRICA IMPACTS OF GLOBAL WARMING R29,00 - (VAT INCL) 08013
9 772225 597009
ENVIRONMENTAL PRODUCT DECLARATIONS CAN WE TRUST THEM?
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The more efficient we become the more resources we use, according to English economist William Stanley Jevons who proposed that as technology progresses, the increase in efficiency with which a resource is used tends to increase (rather than decrease) the rate of consumption of that resource. Jevon’s theory is unfortunately and quite inconveniently relevant in the context of corporate reporting says Pieter Conradie, Head of the Albert Luthuli Centre for Responsible Leadership (University of Pretoria). Conradie was speaking at the Green Business Seminar held recently during Sustainability Week at the CSIR Convention Centre where he urged delegates in attendance to consider the fact that the real solutions to corporate sustainability cannot simply be based in optimum resource efficiency and increased environmental performance over time, but rather in significant disruptive (and probably painful) interventions that are required to create meaningful change. Conradie’s intention was not to undermine the good work being done by the corporate sector, but rather to remind us that far more is required if we are serious about steering the ship away from the abyss. Also held at Sustainability Week was the inaugural and well attended Food Security Seminar – an event that demonstrated the growing levels of interest and concern from key stakeholders in South Africa. In this issue of the Green Business Journal we take a look at the impacts of global warming on food security in Africa – a topic that is increasingly relevant in context.
JULY/AUGUST 2014 • ISSUE 13
SUSTAINABILITY WEEK REVIEW CIRCULAR ECONOMY A NECESARY REVOLUTION
FACILITIES MANAGEMENT BETTER GREENER BUILDINGS
FOOD SECURITY IN AFRICA IMPACTS OF GLOBAL WARMING R29,00 - (VAT INCL) 08013
9 772225 597009
ENVIRONMENTAL PRODUCT DECLARATIONS CAN WE TRUST THEM?
Cover personality: Dion Chang, Futurist and speaker at the Green Building Conference, Sustainability Week 2014
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Please take a look at the Contents page for some other really interesting contributions, such as a story on the principles of the circular economy or the opportunities for sustainability in the facilities management sector. We welcome your feedback and hope that you enjoy the read.
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The corporate sustainability tool that is a platform for employee and reputation development, behaviour change and competitive advantage.
News and updates
Sustainability through the keyhole
Environmental Product Declarations A summary of the UL Environmental Product Declarations white paper
• Build capacity in the organisation by training key employees about the principles and practices of corporate sustainability. • Leverage differentiation in order to achieve competitive advantage. • Develop and manage reputation by building and marketing an Online Sustainability Profile. • Use the Framework process to develop a Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Sustainability Report which can be widely used in the company’s value chain. The Good Business Framework combines an online and personal interface in order to target measurable outcomes: • Empowering key decision makers in your organisation • Identifying risks and opportunities • Marketing and media exposure
The Circular Economy
Food Security in Africa
The Impact of Global Warming on Food Security in Africa
Sustainability Week Review
A necessary revolution
The role of facilities management in the performance of buildings
Sustainability Week 2014, overview and outcomes
NEWS & UPDATES CHINA’S AMAZING E-COMMERCE GIANT: DID YOU KNOW? China’s Alibaba Group has grown to become the world’s largest online and mobile commerce company despite never engaging in direct sales. Here’s more on Alibaba’s success. • It has 231m annual active buyers. • 11.3bn orders went through Alibaba’s platforms in 2013. • Active buyers make 49 purchases per year on average. • The total gross merchandise volume (GMV) of its three main Chinese consumer retail marketplaces is $248bn. • For the nine-month period ending 31 December 2013, Alibaba made $6.5bn in revenue with a net income of $2.9bn. • Of this total, China commerce revenue was 35.17bn Yuan ($5.66bn), representing 86.9% of revenue. The rest of its revenue came from international sales through Alibaba.com and cloud computing services. • Alibaba’s mobile GMV in 2013 was $37bn, which equates to 19.7% of its total GMV (up 7.4% year-on-year). • The company accounted for 76.2% of total mobile retail GMV in China last year. Source: ww.econsultancy.com
FIRST 5-STAR GREEN RATING AWARDED FOR SA OFFICE DESIGN Growthpoint Properties’ has custom developed an industrial and office facility for Grundfos in Germiston. The facility has been awarded a 5-Star Green Star SA Office Design v1 rating by the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA). The rating is the first to be given to an integrated industrial and office facility in South Africa. Growthpoint Properties Industrial Division Head, Engelbert Binedell comments: “From design to construction and operation, sustainable development was a key priority for Growthpoint and Grundfos. We are delighted that our strong push in energy-efficiency and green building has achieved this ground-breaking rating for integrated office and industrial property, especially considering that South Africa does not yet have an official green building rating tool for industrial properties.” Source: www.eprop.co.za/
B2B BOOMING THANKS TO SOCIAL MEDIA & MARKETING B2B took a while to adapt to social media and marketing practices, but today companies are investing time and money into social media, blogging and marketing, and seeing the positive results. • 40% of B2B buyers say LinkedIn is important when researching technologies and purchases. 19% say the same for Twitter. • The top three social media used by B2B marketers are LinkedIn (91%), Twitter (85%) and 81% Facebook. • 62% of B2B marketers say LinkedIn is effective. 30% say the same for Facebook. • 76% of B2B companies maintain blogs. • B2B business blogs generate 67% more leads than those who don’t. • 62% of B2B marketers rate blogging as an effective content marketing tactic. • 91% of B2B marketers use content marketing. Just 36% say they are effective at it. • Most effective B2B content marketers: • Use +12 different tactics • Have a documented strategy • Use an average of 7 different social platforms Source: http://www.business2community.com/
CARBON OFFSETS PAPER FOR SOUTH AFRICA South Africa has published proposals for businesses to lower carbon-tax liability, which includes proposals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Public comments on the carbon offsets paper must be submitted by 30 June 2014, according to the National Treasury in Pretoria. The carbon offsets program is meant to complement the carbon tax that South Africa plans to introduce from 2016. The carbon-tax formula allows for a basic tax-free threshold for emissions above a minimum 60 percent. Other elements of the formula include additional transitional allowances, including the carbon offsets, which can increase the threshold by up to 90 percent. Projects focused on energy efficiency, public transport, transport energy efficiency, agriculture, forestry and waste, may be eligible for the offsets, which exclude South Africa’s renewable-energy independent power-producer program. Source: www.bloomberg.com/
NEWS & UPDATES 10 OPPORTUNITIES FOR SMALL BUSINESS & TECHNOLOGY With the ever-changing technology landscape, how are small businesses that keep our economy strong reacting? Here are 10 statistics showing growth and opportunity for small business and technology. 1. Only 53% of businesses today have a website 2. 1.3 billion people will telecommute by 2015 3. Less than 5% of business websites are optimised for mobile users 4. 66% of small business owners are using mobile devices or solutions as part of their day to day operations 5. 50% of online sales are lost because visitors can’t find content 6. 27% of small business have no IT support 7. 92% of SMBs are using at least one cloud business solution. 8. Nearly 8 out of 10 SMBs still use manual integration such as manual Excel files, or custom code 9. SMBs will increase technology spending 50% by 2015 10. 43% of small business spend 6 hours or more each week on social media Source: www.business2community.com
HOTEL VERDE ACHIEVES LEED® PLATINUM CERTIFICATION Hotel Verde awarded prestigious LEED® Platinum Green Building Certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) by the U.S Green Building Council Hotel Verde, by BON Hotels, is indeed ’Africa’s greenest hotel’, having just been awarded LEED® Platinum Certification, the premier mark of accomplishment in green building throughout the world. With this award Hotel Verde joins a select group of sustainable and innovative buildings, and is the only LEED Platinum New Construction project on the African continent. The announcement was made on Friday, 23 May and delighted owners Mario and Annemarie Delicio have seen a dream realised by sheer determination, along with the hard work of their committed team. “Today is indeed one of the most beautiful days of my life and together with our Carbon Neutral Accommodation Experience, we will start a new chapter in the hospitality industry in Africa,” says Mario. LEED is the foremost program for buildings, homes and communities that are designed, constructed, maintained and operated for improved environmental and human health performance. There are four levels of LEED certification - Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum – the number of points a project earns determines the level of LEED certification that the project will receive. Each rating system is made up of a combination of credit categories with specific criteria that projects must satisfy and a variety of credits that projects can pursue to earn points. “Our green consultants for the LEED submission, André Harms of Ecolution Consulting and Jutta Berns-Mumbi of Ecocentric, targeted a Gold certification and made us all believe that this was the highest realistic result, however, their ambitions were higher and they secretly worked hard leaving no stone unturned to attain Platinum, of which we are immensely proud,” comments Mario. Source: Advert Press Release
MONETISING WITH MOBILE: 10 THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW Whether it’s smartphones or tablets, it has become impossible to strategically think about marketing while ignoring mobile altogether. Here are 10 mobile-related statistics that every marketer should be aware of: 1. 82% of mobile shoppers use search to influence their purchasing decisions. 2. 52% of mobile shoppers realise that they buy more with crosschannel personalisation. 3. Nearly half of American smartphone owners used shopping apps in June 2012. 4. Smartphone use most often occurs during travel (72%), in restaurants (64%) and in stores (63%). 5. 62% of emails are opened on mobile. 6. Tablet users access search 73.9 percent of the time, more than any other activity. 7. Local mobile searches (85.9 billion) are expected to exceed desktop searches (84 billion) for the first time in 2015. 8. Global smartphone use will reach 2 billion by 2015. 9. By 2017, 85% of the world will have 3G access 10. 79% of smartphone owners also use their devices to shop. Source: www.business2community.com
NEWS & UPDATES SANTAM & UNICEF SHINE SPOTLIGHT ON CHILDREN’S RIGHTS This year, Santam has partnered with UNICEF South Africa and its long-standing and flagship corporate social investment (CSI) initiative entitled the Santam Child Art Project. The project promotes love of art amongst children and hosts an annual national art competition with this year’s theme being ‘Children’s Rights’. Santam encourages schools around South Africa to enter and the winning artworks will be featured in the 2015 edition of Santam’s prestigious calendar which will be distributed to a large network that includes Santam clients and UNICEF South Africa stakeholders. Source: www.allafrica.com/
CURRENT AND FUTURE BUSINESS LEADERS REQUIRE NEW SKILLS Paul Druckman, Head of the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) will give his views at a “crowd sourcing” event at the University of Pretoria on the 18th August 2014. Additional presentations from Terence Nombembe (SAICA) and Pieter Conradie (University of Pretoria) will be followed by round table discussions with audience members. Please contact Rene for further information with the following reference code: GBJ News email@example.com or +27.12.4206442
SOUTH AFRICA’S GREEN RUSH Business leaders surveyed by AT Kearney, the global management consultancy, have more confidence in South Africa as an investment destination than they do in many European countries and emerging powerhouses like Chile and Malaysia. One reason is Pretoria’s much lauded renewable energy program which in the view of London-based risk analysts IHS has made South Africa “the world’s most attractive country for solar energy” investment. In late 2013, a growing parade of solar and wind power projects have begun feeding hundreds of badly needed megawatts into South Africa’s national grid. This is the start of a carbon-free energy revolution that will, under current plans, see 42% of all new generating capacity commissioned between now and 2030 fuelled by the country’s abundant sun and wind. Source: www.koreabizwire.com/
T-SYSTEMS EMPOWERS COMMUNITY T-Systems South Africa is empowering the Emalahleni community in Mpumalanga, by donating 38 laptops (including software, accessories and training) to 19 local NGOs. This CSI venture forms part of T-Systems’ ASGISA (Accelerated Shared Growth Initiative of South Africa) commitments around the building of the Kusile power plant in the Emalahleni area. ASGISA is a national initiative supported by key groups in the local economy, including businesses such as T-Systems. The programme is aimed at empowering local communities and trying to reduce unemployment and poverty. As part of the Kusile P22 project, Eskom identified 19 NGOs in the region in need of support. Source: www.itweb.co.za/
BOKS FOR BOOKS IN SOWETO The South African Rugby Union’s (SARU) major Corporate Social Investment (CSI) initiative to supply fully-stocked mobile or refurbished libraries to previously disadvantaged schools, opened another library at the Sekwati Primary School. Springbok centre Juan de Jongh and Springbok Sevens star Seabelo Senatla accompanied SARU president, Oregan Hoskins, to the Boks for Books handover event in the heart of Soweto, Johannesburg. SARU launched the ambitious CSI project in June 2013 in Durban and has since opened libraries in East London and Pinetown. Boks for Books is SARU’s first venture into CSI and was born out of a desire to make a different contribution to South African society. South Africa currently holds approximately 12.3 million learners, although only 8% of these public schools have functional libraries. Source: http://www.sarfu.org.za/
‘New generation’ green cleaning products work with nature
Bacteria have been around since the beginning of life on Earth. We are now working with them as vital partners in our ‘new generation’ green cleaning products.
Since the boom in ‘industrial science’ in the 1950s and 60s, chemical cleaners have taken the major share of the cleaning product market. However, as awareness grows of the need to protect our environment and the move to a greener economy gains momentum, research and development of cleaning products kinder to people and nature has ushered in a new generation of ‘green’ cleaners. Traditional chemical cleaning products formulated in laboratories which use environmentally harmful chemical ingredients such as ‘surfactants’ usually work by loosening grime and dirt, so allowing it to be washed off. Many of these chemicals are harsh and have negative health effects on cleaning workers and will harm natural downstream water systems. The new generation ‘green’ cleaning products are healthier for the environment and people, especially those based on bio-enzyme products. These work with sets of bacteria carefully selected from nature specifically for the purpose. Together with particular bio-enzymes, dirt and grease undergo degradation, changing organic waste into water and CO2. Washing away is not required, and air-drying only is sufficient - thus saving on water. No harmful chemicals go into water systems and workers are not exposed to harsh chemicals, increasing worker safety and productivity while reducing sick leave. Prolonged use of bio-enzyme products facilitates growth of colonies of these good bacteria thus prolonging their efficacy.
There are some so-called ‘green’ cleaning products such as lactic acid cleaners not based on bio-enzyme technology, however these do not work as bio-enzymes do and offer no benefit to the environment. Bacteria have been around since the beginning of life on Earth. Billions of years of evolutionary R & D since then have produced many species designed specifically and very effectively to eradicate grime, dirt and other organic waste. We are now working with them as vital partners in our new generation green cleaning products. We urge anyone responsible for decisions about cleaning buildings, kitchens, restrooms, offices, factories, and homes to try bio-enzyme green cleaners and see how safe and effective they can be. – Donovan Hawker from Green Worx Cleaning Solutions is a leading advocate of green cleaning products in South Africa.
Sustainability Through The Keyhole Showcasing South African companies that are demonstrating leadership in sustainability The construction sector is arguably the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. The sector is also a massive consumer of natural resources and is associated with urban sprawl. The construction sector does however employ millions of people and it plays a key role in economic development and housing. There is an urgent requirement for large construction sector companies to examine the ways in which they can mitigate impacts. A Strategic Approach: Afrisam For 75 years Afrisam has played a large role in the construction industry in Africa, supplying cement, concrete, ready-mix and building materials across the continent and developing an organisation that has an extensive distribution range and a wide-spread client base. Given the size and scale of the organisation, Afrisam has an enormous meaningful on the building industry as a whole, and as a result – given the nature of their products – the company became concerned with the negative impacts that operations were having on the environment. Being Africa’s leading supplier of building and construction materials, the organisation decided to make an effort to reduce impact and in doing so, also make a difference in the construction industry throughout Africa. The organisation is now committed to promoting growth and development, not only in terms of city skylines, but also in the communities and environments in which it operates. Strategy Afrisam’s motto is ‘people, planet, performance’, a mantra that the company is endeavouring to keep central in all areas of the business. As an organisation they have adopted the Brundtland definition of sustainable development and management within the company are tasked with trying
to ensure that all decisions made within Afrisam touch upon sustainable development’s interdependent social, economic and environmental factors. Afrisam has 2 cement production facilities, 9 cement depots, 16 quarries and 36 readymix concrete plants in South Africa alone, which means that they are involved with significant number of communities and landscapes. As a result, the organisation states that their mission has become to provide end consumers with a product that is not only of the highest quality, but also a product that has been produced through sustainable and responsible methods. Afrisam claims that this promise is incorporated at the top of the value chain, the results of which are evident in their professional reputation and philanthropic pursuits. Innovation and Product Responsibility A positive outcome of the company’s efforts to further sustainability is their development and production of a technologically advanced cement product that has a CO2 footprint which is almost half of the current world average. Given the distribution range and an enormous production capacity of the organisation, the development of this environmentally friendly product has had a meaningful impact on a number of developments across Africa. Additionally, Afrisam was the very first construction materials company to sign the 49m pledge; a signifier of the leading role they have adopted within the industry and has evolved to include sustainable and responsible production practices. Efficiency and Conservation Afrisam has made significant and consistent efforts to reduce their emissions, energy consumption, water usage and waste production. Their sustainable production
efforts have resulted in the reduction of overall energy consumption and emissions. The development of low emission cement has also had a considerable impact on the company’s carbon footprint, as well as that of their customers. In addition, the organisation takes care to manage resources in order to reduce the amount of waste being produced, ensuring that they source the correct amount of raw materials to minimise production waste. Social Responsibility and Training Management at Afrisam emphasise the belief that the organisation is part of the communities in which it operates and as such, Afrisam very involved with community upliftment projects. Guided by their ‘People, Planet, Performance’ mantra, the organisation endeavours to understand and support local communities and has begun a number of endeavours which aim to target environmental issues. The organisation tends to focus on projects which they believe will have a wide-ranging influence, and will reach as many individuals as possible. It is therefore involved in various education, conservation and legacy projects which have a knock-on effect within their host communities. Examples of this include the partnership with FTA (Food and Trees for Africa) to develop a commercially viable organic farming community project and the annual Afrisam SAIA awards, an initiative which aims to raise awareness about the pressing issue of sustainability in the built environment. In addition, the organisation also funds programs which aim to increase environmental awareness within communities and provide education and training, programs such as the Afrisam conservancy bursary, various teacher awareness programmes and the Two Oceans Aquarium Activity Centre.
The use and abuse of Environmental Product Declarations: Can we trust them? A summary of the UL Environmental Product Declarations white paper Author Stephanie von der Heyde
ith the global consumption of natural resources reaching critical levels, the move toward environmentally sustainable products has progressed from ‘trendy’ to imperative with alarming speed. Industries from plastics to electronics now have to measure - and very often declare -the environmental impact of their products as issues like government regulations, diminishing raw materials and discerning ‘green’ customers are added to the mix. This movement has been enthusiastically embraced by manufacturers and has ultimately provided consumers with shelves full of sustainably-guaranteed products, piece of mind and a healthier planet, all in a single trip to the grocery store. Not all sustainability guarantees are created equal, however, and it seems that in the rush to green supremacy a few manufacturers may have slightly exaggerated their eco-friendly activities. Without proper benchmarking and regulation, consumers have no way of knowing which sustainability guarantees are authentic and which ones have been somewhat liberally self-proclaimed. Fortunately, this issue has not escaped the attentions of regulators and measures like Environmental Product Declarations (EDPs) have been introduced in an attempt to curtail environmental pretenders and clear customer confusion. EDP Explained An EPD is a wide-ranging disclosure of a product’s life cycle-based environmental impact that has been validated by an independent third party. An EPD reports the results of a product’s life cycle assessment (LCA) as well as any additional information that is relevant to a product’s environmental
profile. An EPD will include information pertaining to a product’s carbon footprint and its potential impact on global warming, ozone depletion, acidification of land and water, eutrophication, photochemical ozone creation, and the depletion of abiotic resources, making it a comprehensive and reliable sustainability indicator. Currently, there are 3 types of labels which one will find on products claiming to have been sustainably manufactured. EPDs are categorized as a Type III eco-label as defined under the ISO 14025 standard, which means they are fact-based documents that provide specific information by category and require independent validation of a product’s environmental impact. Type II labels, on the other hand, are self-declarations used by manufacturers to claim an environmental benefit related to the product or its use, but are not validated by a third party, and type I labels verify compliance with a specific environmental standard, but again, they do not require independent validation of a product’s environmental impact. As such, EPDs promote greater transparency of important environmental impact information and are a reliable and trustworthy way for consumers to differentiate between sustainable products and eco-pretenders. The Value of EDPs When it comes to buying a product these days, people today are faced with a myriad of choices and fortunately, most of them are interested in making the right one. Whether it’s canned tomatoes or laminate flooring, consumers are becoming increasingly discerning when it comes to buying green. Research conducted by an independent third
party for UL Environment in October 2010 found that more than 90 percent of architects and building designers surveyed have researched, specified or purchased so-called green products in the same year, and are continuing to seek products with accompanying environmental impact assessments. Unfortunately, managing an entire supply chain can be a difficult task in any industry, which makes it all the more important to give buyers transparent, uncomplicated and honest information about the environmental impact of the product they’re buying. Even the canned tomatoes customer needs accurate information, and if he is making an attempt to shop sustainably then he should be rewarded for it with the actual, positive environmental benefit of his purchase being realised. Additionally, manufacturers who are doing their bit for mother earth also deserve to be recognised and to reap the rewards of improved reputation and increased client base. For this reason, EDPs are incredibly important and are able to play a huge role in the future of the planet. If every customer interested in buying sustainably were able to make the right choice and buy the product that is the most environmentally friendly, more environmental benefits would be fulfilled and more manufacturers would be motivated to improve their sustainability status. As such, EPDs are an important element in the overall effort to reduce environmentally damaging production practices and preserve the availability of important natural resources. There are several ways in which the use of EPDs helps to achieve these goals: • As a management tool to monitor product environmental data and to use this
data to improve product environmental performance As a communication tool to provide unbiased product environmental information to enhance overall awareness of the environmental impact of products As an evaluation/assessment tool for benchmarking environmental information and for evaluating and making product selection decisions As a procurement tool to achieve government, institutional or corporate environmental objectives As an action tool to broadly disseminate product environmental information to the public, and to identify concerns about efforts to improve product environmental sustainability
environmental and health information disclosure. Therefore, the first step in creating a compliant EPD is to find an applicable PCR for the particular product. If an appropriate PCR does not exist, a new PCR must be developed and approved for use through a credible EPD program operator.
Compiling an EDP The process of developing an EDP is can be broken down into a 3 steps:
Step2: Conduct and verify the product life cycle assessment (LCA) A range of factors are used to assess a product’s environmental performance, including energy and resource consumption, waste generation, pollutant emissions, impacts during use, and end-of-life considerations. An LCA provides the structure for identifying and assessing factors such as these. Once an LCA is conducted on a particular product, it must be verified by an independent party to determine that it meets the requirements defined in the product category rules.
Step1: Select the appropriate product category rule (PCR) PCRs describe the scope and methodology for performing a Life Cycle Assessment - the data foundation for an EPD - and provide detailed requirements for additional
Step 3: Compiling the EPD Once the applicable PCR has been developed and an LCA completed and verified, an EPD can then be prepared. The EPD presents the results of an LCA as well as additional information about the product’s
performance and other sustainability information. What the future holds for EDPs Program operators and other parties involved in the development of Product Category Rules (PCR) and EPDs are responsible for the creation and maintenance of publicly-available lists which allow other parties to determine if suitable product category requirements have already been developed. However, the problem with this is that compliance with this provision of ISO 14025 is not uniform which creates duplicate work and results in the development of PCRs that are not harmonized with other documents addressing similar product categories. As a result, the development of a centralized, publicly available system for recording all new and existing PCRs is anticipated. Such a system facilitates the harmonization of PCRs within and across product categories, reducing the need for new PCRs and simplifying the process of creating harmonized PCRs when new ones are required. Ultimately, such a system will further the overall objective of bringing environmentally preferable products to market and rewarding manufactures and consumers who are dedicated to sustainability.
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The Circular Economy Despite persistent mutterings from a denialist minority, climate change has become the most well-known symptom of an unsustainable global economic system. Author Andreas Wilson-Späth
eople around the world understand the massive threat it poses to the continued existence of healthy human societies. They also understand that it is the way that these societies function that is causing the problem in the first place. But what about solutions? Beyond switching to energy-saving light bulbs and hybrid family cars, what are the system-wide answers to our global warming dilemma? Can the world economy in its entirety be recast into a new constellation which will prevent the chaos that scientists have predicted if we continue along a businessas-usual trajectory? A growing number of business thought-leaders – among them the planet’s corporate glitterati who gathered at the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) annual soirée in Davos earlier this year – believe that the concept of a ‘circular economy’ offers a viable option to collectively extract
ourselves from our current carbon-induced quagmire. A necessary revolution The central problem is straightforward: how to maintain economic growth without depleting or destroying the natural resources on which this continued growth is fundamentally predicated. Research indicates that critical, life-sustaining ecosystems, from rainforests and wetlands to aquifers and the entire atmosphere, are being polluted and decimated at an untenable rate, and that we are likely to deplete all of the accessible low-cost mineral resources of the planet within the next century. Some of the rare metals necessary for key technologies – erbium for fibre optics, europium for light bulbs, indium for smartphone touch screens – will be exhausted in five to ten years.
Matters will only become more acute as the world’s human population expands and a middle class consumer lifestyle becomes a reality for ever-increasing numbers. We may be getting better at using our resources more efficiently, but rapidly growing consumption and waste production patterns tend to nullify these improvements. Our current, linear way of economic thinking which is based on the false notion that there is an endless supply of cheap energy and raw materials, and that is built on the simplistic business sequence of ‘manufacture > use > dispose’ is a one-way street to oblivion. Enter the circular economy. “Powered by renewable energy, fed by regenerative material flows, the circular economy is designed to decouple economic growth from resource consumption,” says William McDonough, one of the
co-developers of the cradle-to-cradle concept which resides at the heart of this new economic thinking. The idea is to design an integrated, worldwide industrial system that mimics healthy biological networks in which energy and materials are continuously circulated and recycled instead of wasted and discarded. All technical ingredients in this system are purposefully designed to fit into perpetual cycles of use and reuse across a variety of industries. They never become useless or disposable, but are constantly repurposed to take on new functions. The waste generated by one process becomes the feed stock required for another. All biological materials, on the other hand, are designed to be returned to nature in a form that is not only harmless, but in fact beneficial to the biosphere. A circular economy optimises the recovery of energy and materials from what would currently be described as waste and elevates the waste management industry to a position of central prominence. Some of the characteristics of a functioning circular economy include: • Industrial cycles that consist of multiple, nested, interlocking and closed-loop processes. • Co-operation and resource co-ordination between various industrial sectors across the entire economy. • An emphasis on energy and material efficiency. • Increased use of renewable energy. • An emphasis on reuse and recycling.
• Products which incorporate more recycled content and are designed to be easily disassembled for material recovery. • The elimination of waste through improved product, process and system design. • Industries that are restorative and regenerative. Benefits and challenges Perhaps the two biggest challenges to growing a circular economy are the firmly entrenched linear business mentality and the fact that few leaders are familiar with the ideas behind a circular economy. A recent survey of 286 European companies showed that 48.5% of senior executives had never heard of the concept while only 10% were thinking about their businesses in its terms. Some of the chief executives at Davos were keen to emphasise that circular economy thinking isn’t about corporate social responsibility but rather about good business sense. They also highlighted the need to attract new talent and innovation not shackled by paradigms of the past. The potential benefits are significant. It’s been estimated that a transition to a worldwide circular economy could generate between US$500 billion and US$1 trillion in annual savings by 2025, especially for manufacturing industries, and create 100 000 new jobs, while preventing the generation of 100 million tonnes of waste. The circular economy will help us tackle climate change, environmental pollution,
natural resource depletion and the energy crisis more effectively. In addition, it is considered by many to become a major driver of future innovation and business growth. Being part of the circular economy would allow companies to maintain closer control over their stock of raw materials along with reduced costs and increased profit margins even as such raw materials become more scarce and expensive. The frontrunners in the transition to the new system can expect improved product value, lower future risks and new revenue streams. A fledgling movement In collaboration with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the WEF has established ‘Project MainStream’ with the aim of encouraging companies to adopt circular economy thinking through information technologies, materials management and business model innovation. Some of the global corporations at the leading edge of these developments include Puma, Vodafone, Unilever, Renault, Philips, Nespresso, SAB Miller, Rabobank and IKEA. The European Union is currently debating proposals to embed circular economy concepts in its common legislative framework. The Chinese government, faced with a rapid growth in material consumption, extreme pollution and degradation of the natural environment and the accompanying detrimental impacts on the health and wellbeing of its citizens, has embraced the concept.
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In 2008, the country promulgated a circular economy law, recognizing the new approach as a viable way of reconciling ongoing economic growth with social progress, job creation and a reversal of environmental degradation. This has led to the establishment of a number of so-called ecological industrial parks, dedicated industrial zones designed to optimise waste reduction and the sharing of resources between a variety of businesses. According to the China Association of Circular Economy, the country’s circular economy outpaced general national growth by 4% between 2006 and 2010, and is expected to expand its gross output value to 1.8 trillion yuan (US$293.43 billion) by 2015. Early success stories Turning the idealistic concepts of a circular economy into a reality will require a major effort. Early adaptors stand to benefit greatly in wresting the commercial advantage from their competitors. Here are just a few examples: Coffee Flour When entrepreneur Dan Belliveau realised that the global coffee industry generates billions of kilograms of waste in the form of the pulped shells left after the extraction of coffee beans, he investigated further and discovered that the material – known in the industry as ‘coffee cherry’ – is rich in fibre, iron, potassium and protein, and represents a potentially valuable food source that can be turned into nutritious, gluten-free products. His start-up company is scheduled to produce and sell ‘coffee flour’ commercially from next year. www.coffeeflour.com Toys Companies like Luke’s Toy Factory and Green Toys Inc. are producing safe, ecofriendly toys using plastic from discarded milk bottles and organic waste such as wheat straw, rice husks and sawdust as raw materials. www.lukestoyfactory.com www.greentoys.com Enerkem This Canadian company has developed innovative technology that uses high pressure and temperature processes to extract biofuels from non-recyclable waste, profitably turning landfill garbage into ethanol fuel for cars. www.enerkem.com
Food waste Incredible amounts of perfectly good fresh produce and other food products are thrown away every day. In the USA, company’s like FoodStar Partners (www.foodstarpartners. com) and The Daily Table cooperate with farmers and retailers to recover assorted fruits, vegetables and groceries that are close to their ‘best by’ dates and make them available to consumers at discounted prices for limited periods of time. Hewlett-Packard Some 75% of all new Hewlett-Packard inkjet printer cartridges are manufactured using closed-loop technology with upcyled plastic from returned printer cartridges and other types of post-consumer plastic waste including plastic bottles and clothes hangers. Among the circular economy approaches adopted by the company are improved product designs that facilitate easy disassembly and increased recovery of recyclable materials. www.hp.com
Circular economy resources Books: • Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things by Michael Braungart and William McDonough. • A New Dynamic: Effective Business in a Circular Economy by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. • Economies of Recycling: The Global Transformation of Materials, Values and Social Relations by Catherine Alexander and Joshua Reno. Websites: • The Guardian’s circular economy hub: www.theguardian.com/ sustainable-business/circular-economy • Ellen MacArthur Foundation: www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org • Cradle to Cradle: www.cradletocradle.com • Leading circular economy tweeters: • Gunter Pauli: @MyBlueEconomy • Janine Benyus: @JanineBenyus • William McDonough: @billmcdonough • Chris Sherwin: @sherwinnovator • Ellen MacArthur Foundation: @ circulareconomy • Liz Goodwin: @LizGoodwin.
The Impact of Global Warming on Food Security in Africa Author Lulama Afrika
he impact of Global Warming on food security in Africa is a dominant issue on the global agenda at present, owing to the fact that the African continent maintains the highest proportion of malnourished populations and has an economy that is largely dependent on agriculture. The growing threat of temperature increase is, therefore, an issue which threatens the African continent more than any other, and governments, along with organisations such as the UN, are left searching for ways to respond to the impending problem. In order to find a suitable solution, gaining an accurate idea of the effects in years to come is essential. To this end, a four year project called IMPACT2C was launched, a project which aimed to assess the impact that a +2°C temperature increase will have on droughts in arid regions across the continent. Over the course of 4 years IMPACT2C studied and quantified the projected impacts of climate change by using a range of models within a multi-disciplinary international team of experts to assess effects on water, energy, infrastructure, coasts, forestry, agriculture, ecosystems services, and health and air quality-climate interactions. IMPACT2C collaborated with the African Risk Capacity (ARC) and acquired technical assistance from the UN World Food Programme. In conjunction with this, IMPACT2C also used the ARC’s ‘Africa RiskView’ programme, a software platform which allows researchers to translate satellite-based rainfall information into real-time estimates of drought response costs by combining models on agricultural drought with data on vulnerable populations. The software is also able to produce forecasts and scenarios of food security; projecting and anticipating impacts into the future. According to the analysis conducted during the IMPACT2C study, we are likely to see the predicted 2°C temperature increase happen within the next 50 to 60 years, and the question of how a climbing global temperature will translate into changes in the water cycle and in the impact of drought patterns is not as easily answered as initially thought. Interestingly, the preliminary findings show that there are very few trends which can be applied across the whole continent, as climate change will affect different – even neighbouring - areas in very different ways. In sub-Saharan Africa, climate-induced changes to agriculture and ecosystem boundaries are predicted to be dramatic. According to a statement made by the World Bank in June last year, by the 2030s droughts and heat will leave 40 percent of the land now growing maize unusable, and by the 2050s, depending on the sub-region, the proportion of the population undernourished is projected to increase by 25-90 percent compared to the present. In contrast, however, the Nile basin is set to enjoy relatively stable conditions for food security and inhabitants are unlikely to feel any
significant effects in the years to come, while in the Niger basin, large fluctuations in the number of drought affected people will make the issue of food security harder to gauge. The vast differences in the climatic impacts in the varying regions means that while opportunities may exist for cooperative strategies in disaster risk reduction, challenges will arise in managing a potentially unequal distribution of vital resources. Looking ahead, the kind of adaptation strategies to be envisioned will probably have to cope with fluctuating conditions rather than with constant trends in a well-defined direction, making the management of food security issues that much more difficult for the powers that be. On a more positive note, the information ascertained by the IMPACT2C study will allow governments and global organisations to begin early in finding solutions to the differing food security problems, problems which can, according to UN Secretary-General Ban KiMoon, be solved. “The answer to these interconnected problems lies in climate-smart agriculture,” he said, speaking at the Global Conference on Agriculture, Climate Change and Food& Nutrition Security in Johannesburg six months ago. He called on leaders from Government, finance, business and civil society to work together on developing a Climate-Smart Agriculture Alliance and invited all stakeholders to bring bold initiatives to the table. Mr. Ban said that his recent visit to the Sahel reinforced his perception of how climate change compounds the challenges for small farmers, following three major droughts in a decade that exacerbated poverty, conflict and disease. “The region’s Governments are working to help their people become more resilient, but they need international support, including through an ambitious climate change agreement in 2015,” he said. The exact plans for said climate-smart agriculture are as yet unknown, but reassurance may be found in the fact that African food security issues have been identified as a major priority on the global agenda and international support is being offered. SOURCES: Based on an article by By Sandro Calmanti, ENEA http://www.wetlands.org/News/tabid/66/ID/3806/BLOG-Impact-ofglobal-warming-on-food-security-in-vulnerable-areas-in-Africa.aspx Articles on United Nations News Centre: UN.org http://www.unep.org/newscentre/default. aspx?DocumentID=2718&ArticleID=9551 http://www.un.org/climatechange/blog/2013/12/06/ climate-smart-agriculture-needed-to-steer-food-security-throughchanging-weather-ban-says/
“The answer to these interconnected problems lies in climate-smart agriculture.” 19 GBJ
Cheaper, Better, Greener The role of facilities management in the performance of buildings
he environmental impact of existing buildings is an issue which has become pervasive in the global consciousness of late; primarily owing to increased corporate interest in sustainability, amplified eco-pressure by governments and the rise of CR reporting. Buildings, it turns out, are responsible for the majority of world energy use (34%), even more than transport and industry and making the sector a top priority for government agendas focusing on environmental sustainability. Given that less than 2% of buildings in the world today are deemed ‘new’, the focus is on old and existing buildings which, instead of being demolished and rebuilt, can be altered and updated to dramatically increase their performance. For a building owners and tenants this provides the opportunity to substantially cut costs and improve occupant satisfaction, while also increasing the building’s overall value. The heart of a building is its services and facilities department – the point at which many decision are made regarding the operating efficiency of the building. Facilities management (FM) is traditionally associated with the provision of services into and around the building but there is an increasing trend for this same department to be monitoring and managing the performance of the building against targets and benchmarks, particularly where energy, water and waste is concerned. By extension, FM should now begin to incorporate some of the softer metrics of a building’s performance – those that relate to the wellbeing of occupants such as their levels of comfort, which are directly linked to their individual performance in the workplace. FMS and Data Collection A huge factor that makes the FM so relevant to an organisation’s sustainability program is the role they are able to play in data collection. With Corporate Reporting (CR) on the rise, the FM is becoming the eco-warrior’s weapon of choice as they are able to collect, measure and record the data needed for the reporting process with relative ease, given that areas such as energy usage and waste production fall under their jurisdiction. Data sourcing and recording is absolutely central to reporting, but as any reporting business will tell you; this process is no small feat. In companies of all sizes it is very difficult to collect and record all the relevant reporting data accurately without overloading employees or affecting normal operations. The issue of accuracy can also be a problem, as assigning the role of data collection to employees who are already encumbered with their day to day work often leads to
oversights and recording errors. The nature of CR reporting being what it is, inaccuracies and lack of data make it very difficult to gain momentum when starting a sustainability program and as the old adage goes , “one cannot manage what one cannot measure”. Enter FMS. Handling the data capturing process through facilities management is the most practical and effective option as the mandate incorporates most of the areas from which the data is recorded. In addition, assigning this task to a dedicated team rather than to company employees at large ensures that it is done accurately and effectively without affecting business related work in other areas. Once the data collection process is operational, businesses are able to access baseline information that is necessary to drive continuous improvement as well as benchmark social and environmental performance against other entities. Sustainable FMS in South Africa In order to rate the environmental performance of a building the Green Building Council of South Africa uses the Green Star South Africa rating system, a system based on the Australian Green Star system and customised for the South African context. According to the Green Building Council SA, the Green Star SA rating tools have been developed to “provide an objective measurement for green buildings in South Africa and to recognise and reward environmental leadership in the property industry.” The newest addition to the rating tool suite is the Green Star SA Existing Buildings tool, which is very aligned to the FM objectives of increasing the relative performance of the building. The existing buildings tool is therefore a good resource for FMs that are interested in the evolving role. Understanding the relevance and importance of some of the less obvious aspects of green building will be necessary as companies place more emphasis on reporting and efficiency. The Business Case for Sustainable FMS Facilities management services (FMS) are absolutely central to the process of greening existing buildings as facilities managers have the ability to significantly influence sustainability outcomes in a wide range of activities. Introducing a sustainable approach to facilities management ensures that sustainability is integrated into the areas that are vital to improving environmental performance and optimising financial, environmental and social factors in support of sustainability. In fact, up to 75% of a building’s life cycle costs are put down to operations, alterations and energy, making FM responsible for managing the majority of the building’s value. As a result, taking the sustainable approach to FMS allows companies to identify opportunities for saving materials, energy and water, as well as identifying risks and lowering facility costs while also improving their reputation. And if the benefits aren’t enough to sway you, increasing government and administration pressure might just do the trick. Recent climate change summits and environmental conferences have confirmed that globally, governments are preparing to take meaningful steps toward drastically decreasing greenhouse-gas emissions and waste; the majority of which are produced by existing buildings. The threat of global warming on water supply and the rising costs of energy are also driving policies and mandates that water efficient buildings and growing public awareness means that organisations are now being judged on everything from their e-waste disposal and safety standards to their carbon emissions and occupant development. All of this added pressure means that very soon every business, regardless of size or status, will have to start taking sustainability more seriously, and this is where FMS are able to make things a lot easier.
Above: Wind Turbines; Water harvesting and PV panels at Hotel Verde in Cape Town.
Case studies prove that energy efficiency works in industry The proof is in the pudding!
he savings being realised as a result of the implementation of a systems-driven approach to energy efficiency in industry are a clear indication that it is an investment worth making. This was the overwhelming response to the case study highlights presented by the National Cleaner Production Centre of South Africa (NCPC-SA) at the Sustainability Week in June. Savings so encouraging, we wanted to share them with a wider audience.
In partnership with the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), the NCPC-SA implements the Industrial Energy Efficiency (IEE) Project in South Africa. Now in its fifth year, the IEE Project is an innovative and practical approach to address energy efficiency in industry. It was designed to help transform industry energy use patterns – helping them adopt a more systematic and holistic view of energy management within their organisations and plants. Since its inception in 2010, the IEE Project has assisted industry to save over 245 GWh of energy, which translates to a saving of over R 214 million. This has been achieved through the promotion and implementation of Energy Management Systems (EnMS) and Energy Systems Optimisation (ESO) in around 45 plants from energy-intensive sectors. Project manager at the NCPC-SA, Faith Mkhacwa shared these encouraging statistics of the successes of the IEE project with
Implementation of systems optimisation measures during IEE Project expert-level training delegates of the Energy Efficiency Seminar in Pretoria. According to Faith, South Africa is one of twelve developing nations in which UNIDO is facilitating an energy management systems programme and the IEE Project South Africa is considered a flagship in the international efforts. Others include Moldova, Russia, Turkey, Iran, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines, Egypt, Indonesia and Ecuador. “Through this approach, the IEE project has supported a number of companies that have become real success stories – EnMS victories if you will,” she said.
The most impressive success story is that of ArcelorMittal Saldanha steelworks, where the plant was in danger of cut-backs or even possible closure due to increased production costs and a tight global export market. At this plant, the ArcelorMittal team, together with IEE Project managers and UNIDO trainers, implemented an energy management system that saved almost R80 million in the first nine months. Not only did these savings get the attention of management and their support to embrace energy efficiency, but it helped secure the future of the plant and the employees working there. In two years, the
steelworks in Saldanha saved a total of R174 million. Other successes in EnMS shared at the presentation included a saving of R15.7 million by Toyota SA (Durban), almost R 2 million by Gelvenor Textiles and R1.8 million by Saint-Gobain Construction Products. Together, these five energy management systems saved South Africa R 193.5 million’s worth of energy during 2011/12 and 2012/13. The IEE Project approach is genius in its simplicity but it does draw on and demand a depth of skill and expertise from implementers. That is why the IEE Project has at its core the training of experts in energy management systems and various energy systems optimisation. There are almost a hundred experts trained or being trained in the optimisation of five systems that are typically significant energy users (SEUs) in industry plants – pump systems, steam systems, motors, fans and compressed air systems. “A traditional components approach analyses the performance of various parts, or components, of a system and addresses how to make them work better. Typically this approach results in an energy saving of between two and five percent. A systems approach, such as the one advocated through the IEE Project, looks at how the entire group functions together and how changing one will impact on others and the
The teams from the Tenneco Ride Control and Tenneco Emissions Control plants in Nelson Mandela Bay (Port Elizabeth) proudly displaying their status as ISO 50001 certified. The two plants are saving around 2.5 GWh of energy per year through the implementation of energy efficiency measures. system as a whole,” explains the NCPC-SA project manager. According to Faith’s presentation, evidence shows that this approach delivers an energy saving of anything between 10 and 50 percent. Considering the amount of energy used by many of these systems in operations such as foundries or metals
fabrication factories, automotive component manufacturers or even mines, the potential for energy saving using this system approach is staggering.
DID YOU KNOW? The original ‘proof of pudding’ phrase is “The proof of the pudding is in the eating!” Which means you have to eat the pudding to know what’s inside of it. The modern version of “The proof is in the pudding” implies that there is a lot of evidence that I will not go through at this moment and you should take my word for it, or you could go through all of the evidence yourself. In either case – the savings of the energy ef ficiency projects of the NCPC-SA is real evidence that it works!
Implementation of systems optimisation measures during IEE Project expert-level training
Since its inception in 2010, the IEE Project h as assisted industry to save over R 214 million (245 GWh) in energy savings. This h as been achieved through the promotion a nd implementation of Energy M a nagement Systems (EnMS) a nd Energy Systems Optimisation (ESO) in around 45 pl a nts from energy-intensive sectors. An example of this is in South African Breweries malting plant, where the plant was used as a training ground for some of the IEE Project experts in steam systems.
The optimisation of the steam system at the plant is underway and these improvements will save energy each year currently valued at R6.6 million per annum. According to Faith, the big companies with massive operations will always realise the largest savings, but the smaller manufacturer further down the supply chain is just as important in the broad view of industrial energy efficiency. In fact, a company wanting to obtain the global certification for energy management, namely ISO 50001, needs to consider the energy footprint of the products of its suppliers. Therefore smaller companies have a dual motivation for adopting energy efficiency in their plants: firstly, it saves them money on their energy bills, and secondly, they begin to address proactively the needs of the large manufacturer further up the supply chain who wants to improve the energy footprint of the entire life cycle of their product. Take, for example, a car manufacturer wishing to operate in a holistically
energy efficient manner, as prescribed by an ISO 50001-based energy management system. Ideally, they should be analysing and monitoring the energy footprint of the components that go into that car – seats, catalytic converters, spark plugs or batteries. The fact is that, through programmes such as the IEE Project and the NBI’s Private Sector Energy Efficiency (PSEE) programme, and with the guidelines and tools they offer, implementing energy efficiency in industry is not as difficult as many presume. According to Faith, even the ISO standard is a useful tool. “ISO 50001 enables organisations to establish systems and processes necessary to improve energy performance and it is applicable tow companies of all sizes and types. It doesn’t prescribe performance criteria and is truly a standard that has been set up to aid in saving energy across all industries,” she says. The facts are in: 45 industry plants, three years, R 214 million in savings – the proof is in the pudding.
The National Cleaner Production Centre of South Africa (NCPC-SA) enhances industrial competitiveness through the implementation of resource efficiency and cleaner production (RECP) methodologies in order to assist industry to lower costs through reduced energy, water and materials usage, and waste management.
Services to Industry
Energy savings of R 214 million
Subsidised RECP assessments to identify saving opportunities that reduce water, energy,
materials consumption and waste
Industrial Energy Efficiency Project supports and promotes the implementation of energy management systems and systems optimisation in plants
Internship Programme places RECP interns in qualifying host plants to build capacity and implement resource saving opportunities
Skills development and training to build national capabilities in energy and resource
The NCPC-SA is a programme of the dti hosted by the CSIR.
(246GWh) through implementation in 45 industry plants over 3 years
R 255 million of potential savings identified through 468 assessments (2009-13)
80 industry professionals trained as (internationally certified) industrial energy efficiency experts Pretoria +27 12 841 3772 Cape Town +27 21 658 2776 Durban +27 31 242 2441 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Discussions for Change A Review of Sustainability Week 2014
Author Stephanie von der Heyde “The quest for food security is the common thread that links the different challenges we face and helps build a sustainable future.” This statement, made by UN food and Agriculture Secretary General José Graziano da Silva, could not be more relevant to the African food security crisis and was a central theme in this year’s Food Security Seminar at Sustainability Week 2014. Food is linked to a multiplicity of sustainability issues, from waste and energy to agriculture and education, making it the common thread which binds a country’s sustainability as a whole. For this reason, top experts and speakers at this year’s Sustainability Week Conferences and Seminars were in attendance to discuss and elucidate the problems and solutions relating to food security in South Africa. Discussions focused on how rising fuel costs are set to drive up the price of food considerably and what this means for a country where more than 25% of people live on social grants. Unfortunately, true to José Graziano da Silva’s claim, when it comes to food, the knock-on effects cannot be contained and without access to healthy, nutritious food,areas such as education and health are also adversely affected. Addressing the issue of rising food prices, Quinton Naidoo, manager FEED Africa, and Jane McPherson of Grain SA were particularly enthusiastic about the opportunities in the area of small-scale farming and cited many success stories of private sector partnerships with NGO’s who are championing the development of small-scale farmers with sound economic mentoring, allowing them to create agri-businesses that will continue
to flourish into the future. Solutions such as these not only provide jobs, encourage investment and grow the economy, they also stabilise food security within a nation and contribute toward a more sustainable future overall. Dr Ntsiki Maine’, director of Food Security in the City of Tshwane, highlighted the notion that National government needs to investigate the optimum use of land so as not to compromise agricultural development in favour of land development. He called attention to the reality that climate change and water threats will require the re-evaluation of intensive mono-culture farming against small scale, diverse solutions that can be serviced by the development of a new generation of farmers. These farmers have the ability to make an priceless difference to the future of our country, something which Arianna Baldo, Executive Director FairTrade Label SA was positive about, and the development of small-scale farming projects should be an absolute priority in the years to come.
Another profound issue affecting the future of our country is, of course, the use of energy. Each year talks intensify and this year speakers from the City of Tshwane, Nelson Mandela Bay municipality and Eskom deepened attendees understanding of the crisis we face, explaining the merits and drawbacks of the methods authorities are planning to use to handle it. Focus areas included technological advancements such as fuel cell technology, smart metering and hydrogen technology, as well as the various challenges which come with these systems and how they might be dealt with. Unfortunately, the general consensus among speakers such as Dr. Sharon Blair of SAASTA and Denise Lundall of SANEDI is that Energy entrepreneurs need greater scope and a more adaptable arena to work in to enable market forces to drive supply and demand. This means that South Africa is a long way off from seeing facilities such as smart metering play its part in energy management and the creation of smarter cities with resilient energy supply needs to become more of a priority. On a positive note, however, speakers asserted that consumer campaigns to reduce energy usage have been very effective to date and that the country is using less electricity now than it was in 2007. This demonstrates the mindfulness of South African consumers and suggests that as a nation, we are sufficiently aware of the current energy crisis and are open to new developments. Moving forward, the overall feeling is that the government’s hesitancy to deregulate and set split tariffs
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is impeding the implementation of solutions and this area will require greater attention if significant improvements are to be made. The best way to improve efficiencies in all sectors is to change behaviour, change technology and aim for optimum efficiency in both operations and equipment. A theme that is having a massive impact on energy consumption in South Africa is the investigation and implementation of Green Buildings. Councillor Kgosientso Ramokgopa, Executive Mayor of Tshwane, opened the Green Building conference this year. Speakers, such as Llewellyn van Wyk and GaĂŠtan Siew, spoke about topics involving Green infrastructure and sustainable cities. These talks highlighted the growing popularity and importance of green buildings discussing the impact of development on the environment and climate change. Speakers discussed the role that sustainability will have in the built environment sector in the future, as well as the trends which are influencing the sector at present. Various case studies were reviewed throughout the Green Building sessions, including Tshwane house, the TUT building, Alexander Forbes offices, UNISA campus and the silo project at the V&A waterfront. During these case study sessions, the challenges and successes of each case was discussed and advice on future undertakings was debated. The conference wrapped up with a panel debate on why green buildings are essentially modernist. Attendees of these sessions came away with a deeper understanding of the topic as a whole,
as well as an excellent idea of strategies, benefits and tactical approaches.The topic of strategies was prevalent in the conference on water this year, which offered sessions that addressed issues such as water risk, pollution, waste, water resources and the role of water in our economy. The speakers all highlighted the fact that South Africa is a water scarce country, speaking on the fact that we need to mobilize all of our resources and knowledge to pursue water scarcity interventions that make sense. A major theme in this regard was water conservation by means of introducing more efficient water use practices in agriculture. In addition, speakers called attention to the fact that there is currently no clear policy about practical water demand management and discussed the course of action moving forward. Speakers at this conference asserted that stronger and more defined political leadership is required in the field of water management and warned of the dangers associated with improper regulation in this sector. Attendees learnt a great deal about water management in this country and were exposed to some of the shortfalls of current policy. Another sustainability week highlight was the Transport and Mobility conference which covered relevant and current topics, such as investments and infrastructure in the transport sector, urban planning, public transport, non-motorised transport and the future of transport in South Africa. Presenters included the Gauteng transport MEC and director of transport in the city of Cape
Town, as well as experts on topics such as cycology and government policies. Speaking of experts, the Zero waste seminar series certainly offered that in spades, with speakers such as Ray Finch and Joel Arcus talking about Biowaste technology, Joshua Wallace from the Western Cape Industrial Symbiosis Programme, Dr. Gavin Heron from Earth Probiotic, Alex Lemille of Wizeimpact, Reon Pienaar from Aecom, and SED M. Kolisa from the City of Tshwane. Talks covered topics from circular economies and waste separation to recycling and waste-related business opportunities, leaving all who attended with a myriad of new ideas and a very deep understanding of the importance of updating current methods of waste disposal. The Green Business seminar was also not to be missed. Talks relating to topics such as CR reporting, green government and business opportunities in sustainability were well attended. The seminar worked through the principles of green business and what it means for this country, in addition to advising businesses on the importance of sustainability reporting and providing case studies of local success stories. Local successes were certainly not in short supply during the sustainable tourism seminar as experts gathered to discuss ways of further advancing South Africaâ€™s position as international leaders in responsible tourism. Talks dealt with opportunities for local growth through tourism and what the industry should look like in the next 20 years. Attendees came away with in-depth local knowledge and a good dose of pride.
WASTE IS WORTH SOMETHING – THE RISE OF THE URBAN MINING REVOLUTION A question that has recently shifted into focus is how you ascribe value to something after it’s served its purpose. As we consume, we waste. What happens to that waste? What is its intrinsic worth, if any?
The range of opportunities created by the REDISA Plan will result in the creation of 1 500 job opportunities in 2014, with the target being a total of 10 000 jobs created by 2017.
The issue being faced worldwide is that unless we believe that there is money to be made in waste, or that the waste will kill us, then nothing will be done about it. As a result, commodities such as steel have a higher recovery rate while tyres and paper have a far lower recovery rate.
Entrepreneurial spirit is an important economic driver and poverty eradicator for South Africa, and as such the REDISA Plan seeks to support small business owners. Through this activity, REDISA will include 40 small to medium enterprises by the end of 2014, with an additional 200 SMMEs included into the plan by 2017.
Which is why tyre waste is a growing problem in South Africa as approximately 11 million used tyres are dumped illegally each year.
REDISA has attained a number of milestones since implementation began. These include 696 transporters, 1 638 tyre dealers and 181 tyre manufacturers and importers have been registered with the Plan nationally.
The rise in everyday waste has culminated in a new industry known as urban mining; a type of beneﬁciation involving the extraction of value from waste streams and there is a need to generate awareness in South Africa in terms of the value that it offers. In South Africa this is successfully being implemented through the REDISA (Recycling and Economic Development Initiative of South Africa) Plan whereby a new tyre recycling industry is being developed nationally. REDISA plans to remediate 70 000 tonnes of tyres in 2014. To date, 26 338 tonnes of tyre waste have been remediated.
Through the development of the new tyre recycling industry by REDISA and the opportunities developed through it, it’s easy to see that there is worth in waste.
“... total of 10 000 jobs created by 2017.”
W W W.RE DI SA.O RG.ZA The Recycling and Economic Development Initiative of South Africa (REDISA) is a non-profit organisation whose aim it is to develop a sustainable South African tyre recycling industry through an Integrated Industry Waste Tyre Management Plan (IIWTMP).
Tyre Tip #3
UNDER-INFLATED TYRES USE MORE FUEL
T E R U S S E R P E H T K C E H C SO The more you look after your tyres, the safer you’ll be on the road and the less tyre waste there’ll be. Go to your nearest tyre dealer and have your tyres checked regularly.
REDISA helps the tyre industry take responsibility for its waste, and turn it into worth.
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