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Food security


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R29.00 incl VAT 9 772410 645003 10023

MAKING AN IMPACT THROUGH AFFORDABLE HOUSING For Old Mutual Investment Group it is a business imperative that our clients’ savings are put to work in a way that generates good returns while also helping improve people’s lives and ensuring social inclusion. For us long-term investment success requires looking at the world through a responsible investment lens and we are committed to being a leading responsible investor. Investing in affordable housing is a core focus of one of our investment boutiques, Old Mutual Alternative Investments. We actively invest in assets and regions where we have identified gaps or backlogs in social infrastructure and where our funds can provide risk-related returns for investors together with a positive social impact. The Housing Impact Fund South Africa (HIFSA), managed by Old Mutual Alternative Investments’ Impact Funds team, invests primarily in housing and housing-related assets within South Africa and focusses on all aspects of the housing value chain, from the physical development of housing through to mortgage and incremental housing finance. Affordable housing assets include greenfields developments, residential and student rental accommodation, as well as mortgage finance.

GREENFIELDS Greenfield projects entail developing raw land through the processes of rezoning, input of bulk infrastructure, town planning and approval and ultimately building and selling the housing units. HIFSA aims to deliver a total of 65 000 units by the end of 2025, from current and planned projects.

INNER-CITY RESIDENTIAL RENTAL The extraordinary growth in the rental market over recent years enables HIFSA to deliver on its mandate of supplying affordable housing units to the lower to middle income market and achieving required returns for investors. HIFSA has mainly invested in Johannesburg inner-city areas and acquired existing blocks of residential units, which are providing long-term rental accommodation and are located close to transport nodes and employment opportunities.

STUDENT ACCOMMODATION In the past few years South Africa’s student accommodation market has seen an ever-increasing demand. Student numbers have climbed significantly and this has left tertiary institutions unable to house all the students. Due to the serious shortage of residence accommodation for university students in South Africa, the private sector is a key role player in the provision of student housing and HIFSA provides student beds to the market, mainly in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town, East London and Bloemfontein.

INVESTMENT PHILOSOPHY AND PROCESS HIFSA takes a comprehensive approach to addressing the unique housing needs of South Africa by identifying areas of the housing market that would benefit from scale intervention. The Fund utilises an active asset management approach in the selection, acquisition and origination of low-income housing-related assets. Investments are structured as long-term strategic partnerships with carefully selected counterparties in order to achieve large-scale impact with positive developmental outcomes.

For more information please visit

Old Mutual Alternative Investments (Pty) Ltd (Reg No 2013/113833/07) (FSP 45255) is a licensed financial services provider, approved by the Registrar of Financial Services Providers ( to provide adv Holdings (Pty) Limited and is a member of the Old Mutual Investment Group. Investment portfolios are market-linked. Pooled products are either policy based, via a linked policy of insurance issued by Old Mutual Life A market-linked. Unlisted investments have short term to long term liquidity risks and there are no guarantees on the investment capital nor on performance. It should be noted that investments within the fund may not be rea exchange rates as well as taxation may have an effect on the value, price, or income of investments and capital contributions. Since financial markets fluctuate, an investor may not recover the full amount invested. Past more detail and information on how to contact us as well as on how to access information please visit or call us on 021 509 5022.









Number of beds per province


4 040



Number of Greenfield projects transferred and planned per province

2 731


2 271


50 676

1 415


1 686


5 366 planned


Number of rental units per province





3 798

1 685

2 208



105 414 219







4 349 planned

10 Source: Old Mutual Alternative Investments, Figures as at 30 June 2016

visory and/or intermediary services in terms of the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services Act 37, 2002. Old Mutual Alternative Investments (Pty) Ltd is a wholly owned subsidiary of Old Mutual Investment Group Assurance Company of South Africa Ltd, which is a registered Long Term Insurer. Contractual rights and obligations of investors are set out in the relevant investor agreements and or mandates. Investment portfolios are adily marketable. It may therefore be difficult for an investor to withdraw from the fund or to obtain reliable information about its value and the extent of the risks to which it is exposed. Market fluctuations and changes in t performance is not necessarily a guide to future investment performance. Old Mutual Investment Group has comprehensive crime and professional indemnity insurance which is part of the Old Mutual group cover. For


Platinum Technical





The Southern African Association for Energy Efficiency (SAEE) presents the 11th SAEEC. This event serves the energy management-, environmental-, facilities building upgrades-, energy engineering-, cogeneration-, power generation-, and efficiency improvement industries. This convention with parallel seminar sessions and exhibition targets the complete spectrum of technologies and services of great importance to delegates and includes: • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Energy engineering, innovation and technologies International and local standards Financial, tax and carbon incentives Business case for energy management and optimisation Renewable, biofuel and alternative energy Combined heat and power Co-generation and distributed generation Lighting efficiency and management Measurement and verification HVAC systems and controls Building automation and optimisation Nuclear energy Green building standards, technologies and maintenance Facilities management optimisation Supply chain management Thermal storage and load management Boilers and combustion controls CONTACT US: Demand side management Tel: +27(0)18 290 5130 Load shifting and shedding Cell: +27(0)82 428 7386 Solar and fuel cell technologies Email: Water heating technologies Energy services and project financing National energy management programmes Business and human resource structures Many more tips and topics Host Utility:

Endorsers & Supporters:

Economy Editor’s Note G






EDITOR: Melissa Baird LAYOUT AND DESIGN: Shannon Manuel CLIENT LIAISON OFFICERS: Linda Tom, Natasher Keyster PRODUCTION COORDINATOR: Shannon Manuel DIRECTORS: Lloyd Macfarlane Gordon Brown Andrew Fehrsen PROJECT MANAGER: Vania Reyneke SALES EXECUTIVES: Charles Adams PRINTING: FA Print DISTRIBUTION MANAGER: Edward MacDonald PUBLISHER: Alive2Green PHYSICAL ADDRESS: Cape Media House 28 Main Road Rondebosch 7700 Cape Town TEL: 021 447 4733 FAX: 086 694 7443 WEBSITES: green-economy-journal/ DISTRIBUTION AND COPY SALES ENQUIRIES: ENQUIRIES: ADVERTISING ENQUIRIES: EDITORIAL PROPOSALS: Company Registration Number: 2006/206388/23 Vat Number: 4130252432 ISSN No.: 2410-6453 Published: August 2016

Economy G












Food security


Green Economy Journal is audited by ABC

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All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any way or in any form without the prior written permission of the Publisher. The opinions expressed herein are not necessarily those of the Publisher or the Editor. All editorial and advertising contributions are accepted on the understanding that the contributor either owns or has obtained all necessary copyrights and permissions. The Publisher does not endorse any claims made in the publication by or on behalf of any organizations or products. Please address any concerns in this regard to the Editor. The Green Economy Journal is printed on Hi-Q Titan plus paper, manufactured by Evergreen Hansol a leading afforestation member acknowledged by FOA. Hi-Q has Chain of Custody certification, is totally chlorine free, and is PEFC, ISO 14001, ISO 9001 accredited. This paper is FSC certified.

This last edition of the year turns its attention to food security, agricultural development, bio materials and the story of the world’s biggest retrofitting project; that of the Empire State building. Looking ahead to 2017 and the implementation of the carbon tax, reducing emissions and impacts are going to be pivotal to businesses seeking to thrive and, although the agricultural industry is likely to be exempt of carbon tax until the second period, the agricultural sector will have to respond to even more pressure than it is already under. Water, access to it and enough of it, is of primary concern and whilst innovation is keeping up with black water treatment technology, our municipalities are not and the water crises continues. The drought has crippled many farmers but there are success stories to consider and better farming practises are enabling some farmers to survive and thrive. How to increase the crop yield from stressed and undernourished soil is driving innovation in seed technology, tillage practises and bio-engineering. Reflecting on the instability of the South Africa’s currency and economic status, the focus on agricultural development and farmer development needs to be taken very seriously as the rural farmers need all the help they can get to develop their skills, run better businesses and find markets for their produce. Key retailers play a major part in the supply chain and certification standards are important to verify new projects as being socially, environmentally and economically viable. There is good news in waste management plans and legislation, opening the way for the waste economy to flourish and renewable energy is making more economic ‘cents’ (pun intended) than ever before. My predictions for 2017 see water taking centre stage in the economy. How water rights are determined and how they are apportioned will determine social stability in water stressed regions. As for the farmer’s, the lifeblood of the nation and the unsung heroes of our world, they will need massive support to keep farming in order to keep growing the nation. WWF SA refers to the Food-Water-Energy nexus: essentially one cannot do well without the other so we are truly seeing the inter-connected system the economy is part of and I believe it will encourage a new wave of collaboration to solve the major problems of our time. A further prediction for the green economy is the role that bio fuels will play as the world seeks alternatives to fossil fuel consumption. You will also hear more about the role of business and its impacts on biodiversity. The pace of change has quickened and there are the early adopters who are surfing this unsure wave, and there are those lagging behind still trying to work out a way forward. Eventually everyone will catch up and until then, I will keep asking the tricky questions and looking ahead to a brighter tomorrow. Here is wishing you a very restful festive season and a happy new year. Sincerely,

Melissa Baird 3

Contents ISSUE 23, OCTOBER 2016

10 12



NEWS AND UPDATES Carbon tax, CITES outcomes, waste management and recycling


GCIP-SA Top perfomers at award gala


THE EMPIRE STATE BUILDING Retrofitting the world’s most famous office block for maximum energy efficiency


SOLARIS A very clever plant offering sustainable energy and feedstock solutions


PROFILE Interview with Dr Hendrik Smith of Grain SA


PROFILE Interview with Kobus Pienaar, Woolworths Good Business Journey


RURAL FOOD SECURITY Strengthening nutrition through better crop production


WATER The Water Research commission (WRC) on drought mitigation


THE POSITIVE CUP Nespresso’s solutions for recycling coffee pods





That daily disposable cup of coffee carries with it a waste burden that few European cities are ignoring. Disposable paper cups contain 5% polyurethane plastic, making composting and recycling of disposable cups extremely rare. Half a trillion disposable cups are manufactured annually around the world; that’s over 70 disposable cups for every person on the planet. Globally, we consume nearly 300 million tonnes of paper each year; most made from virgin pulp and very little recycled paper is used to make disposable cups due to health risk concerns. Seventy percent of the world’s paper comes from diminishing forests, not from plantations or recycling. Considering the need to reduce waste the ECoffee cup has been developed. Every time you use your Ecoffee Cup you’re helping make a tiny dent in the 100 billion single-use coffee cups that go to land fill each year. Created with the world’s fastest growing, most sustainable crop—naturally organic, bamboo fibre and non-GMO corn starch, Ecoffee Cup is BPA and phthalate free.


The Paper Recycling Association of South Africa (PRASA) has thanked the country for the progress in paper recycling made over the past decade. Two thirds (66%) of the nation’s potentially recoverable paper and cardboard was recycled during the course of last year, totalling an impressive 1.2 million tonnes. To put this into perspective, a similar volume of material would have occupied 3.6 million cubic metres of landfill space or 1,435 Olympic-sized swimming pools. Paper packaging; corrugated cardboard, boxes, cartons and kraft material account for 67% of the total, newspapers and magazines 12% and office and graphic papers 13%. The rewards for recycling include reducing your waste footprint and job creation. It is estimated that around 100,000 people earn a living from recycling across various waste streams. Visit Other good resources: | |

WORLD TAKES BOLD STEPS TO PROTECT WILDLIFE AT CITIES CoP The world’s largest ever wildlife trade meeting— the 17th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP17) and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) brought more than 180 countries together to vote to maintain the international ban on trade in ivory and rhino horn, while adopting global bans on trade in pangolins and African Grey parrots. The conference also imposed strict regulations on the trade in silky and thresher sharks, devil rays, and all species of rosewood tree. Along with calling for the closure of domestic ivory markets that are contributing to illegal trade, CITES also left Vietnam and Mozambique in no doubt that they must crack down on the illegal rhino horn trade within a year or face the threat of sanctions. Agreement was reached for enhanced traceability mechanisms that are fundamental to develop sustainable fisheries and tightened up rules relating to tiger farms and trade in captivebred animals. For the first time, the conference also adopted resolutions on critical crosscutting issues relating to illegal wildlife trade, including corruption and reduction of consumer demand. Source WWF-SA


Natural resources, environmental risks and ecological scarcities have been at the heart of global sustainable development talks. Sustainable Development is fundamentally important to achieving inclusive growth and enhancing social equity. The Foundation for Human Rights (FHR)’s Socio-Economic Justice for All (SEJA), also known as Amarightza, facilitates the realisation of Socio-Economic Rights. In partnership with Flanders government and civil society, SEJA addressed poverty alleviation and food insecurity through the promotion of sustainable farming. FHR, a grant making institution, funded 57 community-based organisations in the Free State, KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo, to train and assist small-scale food growers on ecologically sustainable farming methods, advocacy on land access in particular for rural women and on food and seed sovereignty, agro-processing, market access and climate change adaptation strategies. This was geared at introducing communities to alternative farming methods, such as the use of grey water for crop irrigation, crop farming that requires the use of less water and other farming methods that give back to the soil. Potential donors wishing to fund similar initiatives can call us on : + 27 (0) 11-484-0390 or email Source Foundation for Human Rights


Mercedes Benz will launch a new product brand – EQ ‘electric intelligence’. EQ will offer a complete electric mobility ecosystem consisting of products, services, technologies and innovations. The ecosystem will be contain electric vehicles, wall boxes, charging services and home energy storage units. The face of the EQ brand is the “close-to-production concept vehicle”, the Generation EQ. This first series-produced EQ model will be launched in the sports-utility vehicle (SUV) segment before the end of 2020. Following this, the portfolio of Mercedes-Benz Cars will be steadily developed with new electric models. The future of Mercedes-Benz will be based on the principals of connected, autonomous, shared and electric driving. Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche says Mercedes-Benz will launch ten new electric vehicles by 2025 and estimates that electric cars may account for between 15% and 25% of Mercedes-Benz’s global sales by 2025. Source: Mercedes Benz




Losing the social licence to operate is a growing risk for mining and industrial projects globally—a risk that SRK Consulting has spent decades addressing with its clients. SRK Consulting’s team of Environmental, Social and Governance professionals provides solutions to a range of environmental and social impacts. They also work with clients to engage constructively with stakeholders, ensuring robust relationships that can withstand the various challenges most projects must face during their life-cycles. Recent projects have ranged in diversity from assessing the impacts of hydro-power schemes in Angola, to resettlement planning and implementation for mine expansions, as well as advising government on technical aspects of mining agreements. The team’s multi-disciplinary approach to problem-solving is rooted in its independence and integrity— combining a thorough knowledge of compliance issues in various countries with global best practice norms to ensure long-term project sustainability.


The Nedbank Green Awards lauded the Earthbound Cabernet Sauvignon Organic as the best organically grown Overall Winner and the Organically grown Best Red. Earthbound is an organic and Fairtrade-certified wine, made from grapes supplied by Papkuilsfontein Vineyards in Darling on the West Coast. The vines are certified organic by the Société Générale de Surveillance (SGS), a leading international inspection, verification, testing and certification company. It is recognised as a global benchmark for quality and integrity assurance in the production of organic foodstuffs. All elements in the production programme are fully monitored on an annual basis and traceable at all points. In addition to these responsible farming practices, the farm is Fairtradeaccredited, which means that for every ton of grapes harvested for this wine, a premium of R600 is paid that goes towards projects intended to improve the quality of life of farm workers and their families. Source:



The carbon tax is planned to be effective from 1st January 2017 and will follow a calendar year as a tax period. Phase 1 covers Jan 2017 – Dec 2020 and Phase 2 from Jan 2021 – Dec 2025. Businesses that engage in activities that produce direct Greenhouse Gas (“GHG”) emissions (CO2, CH4, N20 & PFC) will be liable for the tax based on mandatory reporting requirements designed by the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA). Tax returns will need to be submitted every six months with the first reporting date to SARS set for July 2017. The agricultural sector is exempt from Phase 1 and will only be taxed from Phase 2, which commences in 2020. Carbon TaxScan is able to determine your company's future carbon tax exposure, based on your most recent footprint report, relevant company emissions data and the most recent carbon tax regulations Source:

There has been an increased focus on resource recovery in Southern Africa’s waste management landscape. At the recent Wastecon conference, IWMSA’s 23rd biennial gathering, the recent waste management policy and legislative changes were discussed with special focus on municipal waste management, recycling and alternatives to landfilling. The changes in legislation emphasise the need to divert waste away from landfill sites, which opens the door for new innovative waste solutions. Discussions about Waste-to-Energy technology, ‘Closing the loop’ of product lifecycles through implementing greater recycling, re-usable waste initiatives and the role of waste in the circular economy, cleaner production and industrial re-use waste programmes were had as well as the role of industrial symbiosis in South Africa; innovative waste collection and transport systems; innovations in leachate treatment and the future of employees in the waste industry. Source: For more information about the IWMSA, visit IWMSA is also on Facebook ( and Twitter (


Crystal Lagoons is a multinational company and a world-leader in green innovation. Their technology, which is patented in 160 countries, allows for the construction of crystal-clear bodies of water of unlimited size surrounded by beaches. Crystal Lagoons’ innovative technology results in very low water and energy consumption, which, in turn, makes for low construction and maintenance costs. The crystal clear lagoons can even make use of brackish or salt water. When filled with fresh water, a Crystal Lagoon uses 30 times less water than a golf course. Fernando Fischmann, the founder of Crystal Lagoons, was recently named as Innovator of the Year: a fitting recognition of the diverse industrial applications of his 1500 patents. One application is the use of closed-circuit crystal-clear lagoons for use in sustainably cooling thermal power-plants and other industrial facilities. For Crystal Lagoons’ zero-energy desalination technology, Fischmann was awarded Energy Industry Innovator of the Year at the International Business awards. Source: Crystal Lagoon



2016 GCIP-SA winners announced Top performers in the Global Cleantech Innovation Programme for SMEs in South Africa (GCIP-SA) were announced at a gala event in Pretoria with Science and Technology Minister, Mrs Naledi Pandor, as keynote speaker. The event was attended by more than 200 guests from the public and private sectors including government departments, business associations, academia, investors, senior representatives from SADC countries and the public.


he GCIP-SA is part of a global initiative that aims to promote clean technology innovation aimed at addressing critical energy, environmental and economic challenges, focusing on energy efficiency, renewable energy, waste beneficiation, water efficiency and green buildings. It combines an annual competition and a business accelerator programme where SMEs and start-ups are continuously trained, mentored and assessed on their business models, investor pitches, communication and financial skills for the development of a more marketable and investor-attractive product and business. The programme is jointly implemented by the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), and is funded by the Global Environment Facility GEF).

Yolandi Schoeman with Minister Pandor and James New (UNIDO) and Barlow Manilal (TIA CEO)

Top performers

Overall winner: Yolandi Schoeman from Baoberry for a Wetbox ( a wetland in a box. Prize: R120 000 in cash and an all-expenses paid trip to Silicon Valley to compete in the global Cleantech Open competition. [Yolandi also won the award for the most promising woman-led business for 2016 (see below), with a cash prize of R20 000.] Runners-up: Martin Ackermann of Thevia for his revolutionary roof tiles made from 99% waste, and Pamela Alborough of SanAqua HCA for the HAT waste-water treatment enhancement solution. Prize: R60 000 in cash each, and an all-expenses paid trip to the global Cleantech Open Forum in Silicon Valley.

Sandiswa Qayi with Minister Pandor and James New (UNIDO) and Barlow Manilal (TIA CEO)

Special category awards

Most promising youth-led business: Sandiswa Qayi of Amahlathi Eco-Tech for the Hot Spot for geysers, an innovation that supplies 50 litres of hot water within 30 minutes. Prize: R20 000 in cash, and a laptop sponsored by TIA’s Youth Technology Innovation Programme. Most promising woman-led business: Yolandi Schoeman of Baoberry (see “Overall winner”) Prize: R20 000 in cash Innovation for social impact: Louise Williamson of Sustainability Professionals, for the safe and fuel-efficient Mashesha syngas stoves developed for use in schools and community feeding schemes. Prize: R20 000 in cash.

2016 finalists with Minister Pandor



Re-energising the Empire State Building Retrofitting the world’s favourite building was no easy task but Clay Nesler and his team at Johnson Controls showed what can be done; investing US$ 13 million in retrofits saved 38% in energy use, and that was just the beginning. By Monique De Villiers


oaring 1,454 feet above Midtown Manhattan (from base to antenna), the Empire State Building, owned by Empire State Realty Trust, Inc., is the ‘World’s Most Famous Office Building.’ With new investments in energy efficiency, infrastructure, public areas and amenities, the Empire State Building has attracted first-rate tenants in a diverse array of industries from around the world. The skyscraper’s robust broadcasting technology supports all major television and FM radio stations in the New York metropolitan market. The Empire State Building was named America’s favourite building in a poll conducted by the American Institute of Architects, and the Empire State Building’s Observatory is one of


the world’s most beloved attractions and the region’s number one tourist destination. The task was mammoth and required great sensitivity to the original craftsmanship applied to the windows( manufactured in 1931) and the wall heaters that were still made out of copper. How to take a building of the 1930s and make it future fit for the 21st Century in order to save energy costs and attract high quality tenants was a creative and economic conundrum worth solving. In 2009, the Empire State Building, President Bill Clinton and Mayor Michael Bloomberg launched a comprehensive retrofit at the landmark property to reduce costs, increase real estate value and protect the environment. In 2011, the Empire State Building beat its year-one energy-efficiency guarantee by five

percent, saving $2.4 million. In year two, the iconic property surpassed its energy-efficiency guarantee by nearly 4 percent, saving $2.3 million. By 2014, the Innovative Empire State Building Program cut $7.5M in energy costs and exceeded the energy efficiency savings—16% above target. In three years the programme generated a total of approximately $7.5 million in energy savings. The savings are the result of continued enhancement of the iconic building’s new systems and the addition of many new tenants occupying hundreds of thousands of square feet of office space retrofitted according to programme guidelines. The team, comprised of the Empire State Building, Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL), Johnson Controls (JCI), and Rocky Mountain Institute


Main observation deck: 86th floor (RMI), developed the energy efficiency programme that has been implemented at the Empire State Building. “The Empire State Building retrofit project is a leading example of the power of C40’s network approach; its continued performance has provided hard evidence for mega cities the world over taking steps to improve building energy efficiency in the private sector. This is truly an example to follow for other ambitious mega cities,” said Mark Watts, Executive Director, C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group. The core base building energy-efficiency retrofit at the Empire State Building is complete, with the balance of the projects to be finished as new tenants build out high-performance workspaces. Once all tenant spaces are upgraded, the building is expected to save at least $4.4 million a year, at least a 38 percent reduction of energy use. RMI’s pioneering, whole-systems approach to the Empire State Building project helped identify how a “deep” energy retrofit could be achieved using a similar capital expenditure to a traditional retrofit. By incorporating elements beyond just energy cost savings, the retrofit achieved a Class-A rating and the increased rents that come with it and provided a replicable example of how other buildings can be both energy efficient and profitable—and healthier, more productive and more lucrative workplaces. Over the past three years, the energy retrofit model has been replicated throughout the United States. JCI and JLL jointly implemented the programme at all 13 properties in Empire State Realty Trust’s New York metropolitan area commercial portfolio, as well as One Worldwide Plaza in New York. JCI continues to implement this model at public and private sector buildings around the world and actively promotes the approach and results in leading global publications and conferences.

Sustainability Exhibit JLL has also instituted the model at more than 50 other properties across the nation, including The Moscone Center in San Francisco and Chicago Union Station, doubling the number of projects it has worked on in the past year alone. “Investing in energy efficiency for any type of building —from the Empire State Building to the local school or hospita—provides building owners with significant financial returns and creates comfortable and efficient environments,” said Clay Nesler, vice president, Global Energy and Sustainability, Johnson Controls. “Performance contracting provides the model to invest in upgrades with no upfront costs to the owner and the ability to pay for the project with the savings. It’s a risk free model that everyone should take advantage of.” The retrofit has been a key differentiator for the Empire State Building and helped attract game changing tenants, including LinkedIn, Skanska, LF USA, Coty Inc., the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., and Shutterstock. These tenants sought space that reflected their sustainability values, provided more comfort for employees, and allowed them to monitor and control their energy use. The retrofit project focussed on eight innovative improvement measures addressing core building infrastructure, common spaces and tenant suites. Improvement measures performed by Johnson Controls and JLL included the refurbishment of all 6,514 windows, installation of insulation behind all radiators, a chiller plant retrofit, new building management systems controls, new revenue-grade meters serving the entire building, and a web-based tenant energy management system. With the country’s 120 million buildings consuming 42 percent of the USA’s total energy and 72 percent of its electricity

there needs to be acceleration to the adoption of deep energy saving retrofits—even at the pace of hundreds of buildings at a clip across entire portfolios. In the United States and other developed nations, around 40 percent of total energy use is consumed by buildings, according to the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. In dense urban settings like New York, commercial buildings account for up to 75 percent of energy used.

The ESB team devised a program to refurbish each of its 6,514 windows

All of the building’s radiators were renovated



Solaris – the cleverest plant on the planet

The Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials, in partnership with Sunchem SA, SkyNRG and WWF-SA launched the trial of Solaris, a GMO free, nicotine free energy tobacco grown by smallholder and commercial farmers in Marble Hall, Limpopo, South Africa, and the results speak for themselves. by Melissa Baird

RSB’s partner South African Airways recently celebrated Africa’s first sustainable biofuel flight


visited the Solaris project post attending the RSB business forum on how to scale uptake in biofuels and biomaterials in Africa. The world of biomaterials is fascinating and the projects that RSB has certified testimony to the opportunities that exist for biomaterial production to take care of the environment and the economic development of small holder farmers. Limpopo is dry—it has not rained here since March and the only shimmer of green is the crop being planted into the red, iron rich soil of the Solaris farm. Heyo De Fiejter, the CEO of Sunchem Biofuel Development South Africa (Pty) Ltd (“Sunchem SA”) and the Solaris project manager held the Solaris seedlings, as he discussed its incredible properties. After thirteen years of research and international trials, and four years of South African trials, this patented variety of tobacco developed by the Italian research and


development company Sunchem Holdings is unlike traditional tobacco and produces up to three different products: the seeds can be crushed to extract oil that can be refined into biofuels or bioplastics, the remaining cake can be sold as high protein animal feed, and the plant matter can be used for paper production. Moreover, the crop can be harvested up to three times a year, therefore maximising income for farmers. Unlike traditional fuels and plastics that are made with petroleum; biofuels and bioplastics are produced from renewable biomass sources such as plant materials or agricultural waste. Their carbon footprint is considerably less than that of fossil fuels but, as James Reeler, WWF SA’s climate and technical lead noted, “One of the major concerns about biofuels is that it will replace or impact on food availability.” However, “there is large potential to improve yields for both, and in some sites, it has been demonstrated that the income from biofuels

can improve the yield of foods by enhancing access to key inputs.” This is good news for the aviation industry as it actively seeks alternatives to reduce their carbon footprint vis-à-vis the projections that nearly 40,000 planes will be needed to service future demand. Whereas better engineering and improved flight paths provide some relief, the largest contribution to the aviation sector’s GHG emission reduction is expected to come from the use of biofuels. The immediate gains for providing a protein rich feed stock for the agricultural industry—if grown to scale—could not only challenge the need to import over one million tonnes of soy feed stock into South Africa every year but also create many jobs in the agricultural sector. Samantha Hampton, Head of Business Development and Sustainability at Sunchem South Africa, spoke of the job creation possibilities: at 1.2 jobs per hectare, the Solaris project could create 48 000 jobs excluding those created in the planning, building and commissioning of a bio-jet refinery and supporting industries. At 40 000 hectares of Solaris cultivation the construction of a local bio-jet fuel refinery becomes viable but will require private and public partnerships to do so. However, legislation in the bio economy is not keeping up with the rapid rate of innovations and solutions being created and this, coupled with no local refinery, will delay uptake and production of biofuels in South Africa. SAA is very aware of the need to tackle the fossil fuel issue but it’s not just about replacing fossil fuels with biofuels, they have to be biofuels that are sourced sustainably and have considered the social, environmental and economic impacts of that production. There are goals in place to


Heyo de Fiejter, CEO, Sunchem SA and Solaris project manager

produce 20 million litres of Bio Jet fuel by Q4 and 500 million litres of bio jet fuel by Q4 2023 and a local refinery is critical to achieving them. RSB certified project Solaris in 2015 because it could answer to the robust sustainability standards set for agricultural projects growing biomaterials anywhere in the world. RSB is rated the best performing sustainability certification system in recent reports published by WWF, IUCN, and NRDC and is a full member of the ISEAL Alliance.

Farm workers planting Solaris seedlings

The standard helps build trust in collaboration and brings together a diverse coalition of over 100 organisations around the world including large and small farmers, companies, NGOs, experts, governments and UN agencies. The user-friendly tools enable industry to demonstrate compliance and validates sustainable production including greenhouse gas emission reductions, respect for human rights, protection of biodiversity and water and the maintenance of food security.

The 12 RSB principles 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

Legality—following all applicable laws and regulations Planning monitoring and continuous improvement of sustainable operations Greenhouse gas emissions—mitigation and reduction in comparison to fossil fuels Human and labour rights—operations do not violate human or labour rights Rural and social development Local food security Conservation: operations avoid negative impacts biodiversity, ecosystems and conservation values 8. Soil—either reversing soil degradation or maintaining soil health 9. Water; maintaining and/or enhancing quality of surface and ground water 10. Air quality—minimising air pollution in the whole supply chain 11. Use of technology, inputs and management of waste—improving performance but reducing impact 12. Land rights—operations respect land and land use rights


Waverley Hills wine is made from certified organic grapes grown in the most natural way possible. Special care and sustainable practices have been used in the grape growing and wine making process to ensure both the highest quality wine and preservation for our environment.

Our focus on quality, organic and sustainability are not just words, but rather a daily living reality. Off the R46, Wolseley, South Africa

62 was founded on a commitment and a passion to provide water solutions that encourage people to appreciate, enjoy, and drink more water. Tel: 012 653 6096 • Fax: 012 653 7128 • E-Mail: Physical Address: 7 Miracle Retail Park, Cnr Lenchen & Old Jhb Rd, Centurion Postal Address: P O Box 37342, Faerie Glen, 0043

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Dr Hendrik Smith, the Conservation Agriculture (CA) facilitator at Grain SA talks to us about the CA Programme, its benefits and the impending carbon tax and its implications for the agricultural sector.


ow would you explain the Conservation in Agriculture (CA) Programme to farmers who are interested in working with Grain SA but need more information? The CA Farmer Innovation Programme (FIP) coordinated by Grain SA and funded by The Maize Trust, recognises and empowers farmers as CA innovators in their own right. The funding (grants) are targeted towards initiatives and groups that are interested in and are successfully delivering projects with farmers to support sustainable farming. Applications are annually submitted to The Maize Trust and evaluated by a CA panel. How has CA enabled grain farmers to manage the drought and what have been the crop yields in comparison to conventional practices? CA makes farming systems much more resilient to the negative impacts of drought. Improving soil organic matter (SOM) through the correct application of CA principles lead to the following: an increase in water infiltration rates, improved soil water-holding capacity, prevention of water runoff, soil erosion, loss of valuable nutrients and loss of water through evaporation. Surface cover also buffers the soil against temperature extremes. Due to these positive impacts on productivity, we have seen significant responses in yields during the drought right across the grain production area, ranging from 1 ton ha-1 to above 5 ton ha-1 improvements under CA. What do you think are key factors that will affect the South African agricultural landscape over the next ten years? Strategies and actions to adapt to climate change will be needed in multiple areas in the

agricultural sector. Farms will need to be managed differently to reduce risks posed by climate change. It will be crucial for producers to maximise gains and minimise losses of water, either from rainfall or irrigation. In cropping systems, climate change and variability may affect soil health and plant growth through: • reduced or erratic rainfall and more frequent and severe periods of drought that lower the capacity of soils to make water and nutrients available to plants; • more intense rainfall events that increase the risk of soil erosion by water and wind (through rain splash, accelerated runoff, strong winds); and • increased heat waves and soil surface temperatures with greater rates of mineralisation of SOM. How does Grain SA and the CA programme address the health concerns about the use of agro-chemicals on food crops? Firstly, we are continuously raising producers’ general awareness on harmful agro-chemicals, not only on human health, but also on soil health and biodiversity. Secondly, correct application of CA will certainly lead to a reduction in the use of agro-chemicals. As climate change intensifies how will the CA Programme help farmers to manage variable weather conditions and crop yields? One of the most important set of tools in our adaptation tool box will be innovative CA systems and practices that improve soil health. Producers are encouraged to practise CA for multiple reasons, such as to improve

Dr Hendrik Smith productivity, minimise soil erosion, alleviate compaction and provide fodder for livestock, but it is also a primary tool for adapting to and mitigating the impacts of climate change. Looking ahead to the carbon tax; what plans does the grain industry have to help farmers respond to the new legislation? Reducing greenhouse gas emissions and sequestering carbon per kilogram of a given output is one of the main targets and opportunities that CA facilitates. The assessment of the carbon footprint, which will demonstrate the positive footprint of CA against conventional practices, is one of the strategies envisaged to align the grain industry and farmers with the new carbon tax.

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Grain producers farming with


Grain SA honours Subsistence, Smallholder, New Era Commercial and Grain Producers of the Year


he current drought in South Africa has burdened farmers with reduced yields and death of livestock. The conflict between agricultural land and land for development is concerning for farmers as food production is vital for the social stability of communities. Despite this harsh backdrop there are some outstanding grain producers who have farming business’s that are resilient and diverse and they were honoured by Grain SA at their recent award ceremony. The finalists hailed from diverse regions in South Africa and all are admirable role models to a younger generation of grain farmers because they manage their businesses with passion and dedication. The 2016 Grain SA/Syngenta Grain Producer of the Year Jozua du Plessis from Delmas, Mpumalanga Jozua started farming in 1981 and now heads a grain operation that covers more than 3 000 ha. He grows a variety of crops under irrigation on high potential lands and farms commercially with Bonsmara cattle to utilise the planted and natural pastures as well as maize remnants. The other finalists in this category were Dissie Kruger from Orania and Johan & Piet Willemse from Jireh Boerdery in Riversdal.


The 2016 Grain SA/ABSA/John Deere Financial New Era Commercial Farmer of the Year Frans Mokoena from Tweespruit, Free State This 36-year old grain producer farms on 2 200 hectares of leased and privately acquired land through the government’s PLAS programme. This cleverly integrated enterprise has Frans in charge of the crops, beef cattle and sheep, while his wife Agnes, looks after their successful egg enterprise. Apart from receiving a Green System Implement as a prize for being a finalist in this prestigious category, Mokoena took ownership of a new John Deere 5503 MFWD tractor sponsored by John Deere Financial in partnership with ABSA. Finalists in this category: Maseli Letuka from Kestell and David Motshwene from Emalahleni.


Jozua du Plessis with his sons Ruan, Chandré and Jozua Jnr

Approaching crop sustainability by investing in Conservation Agriculture (CA) and Farming Development The most successful interventions come from the work with subsistence and smallholder farmers who are learning to manage the drought, soil health and land conservation as a result of the practises they adopt. A highlight on the Grain SA calendar, and fondly referred to as the “Harvest of Farmers”, the 2016 Day of Celebration is a testimony to the investment of the organisation in farmer development over the past ten years. Celebrating the successes of its farmer development programme brought together government representatives, agricultural stakeholders and approximately 160 emerging grain producers to recognise excellence in grain production.

Mzwayi Zuma

The 2016 Grain SA/ABSA Subsistence Farmer of the Year Mzwayi David Zuma from Estcourt KwaZulu-Natal. After enrolling in the Grain SA mentor programme Mzwayi has been able to improve his yield on the 10ha of communal land used for planting maize and soya. Despite this year’s drought, they harvested 22tons of maize from 8 ha planted – all done by hand. Finalists in this category: Delisile Nkosi from Sheepmoor in Mpumalanga and Isaac Hltshwayo from Piet Retief in KwaZulu-Natal. The 2016 Grain SA/Syngenta Smallholder Farmer of the Year Sizwe Ngwenya from Piet Retief in Mpumalanga This 31-year old ambitious farmer is making his way toward commercial farming – building on the 50ha he got from his father, Sizwe wants to produce grain for export. After joining the Grain SA Farmer Development programme, Sizwe has increased his maize yields from 1ton/ha to 4ton/ ha. Yielding 250 ton this year—all harvested by hand—his crop pays testimony to his farming and conservation practices which include soil management with a strong focus on pH and nutritional balancing.

Sizwe Ngwenya

Finalists in this category: Thembelihle Tobo from Bizana in the Eastern Cape and Hamu Shuwisa from Sheepmoor in Mpumalanga. Farmers who do not have access to large tracts of land to cultivate are an important element of the agricultural landscape and each year Grain SA has more interest from farmers who want to enter and want to be included in these initiatives and awards.

Frans Mokoena

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FARMING FOR THE FUTURE MEANS STARTING AT THE BOTTOM. Sustainable farming starts with healthy soil. Healthy soil retains water better, so needs less irrigation, which means less water is wasted. It also needs fewer pesticides or synthetic fertilisers. Working together with our farmers through our Farming for the Future initiative, we are pioneering an approach to growing food in harmony with nature, so that South Africa’s farms will be able to provide food for future generations.



How Woolies’ Farmers are Making Every Drop Count An interview with Kobus Pienaar, Woolworths Foods Farming for the Future expert and Good Business Journey Manager


ith South Africa in the grip of drought, the worst in over two decades, farmers across the country are suffering. It’s a brutal reminder of South Africa’s extreme water scarcity and highlights the urgency to change our water management, infrastructure and systems, as well as practices and usage. South Africa ranks as the 30th driest country in the world, with annual rainfall levels that are only about half the world average. We qualify as a country with a semi-desert climate with 90% of our rainfall lost through evaporation, and just the remaining 10% available as runoff in rivers. According to Kobus Pienaar, Woolworths Foods Farming for the Future expert and Good Business Journey Manager, it’s imperative for the agricultural sector to lessen its impact on our scarce water resources which was one of the driving forces behind the launch of the Woolies’ Farming for the Future (FFF) initiative in 2009. Over these past seven years, the FFF team has worked closely with each farmer supplying fruit and vegetables to Woolworths to implement customised strategies and measurements to help reduce their water usage. The project’s data show that it’s certainly possible for South African farmers to manage water more effectively. For example, the Global Average Water Footprint to produce a 135 gram plum is 237 litres; but last year’s Water Stewardship Programme confirmed that the average Water Footprint for the same sized fruit, of Woolworths quality, is just 23 litres, a massive saving. Kobus points out that while the Woolworths FFF farmers integrate and customise water-saving strategies in unique ways, their efforts are underpinned by the key FFF focus areas: • Protection of soil The soil serves to hold the reservoir of water that a plant needs to thrive. It is crucial that the

soil we plant crops in is able to hold water and is protected from the elements. FFF measures the carbon content of soils so that farmers prioritise practices such as cover cropping and composting which increase their soil’s capacity to retain water and reduce its vulnerability to the harsh sun and wind. • Conservation of water FFF farmers choose irrigation systems that suit the type of crop that they are growing so that they only water around the root stock areas of a plant and ensure that water is not wasted by watering beyond the roots. • Protection of the plant Valuable water is used to grow a plant. It is vital to ensure that the plant thrives and produces the expected fruit or vegetable. A tree or plant that dies before, or while it can still produce fruit, is a simply a waste of water and a failure to achieve a return on a critical investment. • Reusing, recycling, water-harvesting and storing FFF farmers use a variety of techniques that work for them to harvest and store as much rainwater as possible, such as channelling it into dams and collecting it from roofs. Hydroponic farming also presents opportunities to recycle water and reuse it on either the same or other crops. For this to work, Kobus points out that the sustainability of our farming environment must be top of mind for the farmer. “South African farmers need accurate measurement of their water usage in order to be empowered to make water-saving transformations. There needs to be the desire to go beyond ‘how it’s always been done’, a letting go of just following the latest trends offered by the industry and the willingness to implement what works scientifically and practically to grow quality fruit and vegetables in ways that

Kobus Pienaar

are much better for the water-stressed South African environment.” It all starts with understanding the soil, the natural soil rather than the chemically treated soil, and then making better decisions about crop choices, crop rotation, building biomass in the soil, irrigation methods, water-harvesting opportunities and water-saving techniques. “Through the FFF initiative, Woolworth’s fruit and vegetable farmers have found a myriad of innovative, practical and technological ways to farm more effectively by reducing their water footprint.” “We’re not helpless in the face of this drought,” says Kobus, “We can use the adversity of our current situation to be much smarter and more efficient about the ways that we use water for our benefit now, and for our future generations.”



Sowing seeds of knowledge The University of Pretoria recently conducted a research project, commissioned and funded by the Water Research Commission (WRC), to understand what people in rural households in South Africa grow and eat. The project aimed to identify ways in which rain-fed and irrigated crop production can be strengthened to improve nutrition. by Karen Grobler


alf of South Africa’s population— some 27 million people—live below the global poverty line. Government grants are often the only means of survival in poor rural communities. However, the grants fall far short of being able to cover the basic cost of nutritious food. The experience of hunger is related to many different forms of deprivation. There is widespread ‘hidden hunger’, in the form of micronutrient deficiencies, growing rates of overweight and obesity and—perhaps most concerning—stunting and overweight tendencies among small children.

Taking a holistic view This study of consumption and production patterns investigated how crop production can lead to better nutrition by improving dietary diversity. This unique transdisciplinary study was conducted in four of South Africa’s poorest rural communities—Ingquza Hill (Eastern Cape), Jozini (KwaZulu-Natal), Maruleng (Limpopo) and Ratlou (North West). Findings on nutrition The researchers found that most households were food insecure. There was inadequate food available to meet the requirements of a diversified diet. Roughly one in four households reported experiencing hunger for most months of the year, but most households cited January as a difficult month. The researchers found high levels of hidden hunger, overweight among adult women and children, and stunting in children. Of concern was the number of young children who were both stunted and overweight. Findings regarding consumption Access to a diversified diet was problematic for households in these communities. They had a starch-based diet—consisting mostly of maize and bread—that lacked fruit and vegetables. Most households were able to buy enough maize meal for daily consumption, but their



diets lacked diversity, and contained far too little, or no fruit and vegetables. This was worse in winter when even fewer fresh fruits and vegetables grew and water was in short supply. Participants reported that drought and climate change had reduced their opportunities for diversifying production and that wild foods were also not available. Contrary to expectation, the study found that an encouraging number of households supplemented their diets through crop production in the areas where such production was possible – Ingquza Hill, Jozini and Maruleng. The study also found an encouraging number of households engaging in crop production on farmland, home gardens or school and community gardens, despite low access to agricultural input, support and supplemental irrigation. Nutritional benefits of crop production After studying the consumption and crop production patterns of the households, the researchers were able to determine what could be done to improve their diets and overall nutrition. Many crops can be grown to improve nutrition in these communities. But very few crops will yield food in winter. Irrigation offers the potential of increasing the amount and variety of fresh produce, as well as the period of availability. Foods that were found by the study to be culturally acceptable and that could grow in these communities included dark, green leafy vegetables like swiss chard, broccoli; cabbage,

cucumber, calabash, various legumes, roots and tubers and a variety of fruit. Many challenges A number of fruit and vegetable crops can be produced in these communities. However, very few crops produce edible food in winter. In the higher rainfall areas of Ingquza Hill, Jozini and Maruleng, some of the recommended crops can be produced under rain-fed conditions when normal weather conditions prevail. Communities reported that this is not possible in drought conditions. Most crops that will produce nutritious fresh vegetables in winter require irrigation. Access to irrigation is essential to overcome these constraints, extend the range of crops possible, extend the growing season, reduce the risk of crop failure and improve yields. Communities face different constraints where irrigation is concerned. In all the communities, there is potential to enhance household and smallholder irrigation. In some cases the obstacles are technical. For many small producers and home gardeners, agricultural inputs and extension services are inaccessible or simply inappropriate. But there is a will and energy to adapt farming to changing conditions.. An example would be doing this by planting local and more droughtresistant crops. Community involvement Communities were well aware of the unhealthy nature of modern, store-bought foods. The

most common objection from the communities was that a diverse diet was not affordable, despite suggestions in the data to the contrary. Lack of water was the major reason cited by communities about why this was the case. The researchers’ information was based on long-standing agronomic data, suggesting that growing conditions have changed drastically over the past few decades. This idea was corroborated by community members, who said that many crops that could be grown in the past no longer grew due to a lack of water or a changing climate, severly limiting their access to different crops to eat or sell. The way forward For all the assembled data to amount to meaningful change, it needed to be provided to communities in a way that was relevant to them. The researchers’ recommendations were based on what is possible to grow in their areas, while ensuring that the recommended crops met the nutritional needs of the communities. Their goal was to find the most nutritious crops that required the least water. Striking such a balance is key to ensuring that poor rural communities are able to sustain themselves in the long term. An easy-to-use app has been developed that provides information to communities about the crops that will thrive in their areas. Gathered data are also used to craft recommendations for policymakers, as well as to inform the new South African Food Security Information System.



Drought management— Strengthening our knowledge armoury As South Africa braces itself amidst increasing drought, a present Water Research Commission (WRC) study aims to improve the country’s ability to prepare for and mitigate against such climatic events in the future. by Lani van Vuuren


here is a growing realisation that South Africa requires a long-term, national drought policy and strategy to mitigate the risk of future occurrence of drought and the Water Research Commission (WRC) has identified the need for sciencebased mechanisms and monitoring that will deliver timely information to decisionmakers and so strengthen risk management measures and preparedness plans. One such project funded by the WRC and undertaken by the University of Cape Town is looking to characterise extensive droughts over southern Africa, and to investigate the mechanism that produce and/or control these droughts. The study is also examining how climate change may influence the characteristics of these regionally extensive droughts in future. In the long term, the key to drought preparedness is know the what, how and when of upcoming drought and to achieve this goal the scientific expertise to monitor and predict, the capability of the observation networks, as well as the information systems for early warning must be improved. The WRC has also commissioned a call to investigate the feasibility of (re)establishing a Hydrology Institute to act as a clearinghouse for all hydrological datasets to support the water sector. The proposed institute could play a critical role for the water sector in drought monitoring and research.

Over the years the WRC has engaged in various research initiatives looking at water management and mitigation. These reports and articles are freely available on the WRC web site and some of the latest research topics in this area were: • What Africa’s drought responses teach us about climate change hotspots • Analysing South Africa’s water management options mitigating drought • Planning for adaptation: Applying scientific climate change projections to local social realities • Insights into indigenous coping strategies to drought • Investigation into the cost and operation of Southern African desalination and water reuse plants Volume I: Overview of desalination and water reuse • Direct reclamation of municipal wastewater for drinking purposes Volume 1: Guidance on monitoring, management and communication of water quality • Investigation into the cost and operation of Southern African desalination and water reuse plants: Volume III: Best Practices on Cost and Operation of • Investigation into the cost and operation of Southern African desalination and water reuse plants Volume II: Current status of desalination and water reuse in Southern Africa • Insights into indigenous coping strategies to drought for adaptation in Agriculture: A Karoo scenario

Managing water in times of drought Rising water demand because of population growth and socio-economic development is placing pressure on many of these systems. As pointed out by the Second National Water Resource Strategy, most of the economically available yield from surface water resources has already been fully developed and utilised, and opportunities for developing new and economic dams are few. During periods of drought, water supply is prioritise in accordance with the assurance of supply of the various water use sectors. Basic human needs and water requirements of strategic users, such as power stations and major industries, are the least curtailed. Urban water users will typically be curtailed at a lesser degree than agriculture. Each specific system will therefore have different levels of curtailment, according to the profile of water users reliant on the system. A significant challenge in this regard has been the deterioration of observation networks in South Africa. There are serious concerns about the decline in monitoring of rainfall, streamflow, groundwater levels, and water quality in South Africa, among others. Rainfall is an important variable through which the availability of water resources is gauged. However, rainfall observation in South Africa has decline to such an extent that the current number of useful rainfall stations we have now (about 700) is less than what we had in 1920.



ARC Capacitating Smallholder Farmers for Improved Production


he Agricultural Research Council (ARC) is a state-owned institution within the National System of Innovation, deriving its mandate from the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and the Department of Science & Technology.

The core business of the ARC is to conduct fundamental and applied research with partners, to generate new knowledge, develop human capital and foster innovation in agriculture. The ARC’s competency and expertise is represented along the entire agriculture value chain, encompassing natural resource management, horticulture, animal production, veterinary health, grain crops, industrial crops, agricultural engineering, and agricultural economics, as well as research and technology management. The ARC constitutes 11 research institutes and 80 research stations including farms, technical workshops and laboratories, spread across all nine provinces. Its research campuses are strategically located throughout major agricultural production areas in South Africa, thus ensuring accessibility of the ARC by all its clients. The ARC also provides diagnostic and analytical services in the areas of soil health, animal health and other livestock services to mitigate outbreaks and to plan prevention strategies. The ARC’s training and capacity building programmes are also offered on Agriculture Engineering, Animal Production, Biometry, Grains and Industrial Crops, Horticulture, Plant Protection and Animal Health. The provision of ARC products and services follows a three-pronged approach: (i) information dissemination through different media and platforms to ensure equitable access by all clients; (ii) intense training programmes for skills development in social skills, technical aspects of primary production, post-harvest technologies and management of agri-businesses, and (iii) mentoring and networking, whereby trainees are connected to relevant networks (markets, suppliers, capital) and mentors in the commercial sector (industry). ARC has over 100 non-accredited courses and 64 accredited skills and short learning programmes.

For more information please visit the ARC website on or contact the Training Manager: Ms Thembi Ngcobo on or on Tel: (012) 427 9838 Alternatively you can visit us at 1134 Park Street, Hatfield, Pretoria.



The Positive Cup

Ecolaboration and sustainability targets are transforming how coffee is sourced and produced worldwide and Nespresso is making headway into becoming an industry leader that is looking full circle at its impacts and involving its consumers in its ambitious recycling initiatives; changing coffee culture, one cup at a time. By Melissa Baird


he aroma of freshly brewed coffee precipitates the many hued flavours savoured on sipping from a delicious cup and barista’s around the world lay claim to their unique styles of coffee bean roasting, combination and presentation. Nespresso developed a method to enable coffee lovers to enjoy a perfectly brewed cup of coffee at home and their 24 different Grands Crus from coffee regions all over the world ensure a range of flavours that is hard to beat. The single use coffee capsules are crafted out of aluminium to ensure freshness and stable quality of their product and since 1991 Nespresso have been focussing on how to recycle these capsules. Aluminium has the advantage of being infinitely recyclable so the recycling initiative has had direct benefits for the creation of second generation aluminium products. Since then Nespresso has set up its own capsule collection systems in more than 30 countries worldwide. In South Africa Nespresso’s recycling partner is Oricol, an environmental service company that has assumed a leading role in South Africa for the delivery of superior environmental and resource recovery solutions that aims to divert waste from landfill and turn waste into a resource. All used Nespresso capsules are transported by road to Oricol’s Spartan facility in Johannesburg, for separation, storage and recycling. Once separated the aluminium undergoes a further recycling process at a nearby steal smelter where it is reused to make new aluminium products while the coffee grounds are composted to produce a


very high-quality fertiliser for organic farming purposes. Walking around the Oricol facilities, I was amazed at the waste beneficiation processes and the machines that are used to extract what would be dumped so that the waste can be turned into something of use. Old food transforms into biofuels and animal food stocks and old machinery is broken down into essential components that can re-used and recycled. This is the waste economy in action and it is creating dignified work for people who once were ‘informal’ (meaning totally unprotected from disease and pollution) pickers on landfill sites. Given the increase in waste to landfill specifically where non-aluminum single use products are concerned, it is nice to see that a company such as Nespresso has made recycling and sustainability a core value of their business. The question, however, is what environmental impact is happening further along the supply chain? Which takes us into the social aspect of the business and the welfare of the coffee farmers. Nespresso, in collaboration with the environmental NGO Rainforest Alliance, launched the Nespresso AAA Sustainable Quality™ Programme in 2003, its unique coffee sourcing model that enables to secure the supply of the highest quality coffees, while protecting the environment and enhancing farmer welfare. At the end of 2013, the company met, and even surpassed, ambitious sustainability targets set out in 2009 with regards to coffee sourcing, aluminium and carbon footprint. Nespresso sourced 84% of its coffee from its AAA Sustainable Quality™ Programme, against a


Loading milled pods into the vibrating screen target of 75%, and reduced the carbon footprint of a cup of Nespresso coffee by 20%. Building upon these achievements to further improve farmer welfare and drive environmental sustainability in coffee sourcing and consumption, Nespresso announced last August an ambitious strategy for 2020, titled The Positive Cup. The Positive Cup sustainability vision is based on the idea that a cup of coffee can create shared value and a greater, positive impact on society and the environment. The ambition to reach The Positive Cup vision by 2020 builds on the significant steps the company has already taken over the last five years, to improve farmer welfare and drive environmental sustainability. One hundred

Aluminium exiting the vibrating screen free of coffee percent of its permanent range of Grand Cru coffees will be sourced through the Nespresso AAA Sustainable Quality™ Programme by significantly expanding the AAA Programme in Ethiopia, Kenya and South Sudan. It will also assist farmers in achieving high certification standards (in water management, biodiversity and fair treatment of workers, for example) through The Rainforest Alliance and Fairtrade. These sustainability targets are enabling the brand to innovate and secure its product and enhance farmer development for the future benefit of all involved in the supply chain. But what of their consumers? The ease with which consumers can recycle their capsules and the intention of the brand to further educate

Oricol Spartan Office and Warehouse

consumers about the value of recycling and of being more conscious of their waste impacts will continue to flourish. The Nespresso store in Hyde Park is a flagship of beauty and technology. The coffee capsules line the walls and the lighting is so inviting you wonder why this isn’t a boutique coffee shop in itself. This is just one of stores that take the used coffee capsules back; there are dedicated recycling bins at the V & A Waterfront and in the Canal Walk Shopping Centre, Sandton City, Menlyn Shopping Centre, and Gateway in Durban. As Nespresso continues its journey to reach ambitious sustainability targets it is encouraging to see their visible commitment to the better way of doing business.

Coffee grounds loaded into Oricol bins ready for delivery to the composting sites



4 Our commitment to sustainability Respect for the environment is at the heart of our development strategy. We are committed to minimising our impact on the planet. Implementing advice from experts such as the International Union for Conservation of Nature and the communities in which we work, we have developed a range of practical environmental programmes, including using our technological expertise to reduce emissions, recycle water and progressively rehabilitating land into functional ecosystems that provide a range of ecological services.

T: +27 (0)35 901 3111 E: W:













Photograph courtesy of Corobrik

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