Corporates asked to get their hands dirty

Habitat for Humanity calls on corporate assistance on the eve of its Nelson Mandela Day build event.

Habitat for Humanity South Africa, in partnership with the Nelson Mandela Foundation, will be hosting its Nelson Mandela International Build Week from 17 to 21 July in Orange Farm, Gauteng. Together with more than 4000 volunteers, the organisation intends to build 67 homes, one for every year of Mandela’s public service.

“South Africa’s urban population is growing at a remarkable rate, while at the same time housing costs continue to increase,” says Habitat for Humanity South Africa national director Patrick Kulati. ”This prevents low-income families from entering the formal housing market.”

Habitat for Humanity South Africa builds not only homes, but communities too. Community members pinpoint the resources they need, while experts in the field focus on finding solutions. “We need the help of corporates to fund community projects from the get-go. This will allow us to strategically allocate the budget at the planning stages, providing communities with the developments they deserve,” says Kulati.

It’s for this reason that the organisation is calling on corporate teams to volunteer their time to help build the homes, and to use their financial resources to assist Habitat in building the community of Orange Farm beyond the build event. Habitat for Humanity South Africa has been involved with the Orange Farm Community since 2008. The current population is estimated to be 1 million – making it one of the largest informal settlements in South Africa. The initial four year engagement focused on building housing with volunteers, as a way to alleviate poverty. Since 2015 the strategy has evolved to include growing strong community-based leadership.

South Africa’s National Development Plan hopes to eliminate poverty by the year 2030 by promoting leadership and partnerships throughout society, among other factors. By helping build new homes, those involved become advocates in action and play a critical role in helping fellow South Africans take vital steps out of poverty. Corporates can use the Habitat for Humanity Build Week as a team-building exercise by getting their employees involved in the building programmes.

Habitat for Humanity South Africa will be celebrating its 21st birthday at the end of this year. With the assistance of dedicated and loyal volunteers over these last two decades, the organisation has been raising awareness of the right of all people to access to decent shelter and in this way positively impacting communities. “I’ve been a volunteer at Habitat for Humanity South Africa for 14 years and the feeling of making a difference in the lives of others never gets old,” says Liyanda Maseko, Habitat for Humanity SA volunteer.

Mandela Day is held annually on 18 July, Nelson Mandela’s birthday.

For more information about the Build Week or to find out how to get involved, visit

What South Africa can teach the world about Aqua-Hacking

WHY YOU SHOULD CARE? Because bathwater is good for more than just bathing.

”CRITICAL WATER SHORTAGE! DAMS AT 11.2%,” reads a roadside sign that usually notifies drivers of accidents. In the once-leafy suburbs of Cape Town, South Africa — where I live — it’s now considered a sin to have a green lawn or take a luxurious soak in the tub. These days I shower (two minutes, no more) with buckets at my feet, which, once full, are used to flush the loo. And my kids bathe in 2 inches of water, which is then diverted onto a flower bed. Cape Town has a Mediterranean climate, but the combination of an expanding population (3.7 million in the metro area, growing at 2.6 percent per year), an extended dry cycle and a lack of municipal foresight has brought the situation to a dramatic and desiccated head.

Against this backdrop, graywater recycling companies have sprung up in Cape Town and other parched areas of South Africa like daisies after a desert cloudburst (if only). One expert estimates that home recycling installations in the city have jumped from around 300 per year in 2005 to 6,000 in 2017. Gray water is the water that comes out of baths, showers, hand basins and washing machines — about 33 percent of the water used in an average house with a yard and more than 50 percent in an apartment without a garden. Instead of ending up in sewers, it’s repurposed for garden irrigation (cheap and easy), flushing toilets (slightly more complicated and expensive) and taking showers and doing laundry (pricey and complex). According to local installers, a basic garden irrigation system for an average family home in Cape Town costs about $1,000 and cuts consumption by around 30 percent, for annual savings of $150.


On its own, reusing gray water will not solve the world’s water problems, but coupled with improved consumption habits and rainwater harvesting it could go a long way toward reducing our reliance on municipal water. Intewa, a German water-solutions company, reports a 400 percent increase in sales on domestic units in the past three years — albeit from a very low baseline. What’s more, this growth has been steady in all 20 countries where Intewa operates.

Jeremy Taylor of Water Rhapsody is the graying grandfather of gray water in South Africa. In the 1980s, it dawned on this former city councilor that Cape Town would probably run out of water by 2005 (it ended up taking 10 years longer), and so he started looking for solutions. After a few years of tinkering, Taylor founded Water Rhapsody in 1994. His breakthrough product was a simple “sump and pump” irrigation system that diverts water directly to a sprinkler when a shower or washing machine is turned on. He has since added the aptly named Second Movement system that uses gray water to flush toilets. “It is absolutely preposterous,” says Taylor, “that any drinking water should ever be used for irrigation purposes. The current water restrictions are how it should be all the time.” (In the past two years, restrictions and public appeals have enabled Cape Town to reduce its daily water consumption by 40 percent.)

Oliver Ringelstein, owner and head engineer of Intewa, markets the Aqualoop system, which uses biological agents and ultrafine filters to restore water quality to the point where it’s not quite potable but plenty clean enough for everything else. Although the Aqualoop is the first graywater system to receive certification in the U.S. from the nonprofit National Sanitation Foundation, it’s beyond the budget of most consumers — a standard domestic installation costs approximately $5,000. “Weirdly, graywater systems are quite popular in watery Germany because our water and sewerage prices are so high,” says Ringelstein. “But prices in many water-scarce countries are ridiculously low.” In Germany, the systems pay for themselves in about 10 years, according to Ringelstein.

So, who could possibly oppose water conservation that relies on systems installed and maintained by private users? Municipalities, that’s who. It doesn’t make economic sense for them to advocate water recycling when they rely on water and sewerage tariffs to balance budgets. Nevertheless, the South African Department of Water and Sanitation does acknowledge that the country is going to have to “rethink our conventional sanitation solutions and invest in more sustainable alternatives.”

South Africa is quite lucky with legislation, Taylor notes. Some countries have implemented much stricter controls on gray water. Laura Allen from Greywater Action, a California nongovernmental organization, confirms that, by default, graywater reuse in the U.S. is prohibited, but she also notes that public demand during long droughts can force changes in state regulations. “California has a lot more support for gray water since simple systems — i.e., garden irrigation systems — were legalized there,” she explains. “Dozens of water districts and cities, including Santa Clara and San Diego, have incentivized their installation.”

Kevin Winter, lead researcher at the University of Cape Town’s Future Water Research Institute, raises another concern: Puddles of gray water on paved areas could, in extreme circumstances, become breeding grounds for mosquitoes and other transmitters of infectious diseases such as cholera. For health reasons, Winter says, legislation needs to ensure that graywater installations are equipped with valves to divert excess gray water to sewer systems (both Taylor’s and Ringelstein’s systems do this).

I ask Ringelstein what the water system in the house of the future will look like. “A lot like mine,” he says, laughing. Through a combination of graywater recycling and rainwater harvesting his family has manged to reduce their water consumption by 90 percent. All that stands between them and complete independence of the water grid is a sewage treatment system. And here I sit, flushing toilets with buckets and fretting about my dahlias.

Source: ozy

#CSIMonth: Why having an authentic approach to your CSI initiatives is key to sustainable growth

It’s a bad idea, as part of your CSR strategy, to pose with a big cheque to show that you are ‘doing good’, says Chris Bischoff, research and sustainability specialist at Reputation Matters. We interviewed Bischoff to get his take on authenticity and transparency in the CSI space, the benefits of aligning your CSR strategy with your brand, and how businesses can retain their reputation capital during the current economic recession in South Africa.

Now and into the future, consumers have growing expectations from the businesses they patronise in terms of CSR. Why do you think this trend has developed and do you believe it’s here to stay?

Chris Bischoff: There are a number of factors that led to the trend of ‘green consumerism’. Firstly, I think that the average person is so much more aware of the consequences of what they are consuming or using. More information is available nowadays thanks to the internet and its easy accessibility. New research is also being shared on issues surrounding production and consumption, especially unsustainable production and consumption. For the active consumer, the knowledge of what processes and impacts are behind a product definitely factors into the final choice when making a purchase.
The trend of ‘green consumerism’ is here to stay. As the human population increases, so do consumption rates which, in turn, puts increasing pressure on natural resources and availability of land. This is going to put increased pressure on businesses to produce a product that does not add to the burden of overly stressed resources, but rather offers a renewable option. This is a growing consumer expectation that will continue as long as we are faced with these unsustainable production and consumption issues. How socially and environmentally responsible an organisation is in terms of its CSR strategy will influence consumer attitude towards the brand.
Authenticity and transparency have become key in the CSI space. How does a business convey its CSI goals and achievements to its various stakeholders without making it sound like a marketing exercise?

Bischoff: An interesting trend that our research has frequently shown is that CSR is at the top of the list when we ask stakeholder groups about communication preferences. People want to hear about what you are doing to be socially and environmentally responsible. It is also about the message behind your CSR strategy and CSI initiatives. We always say that it is a bad idea to pose with a big cheque showing that you are ‘doing good’ by donating money. There is not much of a message behind this and feels rather much like a marketing attempt. The best CSR strategy is one that is aligned to the business’s values and vision, which is ongoing and involves your stakeholders in some way.

Transparency is incredibly important when it comes to sustainability and a company’s environmental performance. Information spreads so rapidly on social media nowadays. It is also really important to be transparent even when there has been a lack of environmental performance. It is better to say ‘this is where we under-performed, and this is what we are going to do about it’ instead of saying nothing at all. A lot of businesses nowadays are getting called out for not ‘walking their environmental talk’. This is known as ‘greenwashing’ – when certain business decisions and actions do not reflect what your CSR strategy says.

How important is it to align your CSR strategy with your brand and what are the benefits of doing so?
Bischoff: Aligning your CSR strategy with your brand’s values is a lot more credible. Your employees will also understand why specific CSI initiatives have been chosen, and therefore are more likely to support the cause. At Reputation Matters, one of our CSI initiatives involves a partnership with Greenpop; we have started gifting trees using this organisation in celebration of client and employee birthdays and we link this to our value of ‘growth’.
In terms of linking CSI strategy to reputation and business imperatives, highlight a South African company that you think is getting it right.
Bischoff: [dot]GOOD is an interesting example of a company that has a unique marketing approach that treats sustainability and marketing as a single strategy. Often this is not the case in many business models today. They have adopted sustainability as a core value, and therefore it resonates really well throughout the entire organisation. When it comes to communicating about your CSR, it is really important to get the internal building blocks right first, and then identify the best channels to communicate externally. Developing this type of marketing strategy for their clients is also their service offering, which really shows that they live what they believe.
The recession in South Africa will in all likelihood impact negatively on CSI spend. How do businesses ride out the recession while maintaining their CSI efforts and, in turn, their reputation capital with stakeholders?
Bischoff: A CSI initiative does not have to be a big financial investment. An organisation can be socially and environmentally responsible just by having a strong set of core values established that defines the organisation and the team. For example, one of our values at Reputation Matters is ‘respect’ – respect for ourselves, our clients, and the environment. When we are faced with a decision we will always ask; “are we respecting ourselves”, “are we respecting our client”, and “does this show respect towards the natural environment”. If we have any doubt when asking those questions, we won’t engage in any arrangement which goes against this value. Just by sticking to this value we can be environmentally responsible when making certain decisions. That is one aspect of being socially and environmentally responsible.
A CSI initiative also does not necessarily have to be a financial investment. Next time you have a team-building event, go plant some fruit trees in an under-resourced community. There are many ways in which you can invest your time instead of making a financial contribution. Bottom line, when it comes to CSR, it is more about a strong lasting message rather than a big financial investment. This is also a key message to communicate with all of your stakeholders.
Reputation Matters launched its Sustainability Check tool late last year – could you tell us how it works, and explain the difference it could help make to a business’s reputation?
Bischoff: CSR and sustainability are significant contributors to overall reputation. The Sustainability Check is a research tool designed to provide insight into your stakeholders’ perceptions of your CSR strategy and sustainability initiatives. In a basic sense, the research will tell you how sustainable the organisation is perceived to be. From these results, we can identify gaps in communication to your stakeholder groups and improve the perception that they might have. This, in turn, contributes to a healthy reputation.
What is Reputation Matters doing for Mandela Day this year, and what do you think is the significance of Mandela Day in 2017?

Bischoff: We are going to be getting our hands dirty in a community organic vegetable garden. As mentioned, this year we have started gifting trees to be planted in honour of a client or employee on their birthday. I want us to get involved in planting and in this way get a better idea of the reason why we gift trees. The intention is also for the team to interact with community members to get a better idea of the positive impact that gardens and urban greening has in society, especially under-resourced communities.

The message for Mandela Day is that everyone has the ability and responsibility to change the world for the better; no matter how small of a contribution it is, let it be a positive one. It is also a good message to make businesses, which are also a part of society, realise that they are in a position to make a significant contribution towards positive change that addresses social and environmental issues, not just on Mandela Day.

Source: bizcommunity
Image: Reputation Matters team

If you care so much, Coke, why aren’t your bottles 100% recycled?

Coca-Cola sells more than 100bn single-use plastic bottles a year. Its plans to increase recycled plastic in its bottles to 50% are startlingly unambitious

Coca-Cola’s grand announcement on plastic packaging is a lot of PR fizz. But when you look at the detail, it’s all a bit flat.

The news that the company is to increase the amount of recycled plastic in its bottles to 50% shows a startling lack of ambition from the soft-drinks giant to tackle one of the greatest environmental challenges facing us: the plastic pollution choking our oceans.

This new plan is no game changer. Limited to operations in the UK, Coca-Cola’s plans amount to increasing its existing target for recycled content by a mere 10%, launching yet another public awareness campaign to keep the focus on litterers, and trialling what appears will be little more than a promotional scheme for buying more Coca-Cola bottles.

The company’s plans, which it says it will reveal later this year, may feature a money-off voucher scheme to reward customers returning small Coca-Cola bottles to shops. This would be a cheap gimmick to try and move the story on from Coca-Cola’s major U-turn on deposit return schemes after Greenpeace revealed the company had been lobbying against these in Holyrood, Westminster and Brussels. If the vouchers can be redeemed on yet more plastic Coca-Cola bottles, this will only boost the already staggering global plastic bottle sales of a million a minute.

It’s also worth pointing out that Coca-Cola’s mildly higher goal to source 50% recycled content should be taken with a pinch of salt given the company’s history of failing to keep its promises. Coca-Cola got less than half way to meeting its global 2015 target to source 25% of its plastic bottles from recycled or “renewable” material, for example plant-based plastics. Globally the company reached a pitiful 7% recycled material.

Even putting these doubts aside, is reaching 50% recycled content in three years’ time significant? The truth is that 100% recycled bottles are feasible and have been rolled out for a number of soft drinks products over the past decade. In 2007, for example, Suntory’s Ribena became the first major UK soft drink brand to use 100% recycled plastic. Coca-Cola, the world’s biggest soft drinks company, is lagging far behind.

Nearly half of the more than 35m plastic bottles bought in the UK every day are not recycled. We need governments to step up and introduce what we know already works around the world. Deposit return schemes have a proven track record internationally for increasing collection rates of drinks containers.

After concerted campaigning, we now have clear political processes in motion for governments in Holyrood and Westminster to consider introducing well-designed deposit return schemes that can cover all drinks containers. To help these succeed, we need major players like Coca-Cola to get fully behind these processes to deal with the problem at scale.

Coca-Cola has previously claimed (pdf): “We are interested in innovations that deliver genuine, measurable long-term advancements toward sustainability and not just eye-grabbing marketing slogans that will earn us public relations points in the near term.”

The company’s new plastic packaging strategy is far from genuinely innovative. As the biggest drinks company on the planet, that’s not good enough.

This article was amended on 14 July 2017. An earlier version said that PR firm Edelman was responsible for the new announcement. Edelman has yet to start work with Coca-Cola.

Source: theguardian

Pam Golding’s new alliance will provide global property assets, plus dual residence

Estate agent Pam Golding Properties (PGP) has partnered with global investment-migration Henley & Partners to provide buyers seeking international property assets with a view about acquiring dual residence or citizenship.

Pam Golding said this was being offered as an end-to-end service.

“For savvy South Africans who wish to diversify their investment portfolios by gaining a foothold on the global property ladder, this strategic alliance comes at a time when increasing numbers of affluent locals, including families, are looking to hedge their bets overseas,” Pam Golding said.

Nigel Barnes, managing partner of the South African branch of Henley & Partners, said his company was experiencing a rising demand for international residency and citizenship options “from clients wanting to firm up their future planning objectives, be that simply from a lifestyle point of view or as a rand hedge in times of economic uncertainty”.

This was attributed to various factors, from aspirational lifestyle changes and career opportunities along with credit ratings downgrades and the potential effects of junk status on the economy.

Pam Golding’s international division head, Chris Immelman, said many clients wanted to own properties in two countries and be able to visit each easily, without actually emigrating from SA.

“These people are not necessarily emigrating. They are merely making the world’s markets work for them, repositioning their assets, and their homes, for a while,” he said.

For a relatively affordable five-year, mainly property investment of between €520,000 and €570,000, successful applicants of the Malta Residence and Visa Programme acquired long-term unrestricted access to the entire European Schengen area, and the “right to reside in the 40th most competitive economy in the world, all within just three months of applying,” said Immelman.

“For those who can resist the lure of the Mediterranean island’s 340 days-a-year sunshine average, there’s no reason to abandon local shores as Maltese residence requires no physical presence in the country whatsoever,” he said.

PGP CEO Andrew Golding said the company’s alliance with Henley & Partners meant that, for an offshore category of buyer, PGP “were uniquely equipped to provide an all-encompassing professional service”.

Its legally compliant citizenship-by-investment programmes, include ones for Malta, Cyprus, Portugal and Grenada.

Immelman said Henley & Partners was the global leader in residence and citizenship planning, upon whose expertise thousands of wealthy individuals and families had relied for over 20 years.

Another programme which is trying to attract South African interest is the EB-5 programme, which is run by LCR Capital Partners, which enables people to reside in the US.

LCR Capital Partners said it believed SA had many strong candidates for the programme.

“While the new Trump administration’s recent executive orders suspending travel from certain countries has dominated headlines for months, it is not to be confused with legal immigration. This is especially related to golden visas, technically referred to as EB-5 investment visas,” LCR co-founder Rogelio Caceres said.

Administered by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services, EB-5 enables investors the opportunity to acquire US permanent residency, via a green card for themselves and their immediate families.

A sum of $500,000 must be invested for five years towards new businesses that in turn creates a minimum of 10 US-based jobs for every investor.

Source: businesslive

Carpooling proves ‘excellent’ match for Cape Town’s traffic congestion

South African carpooling app, uGoMyWay today released the results of its pilot ‘corporate carpooling project’. Conducted in association with Accelerate Cape Town, over a period of two and a half months, the pilot included eight of the Mother City’s top-tier corporate companies and their employees, and confirms the viability of a sustained ride-share/carpooling programme for Africa’s most traffic congested city* – and beyond.

During the period of the pilot, downloads of the app increased by 120% with 89% of users finding a match. Impressively, over 90% of these matches are classified as ‘excellent’, where deviation from the original journey is under 2.5 km or five minutes and 50% of users had more than one excellent match. This clearly indicates that there are enough people in the uGoMyWay carpooling ecosystem, which considering the app was only officially launched in February 2017 is also a notable achievement.Chris Megan, CEO of uGoMyWay is delighted with the results saying: “The tech works! We were not expecting such an exceptional match outcome at this stage. This is an excellent sign that there is indeed a healthy appetite for carpooling and it bodes well for the future of carpooling as a viable means of transportation to and from work and other frequent car trips.”uGoMyWay uses two factors to rank and gauge the quality of a match. The two-factor algorithm recognises the financial benefit of maximising the shared journey while minimising inconvenience or deviation from the original journey.

To analyse the quality of match, it is important to understand typical length of journey in the pilot:

  • The longest journey was 61.2 km
  • The shortest journey was 5.4 km
  • The average journey was 20.1 km
  • The distribution was “normal” with 50% clustered between 15 km and 25 km.

On an average journey of 20.1 km, it was found that an excellent match (shared journey) of over 80% is where the shared journey exceeds 16 km and, an excellent match (convenience) of over 80% is where deviation from original journey is less than 5 km.Justin Smith Group Head of Sustainability at Woolworths, one of the last corporates to host a workshop in the pilot period, but whose employees have eagerly embraced the opportunity to do something constructive about the city’s congestion problem, remarked: “we’re keen to support the development of sustainable transport options in the city that will help reduce congestion and result in environmental benefits.Throughout the duration of the pilot the increase in the number of matches and the quality of matches accelerated exponentially. Quality of match translates directly into convenience and will continue to improve as more large employers in Cape Town join the carpool initiative.

Echoing this, Ryan Ravens, CEO of Accelerate Cape Town confirmed: “The pilot was successful in focusing attention and raising awareness of the benefits of carpooling in Cape Town. That being said, we are rolling out the uGoMyWay solution to all Accelerate Cape Town members and encourage all businesses whether in the CBD or in other high traffic corridors, to consider adopting carpooling as a valuable mechanism for effecting much-needed behavioural change amongst staff. To assist the uptake in carpooling and further improve the ‘convenience’ factor, uGoMyWay has also made major improvements to its match ability communications. uGoMyWay now sends its user pool notifications of good matches (more than 80% quality) when new journeys are created or existing journeys are amended. In addition, where Chat / Push notifications have not been delivered, due to an older version, notification preferences or uninstallation, the platform will revert to notification by email. Notifications of Good / Excellent matches, will also take place by email.

With these improved user engagement techniques, a marked increase of 260% in the number of daily active users occurred, based on the detection of 680 new high quality matches when the re-engagement upgrades to the platform were made – this was over a period of less than 24 hours.Even better and why we might all be carpooling soon, since green lighting the full programme, Ravens and his team are hosting workshops with uGoMyWay at corporates in the Northern transport corridor and other high traffic areas across Cape Town. Already the signs are encouraging with one workshop attendee at a recent event obtaining 28 ‘excellent’ matches after downloading the app and offering a ride – an 82% ‘match with a 29 km shared journey on a driver journey of 31.2 km with a deviation of 5.7 km.Just think – if, of the approximately 260 000 vehicles that enter the Cape Town CBD on a daily basis, the overwhelming majority of which are single occupancy, half of those took one person to work, there would be half the amount of cars on the road, taking half the amount of time to get to and from a place of work…that means more time to do the things we want to do.

While this pilot was Cape Town centric, the same principles apply in every high traffic area across South Africa, which is why uGoMyWay has also seen an incremental uptake in downloads of the Android and iOS app in cities such as Johannesburg and Durban.Traffic congestion continues to be a highly charged topic of conversation – on arrival at the office, around the dinner table and on the airwaves. Many solutions have been proffered such as flexi-time and more work from home opportunities, but many people need to be at their place of work. In the absence of more roads and more and affordable public transport, carpooling is without doubt the best workable solution. So, the question remains – why are you not carpooling? Be part of the solution, not the problem.

Source: roadaheadonline

Engineers find way to evaluate green roofs

Green infrastructure is an attractive concept, but there is concern surrounding its effectiveness. Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign are using a mathematical technique traditionally used in earthquake engineering to determine how well green infrastructure works and to communicate with urban planners, policymakers and developers.

Green roofs are flat, vegetated surfaces on the tops of buildings that are designed to capture and retain rainwater and filter any that is released back into the environment.

“The retention helps ease the strain that large amounts of rain put on municipal sewer systems, and filtration helps remove any possible contaminants found in the stormwater,” said Reshmina William, a civil and environmental engineering graduate student who conducted the study with civil and environmental engineering professor Ashlynn Stillwell.

A good-for-the-environment solution to mitigating stormwater runoff may seem like a no-brainer, but a common concern regarding green roofs is the variability of their performance. One challenge is figuring out how well the buildings that hold them up will respond to the increased and highly variable weight between wet and dry conditions. Another challenge is determining how well they retain and process water given storms of different intensity, duration and frequency, William said.

While studying reliability analysis in one of her courses, William came up with the idea to use a seemingly unrelated mathematical concept called fragility curves to confront this problem.

“Earthquake engineering has a similar problem because it is tough to predict what an earthquake is going to do to a building,” William said. “Green infrastructure has a lot more variability, but that is what makes fragility curves ideal for capturing and defining the sort of dynamics involved.”

William and Stillwell chose to study green roofs over other forms of green infrastructure for a very simple reason: There was one on campus fitted with the instrumentation needed to measure soil moisture, rainfall amount, temperature, humidity and many other variables that are plugged into their fragility curve model.

“This is a unique situation because most green roofs don’t have monitoring equipment, so it is difficult for scientists to study what is going on,” Stillwell said. “We are very fortunate in that respect.”

William said the primary goal of this research is to facilitate communication between scientists, policymakers, developers and the general public about the financial risk and environmental benefit of taking on such an expense.

“One of the biggest barriers to the acceptance of green infrastructures is the perception of financial risk,” William said. “People want to know if the benefit of a green roof is going to justify the cost, but that risk is mitigated by knowing when an installation will be most effective, and that is where our model comes in.”

The results of their model and risk analysis, which appear in the Journal of Sustainable Water in the Built Environment, provide a snapshot of green infrastructure performance for this particular green roof. The results from a single model do not yield a one-size-fits-all approach to green infrastructure evaluation, and William and Stillwell said that is one of the strengths of their technique. Adaptability across different technologies and environments is essential to any green infrastructure analysis.

Source: sciencedaily

Image Credit: Credit: Photo by L. Brian Stauffer

An invitation to attend the 5th Going Green Conference in Durban, 13th to the 15th September 2017

It is with great pleasure and honour to extend a warm invitation for you to join our 5th Going Green in Facilities Conference (GGC2017) which takes place in Durban from the 13th to the 15th September 2016. The 2017 Going Green Conference promises to build on the success of the GGC2016 which was held in Johannesburg, Gauteng (at Saint Gobain’s Training Centre).

2017 Going Green Conference in Durban

The theme of the GGC2017, Public Infrastructure leading through Innovation and Green Technologies, will challenge decision makers in government and industry experts alike to apply new thinking and the adoption of green technologies in reshaping the built environment industry. Essentially it’s about bringing together active collaboration and cooperation to fast track green infrastructure investments within the public infrastructure portfolio.

Our host city for the GGC2017 has been voted an official New 7 Wonder City of the World and is home to the ninth largest harbour in the world; it houses the largest shopping mall in Africa and it also boasts the world’s fifth largest aquarium. The GGC2017 will be held at the Public Works Conference Centre in Mayville, 455a King Cetshwayo, in the heart of Durban, with a wonderful green working space for both pre-and-post conference meetings and networking opportunities. Our GGC2017 host partner, Kwazulu Natal Department of Public Works has agreed to provide this venue for the purpose of advancing green infrastructure programmes in the province and the rest of the country.

The GGC2017 will provide a suitable platform for building professionals to refresh their green building knowledge skills and to explore the innovations taking shape across the public infrastructure portfolio in the country with special contributions coming from the Ethekweni region, from all the three tiers of government. Key topics include sustainable water infrastructure services, energy services, resource efficiency, green finance, and small scale renewable energy developments taking shape across the province and the rest of the country.

The target audience for the conference are all design professionals, consultants, associations, inspectors, contractors including the private trading & manufacturing businesses through the practical training and development of professionals within the built environment. The GGC2017 will also strive to offer plenty of networking opportunities, providing you with the opportunity to meet and interact with the leading built environment experts, industry leaders, government officials, young professionals, students and as well as sponsors and exhibitors via our World Going Green Cafes(see our website for details).

Benefits of attending the GGC2017 include the following:

  1. Contribution to the Building Efficiency Technical (BET) Guidelines;
  2. Career Development opportunities through our accredited Going Green Education (GGE) programmes;
  3. Knowledge sharing between academia, private and public sector participants through the annual Going Green Conferences (GGCs);
  4. Accurate information on environmentally friendly and accredited building products through the Going Green Products (GGP) directory;
  5. Mentorship of Candidate Professionals and tertiary students through focused learning methods that encourages them to be innovative and responsive to the changing needs of the industry.

Building Efficiency Technical Guidelines

The Building Efficiency Technical guidelines is a draft document that was developed through the technical contributions of industry professionals that attended  previous GGCs with the objective of providing technical guidance on the implementation of efficiency measures across facilities namely through:

  1. The implementation of government policy and regulation, such as the National Energy Efficiency Strategy, Energy Efficiency Building Standard – SANS10400 XA, Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) standard – SANS1544, Measurement and Verification standard, etc;
  2. Safety and Cost effective measures that can be applied to the benchmarking of facilities; and
  3. Building Information Modelling (BIM) processes.

The development of the BET guidelines was made possible through shared technical expertise of the academia, public and private sector representatives that attend the annuals GGCs.

The BET guidelines will be circulated prior to the start of the 5th GGC for further updates and comments.

By joining our GGPM platform you can qualify to get your GGC2017 fees waived (based on an assessment that will be done by our technical committee). The GGPM platform will provide a gateway to the discussions in Durban, South Africa and an entrance to one of Africa’s leading green infrastructure destinations!! In Zulu we say “Siyanamkela eThekweni”!!

We have attached the GGPM application form below for your perusal.  Please complete the application form and send back to Should you have any further queries or comments please don’t hesitate to contact me directly.

P.S. The GGC2016 event report is NOW available on request!

Songo Didiza

Executive Director

Cell: +27 791377931
Green Building Design Group (Non Profit Company)

“A Gateway to Green and Healthy Communities”

Green protest against Wakkerstroom mine

The centre said the organisations would, if necessary, take the matter to the Constitutional Court.

Environmentalists yesterday staged a protest outside the High Court in Pretoria in support of an application to stop coal mining activities inside the Mabola Protected Environment, near Wakkerstroom in Mpumalanga.

Eight civil society and community organisations, represented by the Centre for Environmental Rights, brought an urgent application to stop Indian-owned mining company Atha-Africa Ventures from commencing with any mining and related activities without environmental authorisation and local planning approval.

The application was postponed until today for a possible settlement agreement.

The coalition consists of groundWork, the Mining and Environmental Justice Community Network of SA, Earthlife Africa Johannesburg, Birdlife SA, the Endangered Wildlife Trust, Federation for a Sustainable Environment, Association for Water and Rural Development and the Bench Marks Foundation.

The Centre for Environmental rights said the Mabola Protected Environment area in which Atha-Africa wanted to build a massive underground coal mine fell within a strategic water source area which was vital for producing water for local communities and had been identified as incredibly important for all South Africans.

The area consisted mostly of wetlands, pans and grassland and was a source of four major rivers – the Tugela, the Vaal, the Usutu and the Pongola – that provided water to a huge number of downstream water users, who would be negatively affected if the sources of those rivers were compromised.

The Mineral Resources Minister granted mining rights in 2015, shortly after the declaration of the protected area by the Mpumalanga MEC. Since then, Atha had received licences and approvals from the Mpumalanga environment department, the department of water and sanitation and the Minister of Environmental Affairs.

The coalition has challenged all of the approvals through internal appeals, launched a judicial review in the high court against the original mining right granted and also plans to seek a review of the minister’s decision to approve mining in a protected area.

The centre said the organisations would – if necessary take – the matter to the Constitutional Court. They launched the urgent application after Atha-Africa refused to provide an undertaking not to proceed with the mine.

Source: citizen

Mall of Africa named winning retail development at Sapoa Excellence Awards

Mall of Africa scoops an award at the South African Property Owners Association Excellence Awards.

Mall of Africa was named the winning retail development at the South African Property Owners Association (Sapoa) Excellence Awards held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre on 22 June.

The awards strive to acknowledge and reward the best property developments South Africa has to offer, celebrating exceptional design quality, green building and originality.

With a with a total retail area of 131 000m², the mall has set a new benchmark for shopping centres on the continent and was developed by Atterbury Property Developments company.

“Winning these awards from Sapoa is indeed a great honour and is a testament to the exceptional quality of the team we have built here at Atterbury and the distinctly successful developments we deliver,” said managing director of Atterbury Property Developments, James Ehlers.

The mall boasts more than 300 stores, a wide variety of restaurants, entertainment and services, all neatly packaged into the largest single-phase shopping mall the country has ever seen. It also features a wonderful outdoor park, complete with an amphitheatre, children’s play area, an interactive musical water fountain, and a vibrant town square, all with beautifully landscaped surroundings.

Director of retail for the company Cobus van Heerden said they have created an unrivalled shopping experience, one that they believe is truly world-class. “We are thrilled that Sapoa has recognised its excellence. A development of this sheer size requires extraordinary levels of expertise, experience and skill,” he added.

The company also scooped the industrial development award for the third year running for its development of the new Amrod head office situated in Waterfall City.

This is the third year in a row that the company has won the industrial development category at the Sapoa awards. Last year, its development for Hilti at Waterfall Logistics Precinct was named the winner and in 2015, won the category with its industrial development for Westcon at Waterfall.

“We are suitably proud of what we have achieved with these developments and this recognition we have received from Sapoa only serves to make us prouder. These awards highlight our achievements so far, and it will only drive us to work harder and push further in what we can achieve in future,” concluded Ehlers.

Source: midrandreporter