Why the Clean Power Plan is good for business

Big problems require smart solutions. The Clean Power Plan, America’s first and only set of nationwide rules to reduce carbon pollution from the nation’s existing electric power system, is a smart, well-designed policy solution to one of the great market failure of our time.

However, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has begun the long and complicated process of repealing it. Late last month, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt was in West Virginia to hold a public hearing and gather input on the proposed repeal.

VF Corporation, headquartered in Greensboro, North Carolina, with about 65,000 employees worldwide, is one of the largest apparel, footwear and accessories companies in the world. Along with our portfolio of brands, including Timberland, The North Face and Vans, we support maintaining the Clean Power Plan. We do so along with more than 365 other businesses and investors that urged the EPA to develop the Clean Power Plan, applauded it when it was finalized in 2015 and even supported litigation defending it from attacks.

“Not only do these solutions give us a competitive advantage, they help us meet growing demand among both our investors and consumers for products with smaller carbon footprints.”

Our support for the Clean Power Plan derives from our recognition of the risks of climate change to our business; our commitment to do right by our employees and our consumers; a broad consensus that the Clean Power Plan is a well-designed, efficient and effective policy; and our confidence that, working together, we can solve climate change.Addressing climate change is good for business. At VF, we source almost 1 percent of the world’s cotton for our products. A changing climate can affect cotton prices and availability, shorten winters (and ski seasons) and create a greater likelihood of extreme weather that can disrupt global supply chains.

A 2016 study from the New York University Law School’s Institute for Policy Integrity surveyed over 350 economists on future impacts of climate change. Overall, the economists surveyed believe that climate change will begin to have a net negative effect on the global economy by 2025. Further, this study found, among economists surveyed, that agriculture and the outdoor/tourism industries would be some of the most affected sectors.

The Clean Power Plan will help to reinforce current trends in falling costs for clean energy, creating add-on benefits that ripple beyond its intended scope. Affordable clean energy helps us to reduce and manage risk, cut energy costs, catalyze innovation and optimize our operations.

In 2015, VF joined (along with more than 100 other companies) the RE100 campaign, with a goal to power all our owned and operated facilities with 100 percent renewable energy by 2025. Our Timberland brand also has set ambitious goals: it has reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent from a 2006 baseline and has plans to reduce total energy use by 10 percent while increasing its renewable energy to 50 percent by 2020. VF’s headquarters for our Outdoor brands in Alameda, California, is powered by 100 percent renewable electricity. And our Vans brand’s new headquarters in Costa Mesa, California, features a 1 MW solar array system that generates roughly 50 percent of its energy needs and is expected to save millions of dollars over its 20-plus-year lifespan.

Like any business, we work hard to minimize costs, which is one reason why the Clean Power Plan makes so much sense to us. It aims to cut carbon pollution from the electric power sector 32 percent by 2030 from a 2005 baseline, and does so while creating net benefits to the U.S. economy.

“Like any business, we work hard to minimize costs, which is one reason why the Clean Power Plan makes so much sense to us.”

EPA estimates from 2015 found that the annual economic benefits ($32 billion-$93 billion) of the Clean Power Plan far exceed its costs ($5.5 billion-$8.8 billion). More specifically, they found that in many parts of the country, electricity rates actually would decline by 2030 relative to a world without the Clean Power Plan, with the potential to save consumers (PDF) up to $40 billion in electricity costs over 15 years.

We are all in this together. While climate change sometimes may feel like an insurmountable problem, the truth is that we know how to solve it, and we have the tools to do so. Acting alone is important, but it is not enough. We need policy and we need partners. That’s why we are vocal members of the Ceres BICEP Network, advocating for stronger climate and clean energy policies, and when the United States announced its withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement earlier this year, we joined more than 2,500 other businesses, investors, states, cities, universities, tribes and faith-based institutions to say “We Are Still In.”

Being “In” means that not only will we continue to meet and exceed our own corporate climate goals, but that we also will continue to push for smart policy solutions such as the Clean Power Plan.

Source: greenbiz

SA’s BEST and BRIGHTEST cleantech innovators ready to take on the world

Water saving taps, fly larvae that turn organic waste into animal food and plastic car parts made from agricultural waste are among the innovations by entrepreneurs who have just completed the 2017 Global Cleantech Innovation Programme for SMEs in South Africa (GCIP-SA). Eleven finalists were chosen for their innovations that aim to solve environmental challenges in areas such as energy efficiency, renewable energy, waste beneficiation, water efficiency, green buildings and green transportation. The GCIP-SA is a competition-based business accelerator offering participants extensive training and mentoring on key business aspects such as product/market fit, business model development, financing strategy, management team, sustainability, and innovation to help them get their products investment-ready. They are also connected to local and international networks and exposed to potential partners and funders. The winners were announced at a gala event in Pretoria in November 2017 where participants also showcased their innovations to Minister of Science and Technology, Mrs Naledi Pandor, and other highlevel guests from government, foreign embassies, the private sector, the investment community and academia. Awards by industry sponsors Spoor & Fisher, Skeg Product Development, Africawide and Cape Media were also announced at the event.

“Participating in GCIP-SA is hard work and it stretches entrepreneurs… This is one of the best entrepreneurial accelerator programmes globally.” Euodia Naanyane-Bouwer, Gracious Nubian

“The GCIP-SA gave me skills to develop a working business model … and it provided me with a platform to network with other business people.” Linda Linganiso, Unizulu

The GCIP-SA is part of an international initiative to promote clean technology innovation and grow SMEs into sustainable businesses. Over the past four years, the programme has been jointly implemented by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA), with funding by the Global Environment Facility (GEF). The GCIP-SA will be integrated into TIA on 1 January 2018.

To view the GCIP Winners and Finalists, click here

Enquiries: 012 472 2760 / /


The lighter & brighter side of beautiful living

With passion for South Africa, her people and the “lighter and brighter side of beautiful living”, new lifestyle retail chain Beetroot Inc has found a recipe for success we could all emulate.

“Our offering is different and fresh – and it was clear from the start that it would resonate with a segment of the market. It is a work in progress and we learn new things (about ourselves and our clients) every day,” says CEO Elize van der Berg.

Beetroot Inc. was launched four years ago with the main objective being sustainable job creation, says van der Berg.  The fledgling business initially made and supplied scatter cushions to corporate companies. Now a retail business with seven branches in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town, the main impetus for the inception of the company remains the same.

“Job creation is essential to make South Africa work,” says Van der Berg. “We started with two people and a sewing machine and now have more than fifty people on the payroll. Those first two employees are still with the company. We also collaborate with small entrepreneurs who employ people too – we estimate Beetroot Inc supports about 600 people.”

The product range is diverse and currently includes couches, chairs, coffee tables (made from recycled wood), eco-friendly utility furniture (like mobile work stations and trolleys), lampshades, hand-crafted handbags, uniquely designed scatter cushions, placemats, runners, tablecloths and aprons, pochettes (colourful envelope-sized and -shaped utility bags and soft jewellery. Corporate gifts, novelties and congratulatory flags complete the Beetroot Inc. product offering.

The real game changer is that Beetroot Inc. customers can personalise any furniture item they order – adjusting dimensions to suit space requirements and choosing from a variety of fabric and paint finishes. The company also offers to custom-make items that are not part of their current product range, and will reupholster old-favourite furniture pieces too.

“We will keep on experimenting with our product offering,” says van der Berg. It is part of providing consumers with a different retail experience. They must feel free to relax and explore the diversity of Beetroot’s authentic product range and share in the joy and the fun created by South Africans for South Africans.”

Beetroot Inc.’s board members combine an array of skills from different backgrounds; this means the company is able to tap into their management, retail, sales and marketing experience. Similarly, the design of the products is, mostly, a collaborative process, with designers, artists and even shop assistants giving input, continues van der Berg.

“The business is proof that you can harness the power of diversity collectively for the common good,” she continues. “The only proviso is that people must work in the same direction so that they can all contribute towards reaching the company’s objectives.”

Van der Berg says, “We are grateful that we can offer something to people who enjoy the lighter and brighter side of beautiful living – as our pay-off line states. To provide this, we tap into what our team members have in common, we don’t focus on the differences. It is this collective consciousness that drives the company forward.”

A mantra for the nation.

For more information, please visit via Beetroot Inc has stores in Gauteng (Menlyn Maine, Fourways Mall, Waterkloof Corner Store, Springs Mall), KZN (Ballito Junction) and the Western Cape (Table Bay Mall, Tyger Valley Centre).

Issued by: Paddington Station PR

Waste-wise wisdom for the festive season

It’s that time of the year when many of us go a little crazy giving loads of gifts and indulging in far too much food. The Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa (IWMSA) would like to give everyone some waste-wise advice this festive season, to reduce their environmental impact by looking for ways to minimise the amount of household waste which is eventually diverted to landfill.

“During the festive season we produce a lot of waste from packaging, food wrappers, old decorations and even unwanted gifts. We are also likely to produce far too much food for end of year parties and Christmas dinners, not to mention treats for guests who come to visit. With a fridge stuffed to the brim, that extra party food which is not consumed is often thrown into the garbage bin too,” says Jan Palm, President of the IWMSA. “Unfortunately, Southern Africa is running out of landfill airspace and so we all have a responsibility to be waste-wise by correctly sorting and disposing of our waste. You can be waste-wise this festive season by considering alternative ways to dispose of unwanted gifts and food.”

The IWMSA has identified the best waste-wise tips to get you through the festive season:

  1. Find a charity that is collecting food

Look for a Non-Profit Organisation in your area that is collecting and redistributing food this festive season. A handy website to help you find a charity that is nearest to you is or “There are many people less fortunate than ourselves who would love to enjoy eating delicious Christmas party leftovers. So instead of throwing it away, call ahead to a charity and ask if they would appreciate receiving your leftover food. You’re bound to feel good when you take time to do this and the simple act of helping others will be most rewarding. The added bonus, is that the extra food doesn’t end up in your rubbish bin,” says Palm.

  1. Give food parcels to homeless people

“There are many people who live on the street, who spend their days begging on the side of the road and often go to sleep hungry. Christmas Day isn’t any different for them. Why not take left over food from your Christmas meal and give it to the underprivileged people in your community?” suggests Palm. “Another alternative is to take your leftover food to the nearest police station or hospital where you can treat the staff who are hard at work over the holiday period. It’s a nice way of thanking them for the valuable work they do.”

  1. Compost your food waste

Create your own compost to spread over flower beds in your garden using uncooked fresh produce like vegetable peels. You can add egg shells, tea bags and coffee granules to your compost bin. “Remember to combine grass clippings and leaves from your garden with the food waste, not forgetting to turn the material to allow air in which will help it to break down quicker. There are numerous benefits to composting organic waste as it produces mulch, soil amendments and organic fertilisers,” explains Palm. You can take composting a step further by building your own worm farm to make the richest organic fertiliser for your garden. Worm farms are odourless and don’t take up a lot of space, and therefore you can keep it inside. For an easy guide to building your own worm farm visit

  1. Give away unwanted gifts

Instead of throwing away gifts that you don’t want, consider who might enjoy owning them. “Perhaps the trinkets in your Christmascracker could be given to children who wouldn’t normally receive toys at Christmas? Or perhaps you can donate clothing items you don’t want to a charity,” says Palm.

  1. Return and exchange gifts you do not want

Consider returning gifts to the shop where they were bought and request a refund or exchange. Palm explains, “Set a trend in your family and encourage others to cross out prices on gifts, but leave tags on so that they can be returned if the receiver doesn’t want it, this is a simple way to ensure gifts don’t go to waste.”

  1. Give gifts in gift bags that can be reused

“Using gift bags instead of wrapping paper and sticky tape makes environmental sense, because there’s no need to drop off paper at a recycling depot. A gift bag can easily be folded flat and stored away, ready to be reused next Christmas,” says Palm.

  1. Be ready to collect wrapping paper for recycling

“Everyone has a tradition of opening gifts with friends and family, be it on Christmas Eve, first thing on Christmas Day or when friends arrive at your home to celebrate. Get ready to collect as much wrapping paper for recycling by having a large bag close at hand when the gifts are unwrapped. Encourage the younger children to be Santa’s little helpers and make a game of collecting all the wrapping paper so that all of it ends up in your recycling bin,” says Palm.

“Now is a perfect time to reconsider how we dispose of waste. We encourage everyone to approach this Christmas with the mindset of a Waste-Wise Warrior, by diverting waste away from landfills,” concludes Palm.

To find your nearest recycler, visit To find a waste management supplier, visit

For more information on the IWMSA, visit The IWMSA is also on Twitter ( and Facebook ( For more information on recycling and recovery, visit the National Recycling Forum’s website at

UCT triumphs in environmental innovation at South Africa’s third Greenovate Awards

Young environmental game-changes from the University of Cape Town (UCT) took first place in the Greenovate Awards for the third year running. UCT scooped up the very first Greenovate Engineering Award too.

The awards programme is an exciting initiative by Growthpoint Properties in association with the Green Building Council South Africa (GBCSA). The prestigious awards recognise innovative solutions for the property industry to environmental challenges.

This is the third year the awards have strived to inspire and encourage students of the built environment to discover, explore and invent ways to live more sustainably. Also, for the first time this year, the awards were extended to include a second category for engineering students.

The students were challenged to come up with ideas for any property-related project that makes the way we live greener and our environmental footprint lighter.

A total of eight universities competed for both awards this year. UCT was the only one to take up the challenge in both award streams. Groups from each of the participating universities competed internally first, and the two top projects from each were chosen as finalists. This year the awards adjudicated a record 16 finalist teams.

For the Greenovate Awards, two finalist teams each came from the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), UCT, Nelson Mandela University (NMU) and the University of the Free State (UFS), and one represented the University of Pretoria (UP).

For the first ever Greenovate Engineering Awards, two finalist teams each represented UCT, Stellenbosch University and North West University (NWU) and one team came from the University of Johannesburg (UJ).

The winners were announced at a gala dinner in Sandton Central with keynote speaker, serial tech entrepreneur Stafford Masie, who said: “…as much as it is about technology, it’s more so about humanity. Sustainability of any idea or innovation is collectively harnessing latent human capital, augmented with AI, to coagulate around your business from the outside. We need to establish ecosystems versus just building cool stuff or even just cool businesses…co-creativity is the absolute substrate of continuous leading innovation. Make everything hack-able, derive less value than you create and ensure your leadership is focused on empathy…understanding what makes us human, and allows us to express that humanity, with the context of your services, builds exponential competitive edge and values.”

The UCT team of Mark McCormick, Daniel Navarro and Nicholas Tennick, supervised by Karen Le Jeune, were named the winners of the Greenovate Awards 2017. Their submission was titled “upgrading existing medium-density residential buildings with strategic green building features and initiatives holds the key to increasing affordable housing in Cape Town”. This team of outstanding young green innovators took home R30,000 in prize money, as well numerous other rewards.

UCT also took second place, with team members Tarryn Coles, Anthony Testa and Gemma Watson investigating the viability of using self-sustaining shipping container homes as an affordable and sustainable approach to student housing. Saul Nurick supervised the team. Third place was scooped by the Wits team of Thina Mangcu, Prudence Ndlovu and Yonwaba Mntonga, supervised by Dr Kola Ijasan, which undertook a Johannesburg explorative study of a project manager’s skill and knowledge for green building construction.

For the inaugural Greenovate Engineering Award, UCT student and young green thinker Craig Peter Flanagan, supervised by Dr Dyllon Randall, took top honours with a focus on the development of an on-site nutrient recovery urinal for buildings. The award came with a R30,000 prize.

NWU clinched second place in the engineering stream with student Reino von Wielligh, supervised by Dr Leenta Grobler and Dr Henri Marais, who submitted an investigation of a solar powered parking bollard for parking space management. Third place went to Stellenbosch University student Petrus Johannes Stefanus Botes, with supervisor Prof Jan Andries Wium, who explored the development of sustainable construction systems in South Africa, specifically bamboo scaffolding.

Werner van Antwerpen of Growthpoint Properties, says:Growthpoint is proud to collaborate with the GBCSA, the universities and their students, the award’s sponsors, and the mentors and judges that give so generously of their time and knowledge. Together, we can inspire environmentally innovative thinking among even more of South Africa’s future leaders. Everyone wins when we show and grow innovation for a greener, healthier, and more sustainable environment.”

Remy Kloos, the driving force behind the Greenovate Awards, comments:This awards programme is an excellent way for leading green corporates like Growthpoint to link to university students – the future leaders who will become champions of the sustainability movement. It closes the gap between what is learned at universities and the practical solutions that today’s businesses are seeking. The Greenovate Awards are producing revolutionary student projects backed by smart thinking. These young green trailblazers are discovering new ways to drive green building thinking forward, to ensure a better future.”

Dorah Modise, CEO of the GBCSA, comments: “GBCSA is proud to be part of this initiative, year on year these young men and women manage to amaze us with their raw talent. The innovative ideas that they present grow from strength to strength as the years go by. We are happy to see that our efforts in building the necessary skills required to transform the built environment are bearing fruit and we can happily look forward to a greener, more sustainable future.”

For Greenovate Award participants, the benefits go well beyond winning a prize. The programme provides students with an opportunity to work with leading green building thinkers in Greenovate workshops with industry professionals.

The judging panels comprised some of the country’s top green minds and eco leaders, including:

  • Dorah Modise, CEO of GBCSA

  • Brian Wilkinson, former CEO of GBCSA

  • Leon Cronje, Director of RLB Pentad

  • Neil Gopal, CEO of the South African Property Owners Association (SAPOA)

  • Bonke Simelane, Director of NMC Construction Group

  • Morloes Reinink, Partner at Solid Green

  • Mauritz Kruger, Architect – Principal Specialist (RHDHV) (Engineering)

  • Manfred Braune, Chief Technical Officer and Executive Director of GBCSA (Engineering)

  • Werner van Antwerpen, Associate Corporate Finance at Growthpoint (Engineering)

  • Mike Aldous, Associate – Green Building & Sustainability Services/BIM Champion at Mott MacDonald (Engineering)

  • Johan Piekaar, Office Director, Structures, Africa for WSP (Engineering)

This is the second time Neil Gopal, CEO of SAPOA, has judged the awards. He says: “I am honoured to be part of the judging panel at this year’s Greenovate awards. It is important that we, as the property sector, encourage innovation among future industry leaders who are in tune with the needs of the environment and alternative ways of creating monuments without impacting the environment negatively. “

Greenovate also attracted the valued support of additional sponsors this year, including Remote Metering Solutions, Royal HaskoningDHV and Terra Firma Academy.

Van Antwerpen believes the awards will continue to grow and make a significant contribution in recognising and encouraging environmentally innovative thinking among South Africa’s future property leaders.

Released by:

Growthpoint Properties Limited

Werner van Antwerpen, Associate Corporate Finance

011 944 6598

Meet Jan Palm, IWMSA President fighting the war on waste

When he isn’t fighting the war on waste or designing waste management infrastructure, the President of the Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa (IWMSA), Jan Palm, enjoys riding around the country on his Harley Davidson.

Palm is a Civil Engineer by training, but he explains what makes his job slightly different to that of his peers. “Most civil engineers design infrastructure for mankind to live better whereas in waste management we design infrastructure to protect the environment from mankind’s footprint.”

Long before it became ‘trendy’ to recycle and think about one’s environmental impact, Palm saw the need to develop infrastructure to manage waste: “In 1987 I read about the concept of landfills as bioreactors. This sparked my interest and I told my boss that we should explore the field of waste management as a future engineering opportunity.  After some debate, I was allowed to ‘look into it’.”

Palm, who was designing sewage treatment projects for the engineering firm GFJ Inc at the time, certainly ‘looked into it’, and his foresight back then to specialise in this exciting and growing field has paid off.

In 1988 Palm established the Solid Waste Division of GFJ, and later rose to the position of Associate and shareholder before becoming a Regional Director of the company in 1995. The Western Cape offices of GFJ became Entech Consultants in 1996, and he left Entech and formed JPCE in 2003. Throughout his career Palm has specialised in designing engineering infrastructure for waste management.

Amongst the noteworthy projects he has been involved in, Palm mentions the first landfill using geosynthetics for the town of Windhoek in Namibia in the early 1990s. “The Windhoek landfill project was innovative in its design and opened up a whole new field of geosynthetics,” says Palm. He is currently working on a state of the art Waste-to-Energy project for the Drakenstein Municipality in the Western Cape.

Palm says each project has been fascinating in its own way, and adds that he finds great satisfaction in helping clients to reduce the amount of waste that goes to landfills and thereby move up the waste hierarchy. He is also aware of the unique aspects of designing waste management plants in Southern Africa: “We have to ensure that our designs balance out mechanical efficiency with the socio-economic need for jobs,” says Palm.

The biggest change in the field of Waste Management has been surrounding legislation, says Palm. “The changing legislation has opened many opportunities for environmental scientists and engineers to improve the level of design and quality of the infrastructure, leading to reduced risk to the environment.” The problem, however, says Palm is when legislation is not enforced.

Looking ahead Palm explains what worries him about landfills. “I am concerned about the pollution burden that poorly located, poorly designed and poorly managed landfills still place on our environment.” He adds that local political will to resolve these challenges appears to be lacking in many municipalities, and that the cost of legal compliance with norms and standards is often used as an excuse to do nothing.

Despite his concerns, the people in the field of Waste Management give Palm hope for the future. “Their enthusiasm, innovation and drive astonishes me,” he says, adding that he is excited about the innovative approaches being followed to reduce our environmental footprint, making green living more affordable.

While Palm seeks to add value in the industry through the various training courses and networking opportunities offered by the IWMSA, his personal dream is to tour around countries on his Harley Davidson motorbike with his wife. “Having done Route 66 in the USA, other countries that come to mind are New Zealand and Scandinavia,” concludes Palm.

For more information on the Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa visit You can also follow IWMSA on Facebook ( and Twitter (